John 15: 12 “Love one another as I have loved you”

One day at Rutgers University in New Jersey, Brian, a chaplain to the Chi Alpha student outreach of the Assemblies of God Church asked me, “Can you give a talk to our students on the baptism in the Holy Spirit?” Was I ever surprised! Why was he asking me, a Catholic chaplain, to speak to his group about this when Baptism in the Holy Spirit was the Pentecostal ‘stock in trade’ so to speak?

His trust in me was based on a relationship of brotherly support we had built up over months and years of sharing with one another the joys and burdens of our respective campus missions and at the monthly meetings we had with a larger group of Orthodox and Protestant campus ministers at Rutgers.

Jesus commands us not only to ‘love one another’ but also models how to do it. ‘Love one another AS I have loved you.’ He said this at the Last Supper but would demonstrate the very next day what the “as” implies when he offered himself on the cross as the supreme act of love. But more than simply showing us, he gives us the power to do the same. What is required, to love as Jesus loves, is simply everything. 

It is the same love my father showed in his care for my mother who suffered with Parkinson’s disease for 33 years. One day I asked my dad who was at that point providing almost 24/7 care, if he wanted to get away for a bit, take a break. “Joe,” he said ”this is why I got married.” He took his vows seriously and rather than parcel out his love he gave everything away to be true, in love, to the promise he made to my mother on their wedding day.  In his specific life setting he found a way to imitate the Lord and his way of loving.

Just as my dad’s love expanded to meet the increasing needs of my mother the same became true of the chaplains at Rutgers. Brian and I, along with the other chaplains, have learned how to go deeper in our relationships at each of our monthly meetings. The fruit, as we have learned how to love and serve one another and be loved and served in return, is a deep and fruitful unity. 

PRAYER: Lord Jesus you gave us an example of how you intend us to love.  You gave us the power to love through your Holy Spirit poured into our hearts. May we be obedient to your word and example and hold nothing back from loving as you loved and so build up your Kingdom in this world.

Today’s testimony is by John Hughes (Protestant) from the USA.

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