*The readings in the Breviarium for Matins today come from the beginning of the second letter of Saint John, verses 1-13, including his beautiful greeting to us: "Sit vobiscum gratia, misericordia, pax a Deo Patre et a Christo Iesu Filio Patris in veritate et caritate."
John's lesson continues in verses 6-9, to instruct us in the truth about love and thus also the reality that there are those in the world who deny the truth and oppose Christ. He warns us against their seductions: "Et haec est caritas, ut ambulemus secundum mandata eius. Hoc est enum mandatum, ut quemadmodum audistis ab initio, in eo ambuletis. Quoniam multi seductores exierunt in mundum, qui non confitentur Iesum Christum venisse in carnem: hic est seductor et antichristus."
My unworthy translation: And this is love, that we walk according to his command. This is his command, that we have heard from the beginning, and in which you walk. There are many seducers in the world, who do not confess Jesus Christ as come in the flesh: this is the seducer and the antichrist.
How to confess Christ "as come in the flesh"? Do this by walking in His commandments. And what are His commandments? "Love one another". But to love one another does not mean as I decide the truth about love for me. No, I am under obedience to Love Himself, and can only love and be loved as He teaches and as He gives the grace of loving. Only the Lord Jesus Christ can teach me the truth about love as I take each step of the day, "walking" according to His example and command, and powered by His grace. Thus we confess Christ come in the flesh, when He "becomes incarnate" once again, takes flesh once again, in each of us as we live in His love in cooperation with His grace.
He loves by pouring Himself out completely in His death upon the Cross in order to give us life. How will we put the flesh to death today so as to live in the Spirit? Grant us, Lord, to know Your holy will! Grant that we may truly love one another as Christ loves us, come in the flesh in order to pour out His Spirit upon the whole world! Amen.
Dearly beloved, let us pray for one another in love as He commands, Christ who has come among us "in the flesh".
(Photo: Marines and Sailors from Utah, Idaho, California and elsewhere, at rest stop along highway between Agadir and Tan Tan.)