In Sunday’s Gospel our Lord speaks of things that resonate deep in the human heart: love, joy, and friendship. We all desire these, so we delight in His words: Remain in my love. . . .I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and your joy might be complete. . . .I have called you friends. . . .
But then He also speaks of something less appealing: commandments: If you keep my commandments, you will remain in my love. . . .This is my commandment: love one another as I love you. . . .You are my friends if you do what I command you.
How do we square these things? On one hand, the appeal of love, joy, and friendship. On the other hand, the burden of commands. Or, put differently: Why is it that we get to love, joy, and friendship only by way of obedience to His commands?
First of all, because in our fallen human nature, we do not understand love, joy, and friendship. Our darkened intellect does not see them clearly and easily accepts counterfeits of them. And our weakened, selfish will distorts them to be what our passions want. We need the teaching of Christ to enlighten our minds and hearts so that we can grasp the true meaning of these blessings. Only in Him, true God and true man, do we see authentic love, real joy, and genuine friendship. Without Him, we have only their natural, wounded versions of those crucial things that incline easily to error and harm.
Read more at The Catholic Thing.