Monday in the Fifth Week of Easter at Mississippi Abbey

Scripture Readings: Acts 14:5-18; Jn 14:21-26

Today Jesus gives us the inner marks of anyone who would claim to be His disciple. “Whoever has my commandments and observes them is the one who loves me.” It is not just outward compliance nor is it obedience. Jesus says it is observance. Observance is known by its interior effects when one does not obey. One feels guilt or shame when she does not obey. That indicates that she truly believes that the norms that bind one to a person or community are valid; they matter. It is internalized in conscience (or the heart). It is useless to fight it; one finds peace only by living it.

And so this interior obedience is the only proof of love and love—the union of two wills—is the only way to God. An obedient, trusting love leads to two things: first, it leads to the safety of fellowship with God. In a world–even a monastic world—of change and the unexpected, even unjust, God is a steady rock. The psalms remind us of this often. Secondly, it leads to the revelation of Himself to those who love Him. In the Garden of Eden it was Adam & Eve who hid from God. The subtle—or not-so-subtle—shame of the unobservant, of those not interiorly oriented to God, is the reason that the process of conversion is often described as “first the heart; then the light.”

Fellowship with God and the revelation of God are dependent on love; and love is dependent on obedience. The more we obey God, the more we understand him; and the one who walks in His way inevitably walks with Him.