CatholicMom Book Spotlight

Abel John

Disciples of Love: Prayerful Reflections for a Deeper Christian Love

On our walk with Jesus as Catholics, we are called upon continually to "Love One Another".  In his new book Disciples of Love: Prayerful Reflections for a Deeper Christian Love, author Abel John reflects on a broad cross section of scriptural passages and shares prayerful insights for applying our Christian faith to everyday life.  I have found Abel's reflections quite inspiring, and have enjoyed pondering them as part of my own spiritual journey. 

Lisa
Webmaster, CatholicMom.com

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Disciples of Love: Prayerful Reflections for a Deeper Christian Love
by Abel John


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CM: 
Please describe your background with the Catholic Church and your faith journey.

I was born Catholic and like most of us, I grew up not knowing my Catholic faith. At age 16, thanks to an Evangelical organization, I read the Gospel of John and my life was transformed. I met Jesus for the first time in my life in the Gospel of John and my life was never the same again. My search for a Church home followed. I visited several Churches of different denominations-Church of God, Jehovah's Witnesses, The Unification Church, the Baptist Church, Church of Christ and several other non-denominational Churches like the Potters' House and Covenant Church. I did this for about 12 years. I was basically a "Bible" Christian during this time. At about 28, I was in what I thought at the time the most wonderful relationship ever in my life. I was in love and engaged to be married. That marriage never happened and I was left with a wounded heart. I could not believe that love could hurt so much. In fact I questioned God about it. "If love is a good thing, then why am I hurting so much?" I thought I had done all the right things in this relationship. It just didn't make sense to me; to have loved so much and to end up with a broken heart. In tears I cried to God, "What is love? Show me what true love is!" God answered this prayer quickly. He took me to 1 Corinthians 13, the chapter of love in the New Testament. He showed me other Scriptures about love. Little did I know that he was preparing me to enter into the Catholic Church once again. The passion to learn more about love engulfed me so much that I put up a web site where I wrote articles about love and relationships. I came up with a method to help people understand Christian love, that everyone seemed to like. It was during my nephew's Confirmation Mass that God began to call me into a deeper love. Our Bishop spoke about the meaning of love in a very profound way. It was so deep that it brought a tear to my eye. It touched and moved my heart. After the Confirmation Celebration my sister gave me a book called "What Faith Really Means". It was there that I read that the Catholic Church existed before all these other Churches I had been going to. It was there that I learned that the Catholic Church can trace its beginnings all the way to the time of Christ. I didn't know that the Lutheran Church was an off-shoot of the Catholic Church, and that other Protestant Churches were off-shoots of off-shoots. That's just how ignorant I was. One evening, God floored me again. I was down on my knees praying, in tears, and Jesus spoke to my soul. He said, "Love my church" "Teach them to love". And the Father said to me, "Come home my son" "Enter my house". I prayed, "Father I don't understand all this Sacraments, Mother Mary and Confession stuff but if you are asking me to come home, then I am coming home Lord." God gave me an incredible hunger to learn about the Catholic faith, but I was having a hard time understanding it. When I prayed about it, the Holy Spirit whispered to me, "Humble yourself and you will understand." Since then I have grown in my knowledge and practice of my beautiful faith. Coming home to the Catholic faith was the most joyous experience of my life. Today as I enter my fifth year as a practicing Catholic, I realize that I am just now learning to love for the first time ever in my life. I am a student, a disciple of love who is learning the lessons of love from our Heavenly Father. God is showing me the Way.


CM:  I notice that your book is dedicated to your mother. What role did your mother play in your religious life and spiritual motivation?

My mother has played the greatest role in my religious life and spirituality. She is the first to teach me about God. I can still remember one particular night when I was in elementary school; she read Psalm 23 to my sister and I, and told us to pray this always before going to bed. In my mother I see God's love for me. No one has loved me or shown more love to me than my mother. No one has even come close. She has always been my support, my strength, always loving me with an unconditional love, even to this day. She's happy that I didn't grow up a trouble-maker (man with vices) and that I have been "a good son", but someday I'd like to make her really proud of me. I would also like to give her the greatest gift a son can give to his Mother, the same caring and warm love she has given me. What a blessing God has given me in my mother!

CM:  What prompted you to write
Disciples of Love?

God prompted me to write
Disciples of Love. He gave me an incredible passion for spiritual writing. This incredible passion drove me to quit my job and dedicate myself to the completion and publishing of this book. I don't even know what hit me. I'm still trying to figure out what all this means. God wants every Christian to learn to love and to show love to others. In his special way God will speak to readers of Disciples of Love. He will speak to them about love and invite them into a life of Christian love.

CM:  How would you summarize
Disciples of Love to someone who is considering reading the book?

Disciples of Love is a book filled with prayerful reflections that invite believers to follow Christ with a warm and joyous love. It is a book on how to love God, self and others. Disciples of Love is also a story of a soul who has come home to the Catholic Faith. It is filled basically with what God has taught me in my first 4 years as a Catholic. It is great to take along to silent retreats, and great for morning or evening prayerful reflection.

CM:  How did you come up with various reflections and how did you select the Bible verses you use in the book?

Most of these reflections were inspired by the Sunday or daily Gospel readings of the Mass; and some by the priest's homily. My experience with Bible reading during my "Bible" Christian days helped me recall and find verses that were just right for certain reflections. There were times that I prayed to the Holy Spirit and he provided the right Scripture verse when needed.

CM:  Are there any additional thoughts or comments you'd like to share with our CatholicMom.Com readers?

God's love is beyond our understanding but we should remain in his love nonetheless because there is where we will find our reason for being, our total happiness and our greatest love. Give your mom a hug and a kiss or do something nice for a mother today! In a very special way mothers carry God's love in their heart. We Catholics know this because we know Mother Mary!
 

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