Abiding in love

The other day I and several diocesan colleagues were asked to provide our favourite bible verses, as part of this year's The God Who Speaks scripture initiative, and focus on this Sunday of the Word of God. Sure, I replied, but which of about half a dozen verses could I possibly choose?

But even while I was typing that brief email, one verse had already floated into my head, and - even as I considered the other possibilities - refused to budge. It comes from the Gospel used for the feast of St Madeleine Sophie; one which is also a great favourite in religious liturgies in general. My choice, but also Sophie's choice, I'm sure.

Photo credit: Diocese of Westminster

(Personally, though, I prefer a slightly different translation to the one used by the diocese - abide in my love rather than remain. Abiding suggests greater permanence, something more enduring; and it also suggests being at home, settled, embedded even, in Love. It connects, too, to many translations of 1 John 4, in which there is a mutual indwelling of love.)

That was Wednesday. On Thursday our probanists, just a few days away from professing their perpetual vows, received their name and devise (motto). Love was very much at the heart of both, as it is at the heart of our mission: a love that transforms; a love to be proclaimed, widely, with our lives. And, resonating with my choice - Sophie's choice - of scripture verses, I read these words from our Superior General's conference: This abiding love in Jesus is generative and calls us out of ourselves. As Religious of the Sacred Heart our rootedness in God’s love is “a powerful force of conversion and transforms us for mission.”... Receiving God’s love in our very being draws us into the suffering of humanity. It invites us to face the pain of people and our world, and compels us to participate actively in God’s work of reconciliation...

Abide in the love of Jesus... love one another with his love... Receive and share God's love, with all its consequences, its transformative power, its opening to pain and to joy...

And which bible verses does God speak to you, especially today?