Friday, 1/5/18 – Brotherly Love

As I sat with today’s readings my heart reflected on brotherly love, or I guess the lack thereof between Cain and Abel. Cain’s murder of Abel must have profoundly struck the hearts of Adam and Eve. God told them that childbirth would be painful as a result of Original Sin and I can’t think of a pain that would cut deeper into a parent’s heart than learning that their son killed his brother. The pangs of the parent’s personal sin undoubtedly wounded in the first family of Adam and Eve.

Original Sin deprived our first parents of the original holiness God offered them and this left them vulnerable to the influence of the Evil One. In turn, their personal sin deprived their children of original holiness as well. This deprivation especially affected their first born son Cain. Instead of life expanding, death entered in – spiritual and physical death. We too suffer from the deprivation of God’s original holiness. Yet, our loving God always reveals to us a way home into life. This way is through Love.

Divine Love

We have a loving Triune God and our hearts crave the love they share. Three persons giving and receiving the fullness of divine love; God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit loving in perfect harmony and existing as One. Their complete giving and receiving of love is part of their Oneness. Love is their divine glue. The human heart aches to experience their divine glue of love.

We are created in the image of our Triune God. As we begin to understand this we see that their love also holds us together, without it we fall apart. When we give and receive love we find ourselves within the river of divine love and we reconnect with the love of God. The key is finding the pathway into love.

Then God said: Let us make human beings in our image, after our likeness. – Genesis 1:26 [a] (NABRE)

Brotherly Love

As children created in the image of God we have free will to choose life (love) or death. In today’s first reading John lays out how to gain access to love – it is through loving our brothers. Yet, it’s not always easy to love our brothers and sometimes we choose against love. When we choose against love we follow the temptation of the Evil One and we find ourselves outside the source of life – “Whoever does not love remains in death”. And like Cain, we allow pain and heartache to enter into our hearts and the hearts of our loved ones.

Jesus came to reveal to us the pathway into love. He gave us two commandments; love God above all others and love our neighbors as ourselves. When reflecting on today’s readings I saw a beautiful relationship between Jesus’ commandments and the first two sins found in Genesis. The key to real freedom was sitting right in front of me.

As always, the key to true freedom is found in Jesus Christ. Adam and Eve were disobedient to God when they committed the first sin. And Jesus, in his first commandment, calls us into obedience to God. Cain expressed the ultimate lack of love towards his brother when he murdered Abel. Then Jesus, in his second commandment, calls us to love our neighbors (brothers) as ourselves. Jesus, the New Adam, came and showed us how we can heal and experience the bliss God originally intended for his children and it all comes down to love. We are called to love God as God originally wanted Adam and Eve to love him, and we are also called to love our brothers as God originally wanted Cain to love his younger brother Abel.

He said to him, “You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and the first commandment. The second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. Matthew 22:37 – 39 (NABRE)

Love Can Be Hard

I know it can be hard to love sometimes – especially when our hearts hurt. It seems our hearts hold on to anger or jealousy like Cain’s did all too easily. This is where forgiveness comes in. On the cross Jesus authored forgiveness. He showed us how to forgive – “Father, forgive them, they know not what they do.” – Luke 23:24 (NABRE). Luke 23:24 is one the most familiar verses in the entire Bible. We cannot forgive fully without Christ and we must ask for his help. He knows how to forgive and he will guide us through the struggle.

The price for unforgiveness is high. When unforgiveness occupies a place in the human heart it blocks love – unforgiveness and love cannot occupy the same place. Or hearts condemn when we do not forgive and this condemnation causes us to lack confidence in God. This is why God sent his Son – he knew we needed a Savior to show us how to fill our hearts with love. I invite you to visit my blog post on one of my favorite forgiveness meditations if you are struggling with forgiveness: Forgiveness Circle Meditation

Crying Out With Joy

The human heart is capable of extending great praise and song to God, after all, it is created in the image of God’s heart. God loves it when we praise him alongside our brothers! We are called to love our brothers in “deed and truth” as Saint John tells us today. This means we are called to get in the trenches with our brothers – walk with them on their journey and help each other along the way. Before we can truly walk with our brothers we must tear down the walls of unforgiveness and anger between us. Every time we tear down these walls our ability to love expands. It’s a journey worth taking and a journey that has Love at its final destination.

Prayer Intentions

I want to thank everyone who reached out to me with prayer intentions last week. Many of you posted your requests in the comments section and others privately emailed your prayer request to me. Your stories deeply touched my heart. As I sat reading your requests soft tears ran down my cheeks (I am the sensitive type by nature) and my heart felt a bit of your pain. There is so much pain in the world. Yet, we are all part of Christ’s body, broken as it is and wholly loved.

Prayer is the most powerful instrument we have against pain and evil in this world. If you would like me to pray for you this upcoming week please leave your prayer request below or email me privately. Also, I invite you to join with me in prayer for all of the intentions shared here (spoken and unspoken) – mine included.

As St. Paul spoke – “Where sin increased, grace overflowed all the more.” – Romans 5:20 (NABRE)

God bless all of you. See you next week Friday! – Carolyn


Sacred Heart of Jesus – have mercy on us.

Father God – consume us.

Holy Spirit – enter into us.

Blessed Virgin Mary – pray for us.

Saint John Neumann – pray for us.

Today’s Readings: 1 John 3:11-21; Responsorial Psalm 100:1B-2, 3, 4, 5; Gospel John 1:43-51

About the Author

Carolyn Berghuis MS, ND, CTN is a best-selling author, inspirational speaker, traditional naturopath, and free-lance Catholic writer. She has spent over 20 years helping individuals experience real transformation in their body, heart and soul. Carolyn credits her frequent time spent in Eucharistic Adoration and regular Mass attendance for her spiritual growth and internal peace. Carolyn Berghuis is creator of The LIVE Method (Love is Victorious Everywhere) and the founder of Trinity Holistic Wellness. A woman whose compassion and determination are a powerful portrait of the human spirit, she has discovered the path to real happiness and peace. Her weekly on-line reflections on acatholic.org inspire readers across the globe and her heart for healing propels her forward as she seeks to assist those on their journey towards happiness and wholeness. Additionally, Carolyn is currently pursuing an MA in Pastoral Theology at Saint Meinrad Seminary and School of Theology. Carolyn also holds a BS in Mathematics, a MS in Holistic Nutrition and a doctoral degree in Naturopathy. Together with her husband, Scott Berghuis, Carolyn enjoys a rich family life with their three beautiful children and seven amazing grandchildren. Carolyn is available to speak on a variety of Catholic topics. If you would like Carolyn to speak at your local event please contact her at Carolyn@CarolynBerghuis.com. You can learn more about Carolyn's ministry at www.CarolynBerghuis.com

Author Archive Page

22 Comments

  1. Hi Dr. Carolyn. My husband and I are so blessed to have 3 little ones & now we are wanting Gods guidance to if or if we should not try to add one more. Money, thank God is not an issue, however, very hard pregnancies are what is holding us back. We’ve lost two already and I have other “hard & scary” things that happen throughout pregnancy. That and I’m quickly approaching 37. I think we both want a large family because we both came from one. Also, I lost my little brother 3 years ago & that makes my family seem so small. We are praying. Thank you so very much for your prayers too!

  2. Thank you for your insights Carolyn. Please would you pray for my beloved adult son who is an addict, destroying his life, and in denial. Thank you.

  3. Please, join with me in this intention: For God to reveal to me His purpose for my life. I know within me that I have a gift to bless the world, but I don’t know what it is specifically. I have the gift of oratory and I am a lector in church, but I feel that I need to bless my generation with what God has instilled in me. I work in an organisation but there is no fulfilment. Once again, I pray for God’s direction even as I am about making a major decision in 2018.
    Regards and God bless you.

  4. It is a joy to pray for others even in the hurt. Thank you all who pray. Please pray that muy husband give himself to Christ and we unite or marriage in Jesus name. Also for love to fill the heart of L, and all children who yearn to know the love of their parents have a safe place in their lives.

  5. For God’s direction in life and for my coming to terms with my mission on earth.Thanks for your wonderful and inspiritional reflection,God continous blessings and abundant grace.

  6. I have 3 prayer requests, please see below:

    1.) For the repose of the soul of my dear aunt Rhoda Idowu who passed away last year.
    2.) For good health, divine favour and wisdom for me, every member of my family and all my friends.
    3.) For the hungry, sick and poor. That God may be with them, comfort them and always provide for them.

  7. Prayers for my grandchildren and their parents. both children are Type 1 diabetic. pray for a cure someday but until then, pray for healthy management of the disease.

  8. Pray for all families struggling with discord and pain. That parents may rediscover the love that brought them together and created a family. Pray for a conversion to their hearts to the love of God and each other that marriage and family unity may be restored.

  9. Well done Carolyn, beautiful. Thank you for sharing the true and real meaning of forgiveness. Pray for those who most need it. Thank you……..

  10. Pray for my special intentions which I hold closely in my heart.
    I pray for all those intentions of my brother and sisters. Amen

  11. I’m in awe of what you do, and I truly love the words you post in these columns too. They always speak directly to my heart in at least one special way. Would you mind praying for my eldest sister Nancy; she’s in the final stages of a struggle with pancreatic cancer. We drove 1,000 miles to be with her and have been here for a week; but now we must return home tomorrow and she is hanging on in pain and at times lucid. I also need prayers for another job opportunity that came to my attention yesterday. I would have to move to another state to accept it; but I’ve had trouble finding well paying work for nearly seven years now. We are very close to short selling our home of 12 years because we’ve been unable to make the mortgage payments for the past 6 months too. Just ask that God help me make the best decision for my family and I please!!! God bless you, your family, and all the wonderful work you do!!!!!!

  12. Thank you for offering your prayers, Carolyn. It has touched my heart to see everyone’s prayers as well, and I believe it unites us, as we all struggle along this journey. Please pray for my husband’s conversion of heart so Christ can heal his heart.

  13. Pls pray for my little family. I am a widow with 3 children. The lost of my eldest son 10Yrs ago n my husband 2yrs ago have left a huge void n pain in my family. Unforgiving n pain n loss have wrapped our family. We need healing in our family n to release the pain n the loss. Pls pray for my family. I left them 5Yrs ago to come n work for our survival. We miss each other very much. Its our financial obligation that is Keeping us apart. I m here to work to pay off our home mortgage n their education. How much I want to see my children. Pls pray for us to persevere thru. So I.may finish what I came for n return home.

  14. Pls pray for my personal relationship, for my family and my friend who is fighting breast cancer . Thank you
    God bless you

  15. My cousin, Morgan, has been fighting a very rare cancer called Langerhans cell Histiocytosis (LCH). She is on her last round of chemo this week. This cancer deals with the immune system; you can’t ever destroy these cells completely. It could come back in large amounts later in her lifetime and she would have to do more of chemo. This round has been hard for her; she’s a senior trying to finish high school and it gets tough when she gets sick and can’t go to school.

    I ask that you would pray for her and her family.

  16. Pls Pray For Gods Protection In My Family And To Cancel The Spirit Of Death In My Family Whether Ancestory Or Hand Of The Wicked. And For God Directive In My Life. Thanks Dear

  17. Please pray for those addicted to opiods and their families. Pray for people with any addictions and for Christ’s love to replace the evils of this world.

  18. In response to Joy Vinusa …. have you ever thought about using “gofundme.com” to lessen some of your financial needs? I’m praying for you all.

Post a Comment

Your email address will not be published.