“If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love. I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.” (John 15:10-12)
When I was in school I could always tell when my class was about to take a test. You could feel the fear, anxiety, and worry in the air. People’s muscles were tense. Their foreheads were creased. Their smiles were tight. Eyes were blinking more often. Feet were fidgety. Pencils were tapping on desks. A few students were trying to crack jokes to ease their nerves. Others were trying unsuccessfully to act like they didn’t care. Most of us were just wanting it to start so we could get it over with.
Every once in a while, however, a teacher would give us a break and announce as the test papers were being handed out that this test was going to be an open book one. As soon as they said that you could feel the collective sigh of relief from the class. Smiles returned. A few students would laugh and you even heard a cheer or two. The pressure of knowing everything was gone. As we took out our textbooks all of us knew that the answers would be right in front of us. All we had to do was find them.
A lot of people say that life is one long series of tests that we have to face. This is true. What most people don’t realize, though, is that they are all open book ones. The answers are always right there in front of you and they are so simple. You just have to open the book of your soul to any page and you will see the words: “JUST LOVE”. Just love God. Just love yourself. Just love everyone as yourself. When you do this you will pass every test that life throws at you.
When you do this you will make the world a brighter, better, and happier place. Now a lot of people would also say that knowing the answers is not the same as living them.
This too is true. Loving God, yourself, and others takes work everyday. Still, God loves you and God is always ready to help you to love. God is ready to fill you with His love so you can share it with the world. God is ready to help you love yourself and become the Child of God you were meant to be. God is ready to give you the strength to love the unlovable and to forgive those who have hurt you. God is ready to help you through all the tests that this life gives you and to walk with you into the greater love and life that awaits you.
Face all of life’s tests without fear then. Face them all with a smile on your face and a song in your heart. Use the lessons they teach to learn and to grow. Keep the book of your soul open and just love.
Joseph J. Mazzella