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February 14, 2013

TCW Verse of the Week: John 15:9

Remain in my love.

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Who doesn't yearn to know in their very marrow that God is their friend? Who doesn't want more peace? And who wouldn't like to handle life's difficulties and pain with equanimity?

In Christ, surely such impossible-sounding desires are possible, and in one of the most beautiful Gospel chapters, Jesus opens his heart to his disciples, telling them that he loves them, that they are his friends, and that he is always with them:
"I have loved you even as the Father has loved me. Remain in my love."

The verse continues, "When you obey my commandments, you remain in my love, just as I obey my Father’s commandments and remain in his love. I have told you these things so that you will be filled with my joy. Yes, your joy will overflow! This is my commandment: Love each other in the same way I have loved you. There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command. I no longer call you slaves, because a master doesn’t confide in his slaves. Now you are my friends, since I have told you everything the Father told me" (John 15:9-15).

Jesus is still saying this to us today: I have called you friends (John 15:15). If we begin meditating on the awesome intimacy of Christ's friendship, we can set about discovering the truth of St. Augustine's words: "God is closer to your soul than you are yourself" (Following Christ).

One of the most overlooked verses in the Bible may be Psalm 46:10: "Be still, and know that I am God." How would our world change if we all practiced what it teaches? The ancient Christian mystics teach us that—more importantly and closer to home—our lives are transformed when we are still and quiet regularly. In one sermon, the 13-century Benedictine nun Umiltà of Faenza says, "Those who want to be able to listen well to God's speaking must enclose themselves in great silence" (A Little Daily Wisdom).

Getting alone with God helps us listen to the rich, soul-making silence that is divine love.

Adapted from TCW article "I Have Called You Friend" by Carmen Acevedo Butcher

Related Tags: Devotions, Listening, Prayer, Relationship with God, Silence, Solitude

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