Week 4 Day 4: Demonstrating Our Love (Mary of Bethany)
“Mary took a pound of costly perfume made of pure nard, anointed Jesus’ feet, and wiped them with her hair. The house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume.”
Demonstrating Our Love (Mary of Bethany)
I find myself humbled by the story of Mary at Bethany – Mary, who extravagantly pours forth with her whole self, body and soul, love upon Jesus.
-Br. Jonathan Maury
“I Have Called You Friends” is our theme in “Meeting Jesus in John’s Gospel” this week, and our focus today is demonstrating our love for Jesus as God’s friends. I am certain that you, as I have, have found times where I was reluctant or even refusing to accept and receive the overpowering love of God poured out on me in Jesus Christ. There’ve been many times where I felt completely unworthy of the love which brought me into being, saved me, and promises me, even now, eternal life.
And yet, that is what the befriending of God in Jesus is about. It is about that extravagant love, that self-offering by which God draws us into union with God’s own Self. I find myself humbled by the story of Mary at Bethany – Mary, who extravagantly pours forth in actions, loving actions, with her whole self, body and soul, love upon Jesus, love beyond words, at a time where Jesus himself is in deep need of that healing. And Mary is an example for me, as well, an example of going beyond words and, by actions … by actions in prayer, by actions toward others, my brothers and sisters who are God’s beloved disciples, of the love which I have received and remind them of Jesus.
In our prayer today, let us ask for a renewed awareness of that love of God in Christ, which is poured on us time and again in our life experiences, in our prayer, in our actions for other, and in our engagement with the world. And let us turn, then, in gratitude to the One who loved us first. For the love of Jesus, which holds us in being, which is the source of “our creation, preservation, and all the blessings of this life,” and the one who calls us to demonstrate and to bear and to carry that love in the life to come.
We invite you to share your answer in the comments below or using #MeetingJesus
Wow! All that and Shakespeare too. This has been a meaningful reflection. I pour out to God and to others but not with enough understanding of who God is and who the others are. What we do for others we do for Jesus. It makes a big difference each day if I see Jesus walking down that street instead of a homeless or cranky person. The Lord giving me the opportunity to show live to Him through others. I want to get this down deep inside me so much better. Thanks
Dear Lord, my God,
I give thanks to you for being in my life; for the strength you give me when I feel weak, for the confidence I need when I’m not sure,; for the compassion I need when I am hurting; and most of all for your Son, our savior Jesus Christ who died on the cross for my sins. Amen.
A C T I O N S
A WARENESS OF God’s love through Christ
C arry this love to remind
T hose who do not know you yet, that
I AM; pour out this love to
O thers, your brothers and sisters
N ever doubt your worthiness, but
S erve God in everything you do
In reading through the transcript and the comments, I am reminded of my grandmother. She was kind and gentle woman who rarely, if ever, made negative comments about people. But I once her her say, about a woman in the community, that, “she was so heavenly minded, she was of no earthly good”. Love is indeed an verb, an action word. And it is shown by action. Words alone do not help much when disaster strikes. Something for me to keep in mind.
Lord Jesus, Eternal Balm,
I am guilty of attempting to construct too much in establishing a connection to you. I erect scaffolding in a conscious effort to describe my emotions, thoughts, feelings. I am building away, rather than searching myself in relation to you. I struggle to see myself in the devotion of Mary Magdalene, then I circumambulate your face and heart, groping and blindly grasping for a meaning, a sensual, physical hold that I can completely comprehend. All of this is vain and futile. I am forever banging my mind against a wall – trying to force my way through… until the realization comes that the true way is the same as the ointment, solid then fluid, I dissolve into the pungent fragrance of the perfume – I am poured into you, and absorbed. Change in myself is the way to be loved and accepted by you.
Lord, as the Messiah, you Divinity is recognized, not by the official hierarchy of priests, but by a common woman who anoints you as a king. Her hands are the expression of the love in her heart.
Lord, your way is a profound act of humility, you are resolute in the face of death. You are truly human in stature – through your engagement with the poor and humble, truly exalted by your inner nobility, truly a Divine light that shines as a beacon of hope and love in a dark world… sacrificing your entire self for our benefit.
Lord, you are an overwhelming mountain of contradictions; in the fragrance of death you are a spring of eternal wisdom that refreshes our souls. In supreme loss, you are the utmost gain to eternal life.
Lord, you teach us that nothing can be lost that will not be reconciled and restored, renewed and returned to its rightful place of rest in the plan of God the Father; salvation for those whom he loves and draws back to eternal bliss in his bosom.
+ Amen. Pax Christi – David.
I pray for all those on the point of passing from this world, may the Lord Jesus ease their anxiety and pain with his warm and healing touch of mercy. Amen
I am still unclear why many say God love us.
Try this suggestion from C. S. Lewis: Act as if God loves you fiercely. Receive every good thing in your life as a gift from God intended specifically for you. Whenever anything undesirable happens, consider how God is redeeming that situation for your benefit. When you discipline your mind to comprehend God’s love, your heart will have the great revelation and it will be clear that God’s way of being is love; only and always love.
Thank you Leslie for your reply – I will consider your words carefully.
I am praying that you would personally know the love of God so profound that it would go beyond just mere words printed on paper. That Love which is so overflowing with Grace and Mercy.
Br. Jonathan, thanks for this good message in Meeting Jesus. How beautifully Mary demonstrated her love for Jesus! It is one thing to say that we love, but quite another to show that we do. I know some who say, ” I love the Lord. He knows I love Him” but, they do not attend church where He is loved in worship. My problem is that I tend to judge those, especially family members, who seem not to demonstrate their love. Yet, I know we can attend church, say our prayers and help others without the extravagant love such as demonstrated by Mary. May God help me to love more deeply, leave the judgment of others to God alone, and show more love in my daily life.
I believe that often times we are not the best judge of the value our gifts. Mary acted out of love and devotion. It may not have been a burden to her, but to Jesus it was what he needed when he needed it. That is the measure of the gift.
Luke 10 :38 the story of Mary and Martha. Here Martha is presented a s someone who distracted by her many tasked and Mary who chose to drop everything to be with Jesus. When Martha becomes upset Jesus says “Martha, Martha, you are worried and distracted by many things. One thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the better part. It won’t be taken away from her.” ‘ Luke 10:41-42 https://www.bible.com/bible/37/LUK.10.41-42
My life is full of distraction some good some negative. Unfortunately I do not always attend to my relationship with Christ. Mary is an example of where I would like to be but I fear the thorns of worry stress and fear keep from attending to our Lord.
Mary demonstrates her love, trust and commitment to Jesus by giving him everything she has (and perhaps as someone else pointed out earlier in this devotion) may not have by anointing Him with a very expensive perfume. Mary goes the extra mile by also showing her love to Christ in the actions of washing and drying His feet with her hands and hair. What a sublime moment in history. I love Jesus and want to give everything I have to him, both in possessions and in my very being. May I have the strength, courage and faith to give Jesus everything I have and all that I am for His Father’s glory in His name. Amen!
I some how feel you missed the devotion & servanthood of Mary as she spent perhaps money she did not have to anoint our Saviours feet, tomorrow is Woman’s Day! & yet this Mary & her outpouring love is still not given thought by your presenter.
A beautiful sonnet reflects how my awareness of the Love of God can be renewed in another way Thank you for allowing this to be received and Brother Maury for pointing the way to the heart
Love is a verb!
I have had another set back! My incision is not healing. 2 more weeks with an ace bandage around my chest!
Don’t know how much more I can take!
I am so sorry to hear you are going through this Susan. Praying for your healing and trusting you will heal.
Continued prayers for you, Susan. Please know you are not alone. God is with you and God has led those of us at the Lenten ‘table’ to open our heart to you. Thank you for sharing so that I might feel Christ’s presence more closely through you. You are not alone. Bobbi
Showing our love for God is a beautiful thing. How do we show God we leave be him, by our actions. Reading our Bible, going to church, fasting and praying, appreciating the beauty of God’s creation, and showing our love towards each other.
Sorry to learn about your chest wound. Rest assured He knows it. Please add your trust in the medical science as a gift of our God to alleviate our/your sufferings. There has to be a plan for you, made by Him. I pray, may you find Him, experience Him and His presence in your this suffering. Amen.
Susan, your trial is immense. Continue to cry out your need to God. Perhaps imagining yourself pouring out your anguish on Jesus as Mary poured out her love. I’m sending a prayer with this reply.
Seeing others with understanding and compassion, not judgement and criticism, is my Lenten challenge this year. Yesterday I listened as my friend defended the gossip I had found uncomfortable during the last Foyer dinner that I attended. Her response surprised me and I immediately judged her harshly. Then I caught myself mid-mental tirade, took a breath and redirected my inner conversation to what I choose it to be. That is the best I can do right now. I am optimistic. Not often, but occasionally it has happened that my first response was understanding and compassion. Each time that has occurred my entire view of life expanded and lifted me beyond the confines of my history. Which was so amazing I continue my efforts with increased enthusiasm.
Thank you Annalisa – I recognize that my Lenten challenge mirrors yours and you have given me encouragement. I have struggled with this for many years and the journey is not over yet.
This does work, doesn’t it, Annalisa? It seems to be a matter of training yourself to monitor your own judgmentalism-reflecting thoughts and intervene with yourself before you say something you’d regret, upon reflection. Like any habit, this one is more easily acquired with the assistance of the positive reinforcement you describe. Backfalling happens, but it doesn’t have to destroy the program.
I was taken to Shakespeare’s famous sonnet 116 and interpreted it as being a reflection on God’s love written with a pen guided by God:
Let me not to the marriage of true minds
Admit impediments. Love is not love
Which alters when it alteration finds,
Or bends with the remover to remove:
O, no! it is an ever-fixed mark,
That looks on tempests and is never shaken;
It is the star to every wandering bark,
Whose worth’s unknown, although his height be taken.
Love’s not Time’s fool, though rosy lips and cheeks
Within his bending sickle’s compass come;
Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks,
But bears it out even to the edge of doom.
If this be error and upon me proved,
I never writ, nor no man ever loved.
If I cannot welcome God’s everlasting love and give love back to him and all people, what is the purpose of my being?
This is so moving as a parallel to Br. Maury’s words. You help me to understand the Gospel in a deeper way. Thank you.
Yes, to Brother Jonathan, Keith and Anita. We are here, meeting, because Jesus is our friend and teaches us what to say, where to go, what to do. Thanks for his steadfast friendship and unwavering love
Help us Lord to trust God as we go about our daily lives. God is always there. May we respond by committing ourselves to Him and allowing him to guide us in our actions.
I so want to “feel” that love that God has shown me. I know it – in my head and with my intellect but I want to know it deep within my being……
Anita, I too wish to feel it in my heart and I suppose it reflects in my heart, when I do something for someone else regardless of how small the action is and I feel good from within! It’s learning to love myself as Jesus loves me where I get stuck. Learning to give myself the same love, affection and kindness as I do for others.