Yesterday's first Mass reading from the Book of Sirach reminds me yet again as to what level of laws cover the basics as well as cover all other laws the human mind can imagine and set forth. The more years and suffering this nothing consecrated Catholic hermit passes through, the simpler seem Truth, Beauty, and Goodness. The simpler and more clear seem the choices to be made in every present moment.
Jesus highlighted the law of God, His greatest commandment, thus. Love the Lord your God with all your body, mind, heart and spirit and love your neighbor as yourself. The first section of this expression of God's ultimate law for us was in answer to a question Jesus had asked some people. One person responded with this summation, and Jesus stated His pleasure in the simple accuracy stated.
In other portions of the Living Word, Jesus expresses the commandment by this thought: Love God above all things and love others as ourselves. The following selection from Sirach assumes the commandments to be the Ten Commandments given Moses and imprinted on tablets that Moses later broke in frustration with the stubbornness and the people's generalized lack of acceptance, or at least the slippage into rebellion.
I find the options offered by Sirach are quite wise yet also common sense. I used to remind myself that every thought and action I took is either a step/thought toward heaven or a step/thought toward hell. Sirach mentions the choice compared to reaching for fire or water. Then we are reminded further that it is a choice between life and death, good and evil.
Regardless how we remind ourselves of the choices we have each present moment, whether in action, thought, word--we will receive the circumstances and outcome--sooner or later--of whichever we choose.
Loving God above all else, loving Him in Himself, ensures that we will love others for God's love in us flows within to without and without to within. Love begets love; and love will be the circumstance and outcome.
The Ten Commandments provide us with more details of some of the life choices we may face; but what Jesus called the Greatest Commandment fulfills the law of God, the law of love, with overriding assurance. Jesus' life, death, and resurrection is the exemplification of God's law, His Greatest Commandment, the law of God's love.
God's love is life, not death; good, not evil. In honing ourselves to God's law, we may need more detailed examples. However, I consider that perhaps we've approached the law of God with an increasingly complexity over the centuries, that is not necessary. A singular guide we may adopt; there are many choices of a few words or a simple question we may ask ourselves while in God-Is-Love existence.
Whether it be thinking of literally reaching toward fire or water, or if we remind ourselves that the choice is ours--good or evil, life or death, heaven or hell--if we pray for Jesus Christ to be the love of our lives, if we accept God's love for us and fully give over our love in God in Himself, we will soon realize we are united with God in His Love.
Perhaps that is why Sirach states that if we trust in God, we will live. The life we will live is that of life of soul, and that a soul remaining in Christ's love. Choices will become easier, simpler. Details will begin to surface of negative, past, not-good thoughts and actions we may wish to correct to the good.
The more we love God in Himself and choose His Life over our essentially deadened lives, the more obvious will be the situations and which choice we must make. The choices will become increasingly fine-tuned, from the externals to the internals, and down to the details without and within.
Thus Christ said His yoke is easy, His burden light.
When I consider how bogged I had become with trying to read and live out so many laws of minds, to learn and follow this and that law even within the church, I realize how burdened I'd become and how zealous in a forced way. As to liturgical traditions, the law of God's love so consumes the soul that there is truly no conflict with whatever laws of minds are written or added. It should not matter what the books of laws state in whatever detail, to the soul in love with God in Himself.
This does not mean to do away with such laws. But it is to grasp why Jesus said He came to fulfill the laws, to teach and live out a greater law, a law of love that assumes due to God's love, the living out of laws meant to help when people need specific example of life situations and which to choose, or the consequences if one chooses otherwise.
We could get into the role of the conscience within and its strength or weakness. But I believe that the Lord is helping me grasp the overriding power of God's law of love--and the accessibility and trusting reality that loving God in Himself and accepting His love will seal the union of love with and in God that is the human's ultimate purpose and God's desire for us.
There are many choices I've made in life that were either not for the water, the good, the life or were rather default-type "choices." In some I chose not to choose; I road along in the wake rather than choosing to crest the waves and ride in the God-stream. At other times I chose unwisely and reached toward the fire, or at least accepted the fire, for my will has also been weak or undisciplined.
And to realize that loving God in Himself and thus love of others--well, the trust in His love providing love and living love through my soul is quite the relief! I see I've chosen to make loving God the Father, Jesus Christ the Son, and the Holy Spirit harder than need be.
Please enjoy and benefit from this selection from Sirach 15.
"If you choose you can keep the commandments, they will save you;
if you trust in God, you too shall live;
he has set before you fire and water
to whichever you choose, stretch forth your hand.
Before man are life and death, good and evil,
whichever he chooses shall be given him."