Ivonne J. Hernandez considers the relationship between rules, boundaries, and love.
I have always been a rule follower. Knowing where clearly marked borders are gives me the freedom to move within the safety of its lines. Yet every coin has another side. Every good thing made to help us can become an obstacle for us as soon as we place it between God and us.
We can become so comfortable focusing on the rule of law that it becomes what we trust. We can become legalistic and miss entirely the spirit of the law. Everything in creation is subordinate to the law of Love.
The fulfillment of the law is Christ himself, who does not so much lead us away from the letter as lift us up to its spirit. For the law’s consummation was this, that the very lawgiver accomplished his work and changed letter into spirit, summing everything up in himself and, though subject to the law, living by grace. He subordinated the law, yet harmoniously united grace with it, not confusing the distinctive characteristics of the one with the other, but effecting the transition in a way most fitting for God. He changed whatever was burdensome, servile and oppressive to what is light and liberating, so that we should be enslaved no longer under the elemental spirits of the world, as the Apostle says, nor held fast as bondservants under the letter of the law. (Saint Andrew of Crete, bishop: Oratio 1: PG 97, 806-810)
Imagine a spouse standing right next to the “no cheating” boundary, seeing how far they can go while not crossing the line. I’d say that marriage is in trouble. Their focus is on the line rather than on loving their spouse. Rules and boundaries are essential in all relationships. As a married person, knowing that cheating on your spouse is a definitive NO is important. Yet if that is where our focus remains, on what not to do, we might miss living and experiencing the very relationship the boundaries were meant to protect. The same thing happens in our relationship with God. If our focus remains only on paying attention to the boundaries, we miss entering into the heart of God.
Consider yourselves as foolish, as outsiders, or as wanting, until Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament becomes your only possession, your only happiness, your only joy, because you are not yet fully his. He doesn’t yet reign as a sovereign master in you. Oh! If we were fully his, he would be the constant thought of our hearts, the only law of our lives! Oh! How beautiful, gentle, and strong our life would then be! It would be Jesus’ life. (St. Peter Julian Eymard)
God wants us to be faithful, to love Him above all things, to believe in His love for us, and to trust in Him. It is not around the edges, around shallow waters, where we will find the fulfillment of this. It is by going toward His Heart, away from the things that used to bring us comfort and safety. As long as we move toward the center, we don’t have to fear losing our footing in the deep. He is there to hold us, for we were made for Him.
Copyright 2023 Ivonne J. Elisheba
This article was first published in the Elisheba blog. It is published here with permission.
About the Author
Ivonne J. Hernandez is a Catholic wife, mother, writer, and speaker. She pursued a career in Computer Engineering before becoming a stay-at-home homeschooling mom to her three boys. She is a Lay Associate of the Blessed Sacrament, president of Elisheba House (non-profit Catholic media apostolate), and author of The Rosary: Eucharistic Meditations. For more information visit ElishebaHouse.com. Follow Ivonne on Facebook and Instagram.