The link that St. Peter makes between Truth, Purity, and Love got my attention:
You have been obedient to the truth and purified your souls until you can love like brothers, in sincerity; let your love for each other be real and from the heart — your new birth was not from any mortal seed but from the everlasting word of the living and eternal God (1 Pet 1:22-23).
Wow! We want that, but how do we get there? …Glad you asked! Here are 3 ways we can cultivate truth and purity, which lead to love, the ultimate goal. They start by looking at how we’re using our time.
Be obedient to the Truth. Do your best to seek out the Truth and love it above all else. It’s so easy to keep plowing ahead, doing the same thing over and over — but is what I’m doing day-to-day really making me more loving? More generous? Are my priorities grounded in the Truth of who I am as a child of God?
Go on your own treasure-hunt for Truth by:
- reading Holy Scripture and stopping to ponder it when it gives you an insight (don’t forget to write down the insight!),
- asking God for guidance and then sitting silently to listen for that gentle nudge, and
- getting a trusted friend’s take on what you could add or subtract from your to-do list for a life more responsive to the Truth you glimpsed in your quiet time with God.
Purify your soul. Sometimes the day just seems like a series of fires to put out. How did my to-do list get blown up? It helps to notice what pulls us away from what’s important. Was I solving other people’s problems while neglecting my own priorities? Was I fixing what wasn’t really broken? Was I causing conflict when I meant to solve it?
Write down your top three priorities in life and ask whether what you did today furthers them. If your priorities and day-to-day choices are out of alignment, that awareness is a gift — you can always realign. Hint: loving what God loves is a good priority.
Realigning can mean changing what you do, like spending less time on social media and more time with your children, or changing your attitude about everyday duties that you don’t like very much. Either way leads to greater purity of intention because your actions will mirror your greatest goals.
Love sincerely. Pretty daunting, but if Peter said it, it must be possible. Sincere love follows naturally (or supernaturally!) from aligning our priorities with how we actually spend our time. Real love means that my love overflows from my love of God, who is infinite love. If the source of “love” is only myself or other people, I’ll probably run dry the first time I don’t get what I want.
A good look at the less-than-loving (read fearful) places in our own heart can help clean out resentments and prejudices we may not have noticed before. Are outdated patterns of thought keeping me from loving sincerely?
Peter says to live out the power of your baptism. He calls it “new birth.” We may feel old and worn out some days, but our souls are “still full of sap, still green” in Christ, the abundant source of life and love. Our baptism is always fresh and new, because it unites us with Him who is “the same, yesterday, today, and tomorrow.” Don’t feel the freshness right now? Try acting as if you do — you’ll be amazed how the decision to be enthusiastic ignites real enthusiasm for life. And it’s contagious!
Call to mind often that God is living and eternal. Yes, Peter says “living.” That means His advice and crisis line is open 24/7. It means the Doctor is in — and he makes house calls. Too often, God seems to be just standing by (or floating way up there) out of reach and inert. Guess what — it’s we who have let our spiritual battery run down. If we plug into the Divine charger-stand and make it a priority to ask Him for guidance and strength during the day, His life will flow into us and we’ll be living our little bit of heaven right now — even when the computer crashes or we’re stuck in traffic. God’s love turns even the most painful things into “the small stuff.”
We began with Peter, and we’ll call on Paul to finish up — because he knows a thing or two about keeping purity of soul in tough times: For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord (Rom 8:38-39).
Can I get an Amen? :)
Please leave a comment below to share what’s worked for you in gaining more purity and simplicity of soul.