So this weekend I helped at a confirmation retreat for a Catholic girl’s school in Joburg. In my talk I was trying to show how our relationship with God could be as tangible as any other relationship we have (a good one anyway)… it is a relationship that you put time into because you want to, not because you have to. It is an imperfect comparison sure, but I was trying to get to the point that, just like any real and loving relationship, not everything about being a Christian really makes sense from the outside.

Back in the day, why would I prioritize time with my girlfriend? Why would I use up petrol and money going to see her so often? Why would I drive all the way over to her house with a Mac Flurry some evenings when she had had a bad day? Because I cared about her, wanted to get to know her better, spend time with her, confide in her, be there for her… In love.

So why go to Mass when we won’t always hear preaching that resonates with us or music that we like? Why spend time in prayer when there are other important or entertaining things to do? Why go to confession when it is difficult to look inside and admit our faults? Because we want to spend time with God, confide in Him, learn to love Him better… He has given us the sacraments so we can do this in the most intimate way possible, and when we really experience this Love, we are changed.

The deeper part

Mt 5:17 tells us that Jesus didn’t come to abolish the law but to fulfil it. In a way He came to abolish the mentality of “doing the bare minimum”, “obeying the rules so as to avoid hell”. God wants to give us new hearts so that what we want is all that is good and true and beautiful – effectively He wants to write His law on our hearts. And eventually we won’t ever want to break it, because we love Him too much! The law is fulfilled and perfected in us when our ability to love is perfected, because love is the new law. And Jesus shows us how to really love – dying for us on the cross. Now this is a long process and requires constant surrender, perseverance and seeking God’s mercy and help; but it is the way that the saints lived… they show us that it is is possible to live intimately in love with God.

St Augustine said “Love and do what you will”. Not because we don’t need morals anymore but because true love informs our actions towards what the law is trying to lead us towards – intimacy and union with God!

…A little later in the retreat when they were asked what they learnt from my talk the general response form the participants was “Dean used to buy his girlfriend Mac Flurries”. It was a nice summary I thought 😛

Thanks for an awesome retreat weekend ladies, you are in my prayers ahead of your confirmation.

McFlurry = love

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