Do you love me?

DOM MAURO GIUSEPPE LEPORI

The night fell gently on the tranquil water.

Peter pushed the boat out onto the lake, rowed out, and cast the net — and then realized that he was doing this not because he wanted to fish but because he wanted Jesus.  One day he had encountered the Master while casting his nets; he had encountered him in accepting to row back out onto the lake; he had encountered him on this same boat, doing the things he was doing now. He now realized that he could do nothing, experience nothing without desiring that Jesus be present with him, in their midst ....

With tears in his eyes, with a voice like that of a child who is about to break out sobbing, Simon said so loudly that he almost scared himself, "Lord, you know everything;  you know that I love you!"

And once again, once and for all, before he had even finished answering, Peter saw with certainty that Jesus believed in his love, that he had believed in this from the first answer, that he had always believed it, since their first encounter on this same shore.  Only now, only at this moment, after living with him for three years, after seeing him suffer and after he had died following Peter's denial and abandonment, only now was Peter discovering that Jesus needed his love, that Jesus, the Son of God who had conquered death, was thirsty for his love.

"Feed my sheep," Jesus repeated, and Peter understood that this task was connected to the question that the Lord had asked him.  Peter had only one mission left in life:  that of loving Jesus Christ, of responding to his thirst for love, and of responding to this as the sinner that he was, as miserable as he was.  It was as if Jesus was telling him, "You can deny me a thousand times, you can deny me your whole life, but never forget to love me, never deprive me of your love!"

 

 



ACKNOWLEDGEMENT

Abbot Mauro-Giuseppi, O.Cist. "Do you love me?" excerpt from Simon, Called Peter: In the Company of a Man in Search of God (Ignatius Press, 2010).

Written originally in Italian, Simon Called Peter has been translated into both French and German. Other works by Lepori include L’amato presente. This excerpt appeared in Magnificat in April 2013.

THE AUTHOR

Abbot Mauro-Giuseppi, O.Cist. has been Abbot General of the Order of Cistercians since 2010. He was previously the abbot of the Abbey of Hauterive which he entered in 1984. The Cistercian of Hauterive is outside of Fribourg, Switzerland. Abbot Mauro earned a licentiate in philosophy and theology from the Catholic University of Fribourg. The abbot general is a Swiss-Italian born (from Lugano) monk who, before his entrance into the cloister was an active follower of Communion and Liberation. He is the author of Simon, Called Peter: In the Company of a Man in Search of God.

Copyright © 2010 Ignatius Press




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