Sunday, October 5, 2014

The Gift and the Burden of Love

I walked on the beautiful streets of St. Louis on a nice day in the start of an autumn weekend. There are gentle chilly winds and warm sunshine. 

Fall leaves on our trip to Jubilee Farm in Springfield

It makes me think about the beautiful Spring of Genesis, and the Gospel today (Matt: 21:33-43).  If Eve did not take “a shoot of the tree of knowledge” in the “Eden Spring,” we would not have a “sweet fruit of redemption” in Jesus for humankind. If Eve did not make a mistake, we would not have a chance to know the burden of love of God for us. This kind of love also flows into our heart.  However, we know that after the winter season, a new Spring will bring flowers, shoots and new leaves. Birds will come to sing, wind will arrive, to dance with the leaves on the branches.

Is love a burden?  Yes, it is when it is hard love and deepest love.  This is the love of God we hear today in our Gospel.  The landowner is an image of God, who prepares everything his vineyard needs to grow and produce abundant fruits.  In Jewish poetry and literature, and in the Old Testament, a vineyard is an image of the people God loves.  Jesus brought this image into his parable to teach us many things.  However, what is behind all these things?  It is the depth of God's love - the landowner with his struggles as he sends his servants and finally even his only son.  Remember, the landowner bid his tenants to look after his vineyard, not to harvest it.  However, the tenants did not know their roles so they made a mess of it.  When we try to leave everything to follow God's plan this world will have peace.  We will have joy in our hearts and lives.

I have a custom, which is visiting. Every time I visit my family, I always save time to visit other religious convents in my town, and visit my neighbors, to sit down a little while with them, to hear their story. People in the countryside are very simple, honest and open. They were surprised and happy to see me. They bring to me whatever they want to share. I enjoy listening to them. I see it is a blessing for both them and me.  Some months ago, I did this.  One early evening, I came to see some of my neighbors. They are a middle aged couple.  The smell of delicious food came from their kitchen.  I saw the table was full with many main dishes of food. The wife of that couple was cooking. I asked her: There are only two of you, did you do all of this?  She said yes. I continued to ask, do you have a party tonight? Yes. Are you excited? Yes, we are. You must have many guests coming? They looked at me and said, no. I was surprised and asked: how and for who? They looked at me with a deep sigh from their hearts to share their word: only for our son. These are the foods he loves. He has been in prison for the last two years. He will be out and come home tonight.

I was deeply touched. I was not in my country for some years, so I did not know their son was in prison. However, that moment, I see from their eyes a deep love, a burden of love in their faces and in their hearts for their son. Do you sense their love and the burden love in their life?  For me, I saw the beautiful, the deep love and the burden of the love of God in this couple. I thanked God for their love. I thanked God for letting me see this.

I invite you to share with me my prayer:  God, please purify my heart to love and to care for your people as you do, even if sometimes I have to carry a burden of love.  I know when I do this, I will have deep peace.  Then your love will be presented to your loving people.  As for me, I can say to God, I am only a worker, I do what I have to do. Amen.



  1. Chuc … this is beautiful! Thank you for sharing this profound story, for reminding me of the depth of God's love, and of my call to love likewise! Thanks! ~ Kathy

  2. Chuc -
    God's LOVE is like a Mother's LOVE for her child (son) - Thank you for your prayerful, thought provoking message. God truly surrounds us with His yoke of LOVE - thus making our burden light!
    Blessings, Joy, Love,

  3. The future of Dominican Sisters is assured in and with such a contemplative novice.
    Thank you for sharing yourself and your prayer.
    Chi Sang.

  4. Thank you for the beautiful reflection, Chuc!
    Margaret Palliser, OP

  5. Dear Chuc, Thank you for drawing me into the mystery of God's Love, the burden of God's Love. Your sharing also draws me into your own heart and love. I join you in your prayer and give thanks that we walk this journey of Love together. Know you are missed and loved and prayed for! your sister, Gloria Marie