This is a continuation of the 73 Steps to Spiritual Communion with God by Michael Dubruiel. The previous are posted below among the other posts and last week's archives. Here is the 21st step:
(21) To prefer nothing to the love of Christ.
This is without a doubt the most quoted counsel of St. Benedict.
It an excellent guide for the spiritual life-- to prefer nothing to the love of Christ.
One might ask, are we to focus on being loved by Christ or the act of loving Him? I think it is both.
In Mark 10:21 we have the account of the rich young man. The Gospel says that Jesus, " looking upon him loved him, and said to him, "You lack one thing; go, sell what you have, and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me."
Notice that when Christ loves the rich young man, He points out what the young man lacks. It is out of love, that Jesus tells him to get rid of all his possessions.
Being loved by Christ will reveal similar deficiencies in us.
Our Lord looks upon us and recognizes what we really need. We often come to him with our own ideas about what we need.
If we prefer our ideas to the love of Christ, we too will join the rich young man who walks away sad "for his possessions were many." We may possess the world, but without Christ it is nothing!
In John 8:42, Jesus is engaged in a heated argument with those who oppose him. He says to them "If God were your Father, you would love me, for I proceeded and came forth from God; I came not of my own accord, but he sent me."
This takes us back to the first counsel of St. Benedict, to love God. Jesus is God and so we should prefer nothing to God and His love that Jesus has revealed to us perfectly.
How do we know if we truly love Our Lord? He addresses this in John 14:23-24 " "If a man loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him. He who does not love me does not keep my words; and the word which you hear is not mine but the Father's who sent me."
A concrete way to always prefer the love of Christ throughout the day when faced with countless other choices might be to adopt the phrase that Jesus spoke to Peter and to hear it addressed to ourselves--continuously: "Do you love me more than these? (John 21:15)"