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From heart to mind
When I was a child, my parents asked me to learn by heart certain catechism answers. Even though I did not understand everything, I was capable of reciting to my parents the catechism’s answers. When I started to study theology, I understood better what I had learnt from the catechism. What I had learnt as a child was never wasted, rather it assumed a deeper meaning. In some cases, faced with a difficult question in morality that needed a quick answer, I turned first to the catechism. My theological reflection came only after that. In any event, learning the catechism was a way for me to express my obedience and my love to my parents. I took their request as a gift, but not (at least not always!) as a burden. I became a better human being by learning God’s law and by keeping it.
The gift of freedom
God’s law is first of all a gift. It is placed in the depths of our heart and conscience. It is not something that restricts our freedom. Rather, it teaches us how to be free. Better still, it leads us to a freedom where God shows us the persons whom he wants us to be. We need God’s law to guide us because without it, we cannot have a right relationship with God and with others. God’s law looks like a signposted path that leads us to the right destination when we take a walk in an unknown forest. The path with its signs is wide enough to allow us to enjoy our walk while preventing us from being lost.
The gift of self
Jesus Christ is the divine gift to humanity. He does not simply teach us how to fulfill the law. He is the fulfillment of the law in his very person. He is not only the law giver, but he is also the one who fulfills it. Like Jesus, we can be the greatest in the kingdom of heaven if we respect the letter of the law and its spirit. It is through our personal commitment that we can have a literal understanding of the law while fulfilling its spirit. It is through our relationship with Jesus Christ, the righteous one, that we become righteous.
The gift of communion
Jesus accomplishes the law and the prophets not as an obligation but as an act of communion with his Father. He is the greatest in the kingdom of his Father because he obeys and teaches the divine commandments. The more he observes the law, the closer he comes to its author. We too become close to God if we observe his commandments as a way to be in communion with him. When we obey the law of the Lord, we affirm our attachment to him. When we carry out the divine precepts, we are on our journey toward God.
Jesus is given to us a gift. He is also given to us a guide to lead us to our destination. Our journey with him is not without difficulty, but it is full of joy. By putting our footsteps in his, we participate in Jesus’ joy, the joy of walking on God’s way, the joy of being led to God.
Prayer: God of guidance, help us to observe your commandments as a way to be closer to you.
Resolution: Write the word “gift” in front of everything that I need to accomplish.