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What is the love unto God?
101,1. You have seen in these four points that the Lord, on the one hand, does not present the sole obedience to the law for the attainment of actual eternal life as sufficient and, in the fourth point, even indirectly abolishes it.
101,2. But what would you say, if I would like to give you a few instances where the Lord even spoke rebukingly of the observance of the law? You say here: That will probably not be possible! For that, I can offer you not just one, but, as you wish, several examples. Hear!
101,3. Anyone who has studied the Mosaic Law only to some degree must know how much Moses commanded hospitality to the Jewish people. Those who turned against hospitality were declared worthy of punishment before God and before men. The law of hospitality was all the more intensified for the Jewish people, who were very prone to greed, in order to protect this people from self-love and greed, and to lead them to charity.
101,4. The law, therefore, was to receive and serve a foreign guest with all attentiveness, especially if he belonged to the Jewish nation; and this law was from God; for God, not Moses, was the Lawgiver.
101,5. But when the very same Lord, who had once given the laws through Moses, comes to Bethania in the house of Lazarus, Martha is law-abiding and offers all her strength to serve this most worthy guest with due respect. Mary, her sister, forgets about the law out of sheer joy in the exalted guest, sits down idly at His feet and listens with the utmost attention to the stories and parables of the Lord. Martha, somewhat aroused by her sister's inaction and oblivion of the law on this occasion, turns herself eagerly to the Lord and says, "Lord! I have so much to do, would you bid my sister to help me a little! "Or, more clearly, Master, You, the Founder of the Mosaic Law, do remind my sister to be obedient.
101,6. What is the Lord talking about here? "Martha, Martha!" He says, "you're worried about worldliness! Mary has chosen the better part, which will never be taken from her.
101,7. Tell me now, my dear friend, whether this is not an obvious censure of the Lord against the zealous and exact observance of the law, but, on the contrary, an extraordinary commendation of the person who, to a certain extent, does not care about the whole law, but rather says through her actions (Maria):
101,8. Lord, if I only have You, the whole world is not worth a stater to me! Does the Lord not here again show that the observance of the law alone does not give anyone the better, even the best part, which would never be taken from him? See, that is a fifth problem. But go on!
101,9. What does the Lord Himself say to Moses, in the third commandment, "Thou shalt sanctify the Sabbath"? Question, what does the Lord Himself do in the face of His literal fulfillers of the law? See, He goes forth and desecrates the Sabbath Himself, apparently according to the literal sense of the law, and even allows His disciples to reap ears of corn on a sabbath day, and to fill themselves with the grains. How do you like this observance of the law of Moses, where the Lord Himself, as it were, does not only desecrate the whole Sabbath only for Himself, but to the greatest annoyance of the literal law-enforcers? You will say that the Lord could do that, because He is also a Lord of the Sabbath.
101,10. Good, but I ask: Did the angry Pharisees know that the carpenter's son was Lord of the Sabbath? - You think they should have recognized His miracles. But then I say: marvels were not enough for these people to discern the perfect divinity in Christ, for all the prophets worked miracles at all times, the true aswell as sometimes the false ones. One cannot therefore assume that the miracles of Christ should have convinced the Pharisees of His Divinity and glory.
101,11. But all the prophets, except for Him, sanctified the Sabbath. He alone overthrew it. Would that not have been a nuisance to the literal law-abiders? Certainly, and yet the Lord did not stop with His activity.
101,12. But what does it mean? Nothing other than that the Lord sets the observance of the law only at the very bottom. Why? A little parable out of your own sphere, as of the sphere of every man who has ever lived in the world, is to bring you the answer:
101,13. A father has two children. He has announced his will as law to these children. He showed them a field and vineyard and said, "You have become strong, and so I demand of you that you diligently work for me in the vineyard and the field. From your work I will know which of you loves me the most." Well, that is the law, according to which, of course, to the son who loves the Father most, would be given more glory by the Father.
101,14. But what are the two sons doing? The one takes the spade and persistently tills the earth all day long and orders the field and the vineyard. The other one is working at his leisure, as one would say. Why? He says: When I am in the field or in the vineyard, I must always miss my dear father, besides, I am not as glory-hungry as my brother. If only I have my dear father, if I can only be around him, who is everything in my heart, I do not ask for much or for one or the other allotment of glory.
101,15. The father also says from time to time to his second son: but see how your brother works diligently and seeks to earn my love. But the son says, O dear father! When I am in the field, I am far from you, and my heart does not give me rest, but always speaks aloud to me: Love does not live in the hand, but in the heart, therefore it does not want to do it with the hand, but want to be earned by the heart. Give, father, my brother, who works so diligently the field and the vineyard. But I am sufficiently provided for by you, if you will only allow me to love you to my heart's content at all times, as I want and must love you, because you are my father, my all.
101,16. What will the Father then say, and that from the innermost depth of his heart? Certainly nothing other than:
101,17. Yes, my dearest son, you have revealed your heart to me; the law is just a test. But my son, love, is not in the law, for everyone who keeps the law alone keeps it out of self-love in order to earn his love and glory with his energy. But the one who keeps the law is still far from My love, because his love attached to Me, but to the reward.
101,18. But because you have turned back, you did not disdain the law, because your father gave it, but you have risen above the law, and your love has led you back to your father. So then your brother should come over the field and the vineyard and enter into my glory; but you, my dearest son, shall have what you have sought, the Father Himself and all His love!
101,19. I think, my dear friend, it will be obvious from this parable, what is more, that dry law only, or the overriding and the embracing of love only.
101,20. If all is not completely clear to you yet, I ask you: if you had the opportunity to choose a bride out of two virgins of whom you would be convinced that you both love each other, but you are not yet completely sure which one loves you the most. Would not you very much wish to find out who does love you the most, to choose the one who loves you most? You say: That's very clear, but how do find out? That we'll have at once.
101,21. See, you come to the first one. She is busy and active. Out of love for you, she does not mind all the hard work she does for you, because she makes shirts, socks, nightgowns, and more such clothing for you. She has so much to do, that not seldom, out of sheer business, is she hardly aware of you when you come to her. See, that's the first one. - The second one works very casually. She also does things for you, but her heart is too busy with you to give her attention to the work. If you visit her, and she sees you coming from far away, there is no talk of working, because then she knows nothing higher, nothing more commendable than you alone! You alone are her all in all, for you she would give all the world! Tell me which of the two will you choose?
101,22. You say: Dear friend! The second one is dearer to me, because what do I care about a few shirts and stockings? Obviously it can be seen here that the first one seeks to earn me only by forcing me to acknowledge her merit. The other, however, seeks to love me. She is beyond merit and knows nothing higher than me and my love. I would take the second one for my wife.
101,23. Well, I tell you, my dear friend, do not you see clearly the nature of Martha and Mary here? Do you see what the Lord is saying to the law-abiding Martha and what to the idle Mary?
101,24. But from this you can also see what the Lord demands of every human being beyond the law, and at the same time tangibly reveals what man's love for God consists of. For just the very reason the Lord even cursed, excited in His heart the literal observer of the law (the Pharisees and the scribes), praises the sinful publican, and makes the kingdom of heaven more accessible to the thieves, whores, and adulterers than the dry slaves of the letter
101,25. Therefore I ask the objector now with the fullest right once again, according to which measure one should love God above everything? If I have the measure, then I have everything, but if I do not have the measure, then I love as one who does not know what love is. So again the question:
101,26. How should one love God above all else? - And I, John, say: To love God above all means:
101,27. To love God beyond all law! - How to, shall be made clear next.
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