Jesus answered, “Those who love me will keep my word, and my Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them.” (John 14:23 NRSV).
Seasonally speaking, the Scripture verse I just quoted above belongs to the Easter Season. It is part of the Last Supper discourse found in St. John‘s Gospel. These words jumped out at me as I was reading them as part of a sermon by St. Bernard of Clairvoux found in The Liturgy of the Hours I: Advent and Christmas Season on pages 169-170. In the reading, St. Bernard writes about three comings of Christ. In the paragraph before he uses the words from John’s Gospel quoted above he wrote, “In the first [coming], Christ was our redemption; in the last, he will appear as our life; in this middle coming, he is our rest and consolation.”
One of the greatest gifts of contemplative prayer is the experience of Jesus coming home to live in us, as God elevates us to a higher vision of God. The heart is infused with that love that is so amazing, so perfect and complete; that all one can do is sit in the stillness of the moment and in faith, receive and savor the experience.
Keeping the word is more than about the words written or spoken. Keeping the word is about allowing the Holy Spirit to make a home in our hearts for Jesus Christ, The Word. It is about keeping our hearts and minds open to welcome the presence of God in prayer and contemplation. It is about the love of God permeating every fiber of our being and changing us from the inside out. It is about keeping watch for The Word to take up residence in every aspect of our lives, remaking us into the “new creation” that St. Paul writes about in 2 Corinthians 5:17-18.
Keep watch by keeping the Word and loving Him who loves us.
Br. Anselm Philip King-Lowe, n/OSB