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Sign of love and affection

By Sean Martin
John Paul II Generation


Our Catholic Youth Camp in the Diocese of Sioux City began this past Sunday evening. Each day is packed with prayer and the Sacraments, experiences and opportunities to learn our Catholic faith, and packed with camp fun and games. The campers are given the occasion to adore Jesus in the most Holy Eucharist in Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament or Adoration. Each Holy Hour has been filled with hymns of praise, moments of silence, readings and reflections from the Scriptures, and stories of the lives of the saints.

The campers have been challenged to make a good and proper genuflection by bowing down to our Eucharistic King Jesus and, like St. Bernadette, make a beautiful and pious Sign of the Cross. One particular camper came up to me after the Holy Hour as she was leaving and gave me a small bunch of wild flowers (most people would call them weeds) that she had bundled up with a piece of fabric from the carpet square that she was sitting on and said “I made this for Jesus.” I suggested that she place them on the altar in front of the Monstrance holding the Blessed Sacrament. I watched as she excitingly placed them as I suggested.

When she came back over to me she had a big smile on her face and I told her that I’m sure Jesus is very pleased with her and is smiling at her for her offering. I encouraged her to continue to bring flowers to Jesus each Sunday when she goes to Mass. (I hope her parents have a large flower garden!)

This little girl’s offering of wild flowers to Jesus was a total act of love for Him. Most men show their love and care for their girlfriends or wives by buying and offering them flowers. Why not offer to Jesus flowers as a sign of our love and affection to Him?

“Charity is the theological virtue by which we love God above all things for his own sake, and our neighbor as ourselves for the love of God” (Catechism of the Catholic Church 1822). We are called to love the Lord God with everything we are and have unconditionally. Our love for God is shown by our actions. “If you love me, keep my commandments” (John 14:15).

If we truly love God, we will follow His commandments and keep His word. “Whoever loves me will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our dwelling with him” (John 14:24).
Our signs of love and affection toward someone are usually meaningless unless it’s backed with action.

Consequently, it’s important to offer signs of love and affection toward those that we love. It has been a long and pious tradition within the Catholic Church to offer God and the saints these same signs and affections we offer each other. These signs have typically taken the form of lighting candles, burning sweet smelling incense, offering roses and other beautiful flowers, and kissing statues and images as a symbolic gesture (we don’t worship the statues and images).

As we go to the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass this Sunday, I encourage you to offer some sort of pious offering to our Lord Jesus as a sign of your love and fidelity to Him.

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