Love One Another As I Love You

Please forward to anyone you think would benefit from these vlogs and have them join the Compassionate Culture—

Hi, compassionate souls, how are you? I am geeked up for this gospel! Just so you know, I read and contemplate the Gospels as if He is speaking to me—I try to listen to what he is telling me each day.

I did not know what the Gospel was when I recorded last week when I let you all know that God spoke through my fingers telling me what He wanted me to do on the vlogs, “Show people how to live the gospel.” Well, I read the Gospel today and I was beside myself. God-incidence, not a coincidence, because the Gospel is all about Him choosing me and Him asking me to go and share to the world and bear fruit and receive the joy that only the Father can give me.

Ah, this is the epitome of why I’m doing this, why I left my executive career to help others enrich their lives through faith and prayer. The fundamental changes in my life are based on my faith. So here we go. I’m going to read you the Gospel, but I just want to get to those of you that have never read the Bible, don’t really know what the Gospel is and certainly don’t practice any faith.

I’m stealing this from Father Richard Simon. The Bible is like the best soap opera ever and I’m the biggest loser ever because I still record DVR or whatever you call it nowadays, ‘Days of Our Lives. I’ve been watching that soap for 30 years! What I used to think about the Bible when I was not faith-filled 5 years ago at all, zero, was it was just a bunch of ‘thees’ and ‘thous’ blah, blah, blah, and quite frankly, I would want to poke my eyes out if anyone made me read the thing. And amazingly, it’s quite the contrary.

It really is applicable to today. This isn’t 2000 years ago stuff. It’s stuff that we face today and it’s even cooler that all the biggest sinners like the murderers and adulterers who there back then were exalted to be the best prophets and saints. So it just goes to show how merciful God is and how it doesn’t matter how bad we’ve been in our lives. All we have to do is repent and ask for forgiveness through reconciliation—confession—but that’s a whole nother topic. We’ll get to that another time. Go check out my video on confession.

OK, let me read the Gospel for Sunday, May 6th The Gospel according to John, Chapter 15 verses 9-17:

Jesus said to his disciples:

”As the Father loves me, so I also love you.
Remain in my love.
If you keep my commandments, you will remain in my love,
just as I have kept my Father’s commandments
and remain in his love.”

”I have told you this so that my joy may be in you
and your joy might be complete.
This is my commandment: love one another as I love you.
No one has greater love than this,
to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.
You are my friends if you do what I command you.
I no longer call you slaves,
because a slave does not know what his master is doing.
I have called you friends,
because I have told you everything I have heard from my Father.
It was not you who chose me, but I who chose you
and appointed you to go and bear fruit that will remain,
so that whatever you ask the Father in my name he may give you.
This I command you: love one another.”

So here’s the deal. Before I found my faith, I really thought I loved people and I always compassionate. The whole reason that I pulled together the Compassionate Culture community is because of the love and the compassion and the charity that I feel for people because of faith. It was funny. I was talking to my brother and he says to me, “You know, Kendra, why don’t you just cut out the religious part of it all and just go out with your message about leading with compassion?” And I said, “You know what, Sean? It doesn’t work that way. If I didn’t have my faith and I didn’t build that relationship with God, he wouldn’t have graced me with this abundant love and this joy.” Joy is in this Gospel twice. It is such a small word, but it is so much grander than happiness and it’s not fleeting. It can only be found in God.

So when God chose me, He graced me with faith, number one, because I wholeheartedly believe in it and He graced me with joy and peace. Peace is not in this Gospel, but boy do I have a sense of peace knowing that I can give it all to Him and trust that He is going to help me day by day, but I didn’t get there like that (snap).

I’m telling you, the first couple times I went to Mass, I was clueless. All I was concerned about was when I should stand, kneel and say the right things. That’s how I started and God slowly worked on me. It was a process and your process, your relationship and your experience is going to be completely unique to you. I’m just sharing mine, but I really want to get to the benefits part of it.

What actually happened along the five years of my journey? In the beginning of the journey, I was just going along kind of through the motions. I didn’t even really realize that the Eucharist was the living God and that at Mass we were preparing to receive Him and all of that. That did come to me pretty quick in the in the beginning. Then I started understanding that everyone has a cross to bear and we all have our own issues and problems in this world. And I am no better than the guy across the way from me, the homeless person on the street or the President of the United States. At the end of it all, I am another child of God just like every other human being on this planet.

But I didn’t have that epiphany and just all of a sudden love everybody like Jesus.

In the beginning of my journey I was so judgmental. For example, I would see someone walking down the street and I’d be like, “Oh my gosh, look at what they’re wearing!” then after I would say it I would want to eat my words because immediately I thought, that’s not very Christian of me. I’m supposed to love thy neighbor as thyself. That means everyone. People I like people, I don’t like, people I know, or just standing in front of me. No matter what, I need to love them.

And then maybe a year or so later my heart was growing softer and God was growing in me. So those thoughts would come into my head, but I was able to control my tongue. While I didn’t say out loud, “Oh my Gosh, look at what that chick is wearing!” I thought it, but I didn’t say it. And I thought that was a pretty good step, right? OK, at least I’m controlling my tongue now.

And then more time passed, I don’t know how long it was, maybe like a year. It was then when I realized when I’m looking at people, I’m not thinking, “Oh my gosh, look at what that chick’s wearing!” instead I’m looking at that person in her uniqueness saying what a beautiful child of God she is.

Sometimes I have those judgemental thoughts, don’t get me wrong, but they’re fleeting. They come and they go, and now I just look at people with love. So love one another as I have loved you, can only be given to you through God, by His grace. Uh and I didn’t even know what the grace of God was because I had no relationship with him. And I thought I was happy back then. I thought I had everything … along with stress, anxiety, sleepless nights and worry. All of that plus little snide remarks, judgmental comments and a big judgmental attitude. Let’s face it, I was really compassionate with the people I liked, but not so much with the people who weren’t like me or didn’t agree with me or the ones that I didn’t know.

I only received that grace of compassion from God and that is why I left my executive career to get out in the world and share this. It’s like the best secret ever! Although there are a lot of people out there who already know the secret! And it is not a secret—this culture just makes it appear so…

Joy—another grace from God in this Gospel. You see joy everywhere during Christmas. It’s such a small word. I really didn’t think much about it, but now I know what it is now. It’s not happiness on steroids and it’s not a fleeting thing. Joy is rooted in the love and the relationship that you get with God through faith and quite frankly through the beautiful sacraments of the Catholic Church. Every time I receive the Lord in the Eucharist and every time I go to confession, I am cleansing myself and He is entering me. He’s pruning me. Last week’s Gospel, was “I am the vine—you are the branches” which basically means you can do nothing without me—period. And if you are with me, I will have you grow and bear much fruit and I’ll prune those not so good spots of you and you’ll continue to grow and grow and bear more fruit.

Otherwise, if you don’t want to be with me, you’re going to be a dead branch. I’m going to cut you off and oh, by the way, you get thrown in the fire. We all know what that means, right? You get thrown in the fire, you’re going to hell. You’re going to burn unless you’re with me. That’s a little heavy, but at the end of the day I get it because I now truly have seen, have felt and experienced God’s graces and I just can’t get enough!

But let me also confess to you over the last couple of months I was 100% task oriented, I’m a human being, I am not perfect. I was all about the book, publishing, editing, designing, the website, speaking engagements, promotions, redo videos, etc. I was putting in 15, 16, 17 hours a day and my husband was getting a little miffed at me saying, “Can you please shut that laptop down? It will be there tomorrow.” But it was such a passion for me that I kept focusing on getting stuff done.

So, where do you think God fell on that prioritization list for about a month and a half to two months? He got so low, I was still getting up in the morning and I would start to pray on my laptop and then all of a sudden facebook, instagram, linkedin, and then an email would come. I would just say, “Oh, well, I’ll just respond to that real quick and then I’ll get back to my reading.” I wasn’t really dedicating much time and then it got to, “Oh, I don’t have time to go to daily Mass today.” So, I rationalized that I would watch Mass on TV and was watching it half way while I responded to emails. And before you knew it, my prayer life started to suffer.

Guess what happened next?

I started to freak out. I was worrying. I had sleepless nights, total anxiety. I had no patience. I was starting to get short, you know, and I realized, wait a minute, what am I doing? First of all, I’m doing this for God. I need God to help me with this because I clearly have no idea what I’m doing. I know what it’s like when I start my day with God and I and I see him throughout my day and I recognized him when I spend time and I thank him. Man, those are incredibly rich days. They are days that I am bursting. That’s the joy bursting out of body and I cannot wait to get out into the world and show people what real compassion is and a soul that is filled with God.

Well, I wasn’t doing that and to my spiritual director’s credit, Father Caliente, said I can do nothing without God. That’s the root of Catholicism. You’re there with Him every step of the way. And oh by the way, HE should be the one in the driver’s seat. So while I was crazy with my life, I had my smartphone. I had the GPS (God Positioning System) on, but it was on mute and I threw it in the passenger seat and I just kept driving. When I got lost and every now and then I’d look over and ask Him, “Where do you want me to go? OK, I’ll take a left here,” that’s it. Well, now the GPS is on full blast in the driver’s seat and I’m in the passenger seat looking over to Him, asking Him, “How do you want me to live my life?”

The Gospel tells us the way in which we need to live. That last commandment, love one another as I have loved you. You can’t have God’s love without God. You can’t. You can’t love the way that you’re supposed to without knowing God’s love. It’s so incredibly different than the love that we have here between us human beings. That’s why I call it the Compassionate Culture. I don’t think love does it justice. We have so many different levels of love in the English language. You could say, I love your shoes. I love my puppy, I love God. Well, are those all equal? So compassion to me is deeper rooted because it also has that empathy for people that have stuff going on in their lives and that’s every single one of us. Addictions, marriage issues, child issues, work problems, illness. I mean it goes on and on. You know every single person has problems going on in their lives. Can’t we be just a little bit more compassionate towards each other and love one another as Jesus loves us?

That’s the point of this community and … goosebumps central … that is the Gospel that I start off with and I want us to live this week. Love one another. Go to God. Ask Him, “Hey, you know I don’t know what I’m supposed to be doing here. I don’t know the first thing about this Catholic stuff, but you know what … I’m opening my heart. Will you show me the way?”

Show me—squirrel moment. I went back to my notebook to make sure that the word was ‘show’ and not ‘teach.’ Show people how to live the Gospel, not teach people how to live the Gospel. Show because I need to do it, too, I need to live my life in God’s way. He is the way, so if I’m not living it, but yet I’m telling other people to live it—How does that reconcile itself?

So it’s hilarious to me that the word show was there. It was more funny than anything to me because he’s funny. I laughed and said, “Oh, I got that one, I get it, I get it, God.”

So that’s the deal this week. Love and ask God to give you that love and to give you that joy and to build that relationship because that is the way to true peace and happiness.

Alrighty, I can’t wait to hear how this works. I’m going to get out there more with some facebook live videos sharing my week with you. If you haven’t already—“Like” me on my facebook page, you can see me there—that would be awesome.

And please share with everyone even if they aren’t faith-filled—everyone can use more love and compassion in their life. I want to build this huge momentum and community WITH YOU. I think we could ALL benefit from this.

This is a WE thing. It’s a Him thing. I’m really trying not to make this about me. I promise. That’s why I sit with Him and I pray before I sit in front of this camera so that I can humbly show how I’ve stumbled and fallen and also how beneficial it is when I look to him to say, “I’m sorry can you help me get back up again and love everybody as you love me?”

So let’s rock at this week. Have a blessed and inspired day!

P.S. I promise to make these shorter—I got carried away on this one! 🙂

Kendra Von Esh

Kendra Von Esh is a Speaker, Faith Coach, and Author who has a passion to help others to deepen their relationship with God and the Catholic Faith.

1 Comment

  1. Kendra Von Esh on May 7, 2018 at 10:08 am

    Already today, I feel as if I am bursting out of my skin with love. I feel as if I must go out and be in the world so people can see what true joy is and so I can show them true compassion and love. A great way to feel on a Monday morning! Thank you God!