Love goggles. We all have them. We strap them on when we see cute babies, hunky husbands (yes, I mean you, dear), a pair of to-die-for shoes (or muck boots), an adorable lamb, or whatever or whomever else we just can’t resist. There’s nothing inherently wrong with love goggles…I mean, even little Thérèse seems to have a pair of her own as she gazes up at her shepherdess through the fence. It’s fair to say I love Thérèse back. I love all of these lambs already and can’t imagine our farm life without them! But imagine I must….
Bishop Robert Barron is an amazing priest, Bible scholar, teacher, homilist, and writer. Last week, he published a brief commentary on Luke 14:26. You know, that uncomfortable passage where Jesus says: If anyone comes to me without hating his father and mother . . . and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple.
To quote Bishop Barron on the matter:
“There is the great spiritual principle that undergirds the entire Gospel: detachment. The heart of the spiritual life is to love God and then to love everything else for the sake of God. But we sinners, as St. Augustine said, fall into the trap of loving the creature and forgetting the Creator. That’s when we get off the rails. We treat something less than God as God—and trouble ensues. And this is why Jesus tells his fair-weather fans that they have a very stark choice to make. Jesus must be loved first and last, and everything else in their lives has to find its meaning in relation to him.” (emphasis mine)
When we have family, friends, animals, or things that we love in this life, it’s easy to put on our love goggles and lose sight of their greater and holy purpose. Tunnel vision will keep us gooey-eyed and laser-focused on the people and objects of our affection but what we gain in giddiness we forfeit in godliness. We love best and most authentically when we love who or what we love for God, in God, and through God.
Most of us are familiar with the book of Job, the well-to-do, mega-blessed, righteous man whom God permitted to be tested by Satan. In the blink of an eye, he lost it all: his home, his flocks, his children, his health…everything he ever looked at with love goggles was either dead or gone. And yet, from his perch on a dung heap he proclaimed with a servant’s heart: The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord. ~ Job 1:21
In recognizing the supreme will and sovereignty of his Creator, Job was able to demonstrate a remarkable sense of humility, trust, and faithfulness in the face of tragedy and disaster. Why? Because he understood and practiced the discipline of detachment. He understood we come into this world “naked" —that is with nothing—and we are destined to depart the same way. If we are truly to see (and love!) God in all — then our love goggles must necessarily have lenses of faith where God, the Creator, is magnified and His holy will takes precedence over our own.
With Bishop Barron’s homily in mind, I can say (literally, and with with enthusiasm): For God’s sake, I love these sheep! That’s why I take a gazillion pictures and write this blog with a heart that desires to praise and proclaim the Lord, for what meaning is there apart from Him?
While there’s ample joy in the moment, I have no idea how this journey with our flock unfolds or how it ends. But the Lord has given; and if He so desires, may He take. Blessed be the name of the Lord.
May your goggles be filled with righteous and godly love, today and always! <3