A Love without Limits: Imitating Jesus Crucified in Daily Life

Jul 21, 2023 | Articles, Living in the World, Suffering with Christ

By Serafina

In the Adoration chapel my eyes behold a crucifix that stands to the side of the monstrance.  On this crucifix Jesus’ body seems to be buffeted by strong winds—His long hair is blown to one side, along with what little clothing remains on Him.  

This crucifix feels dynamic, like the wind itself is raging, screaming “No!”, hurling itself outward at the moment of His death.  Nature cannot be silent at such a sacrifice.  My heart and my mind react antithetically to nature’s fury—all I can offer is profound silence.  

I sometimes find myself holding my breath while gazing at this crucifix.  My mind keeps asking: how did He have the courage to suffer this? To accept injury after injury? To give up everything?

This young man, our divine Savior, was so committed  that He did not put a limit on how far He was willing to go to do His Father’s will.   Fearful, I am sure, but there was no “No” in His response.  His eternal “Yes” encompassed the many insults He bore on that fateful day to His divinity as well as His humanity.  I don’t know which tormented Him more:  to suffer the physical agony of both a scourging and a crucifixion within hours of each other, or the concomitant loss of His dignity, reputation, friends, and mother, all before dying.  So much loss and yet, He still chose to utter, “forgive them for they know not what they do” (Luke 23:24).

Jesus’ love overshadows all our inadequacies.  I never feel more loved than when I remember these words of His.

Unrequited Love Desires Our Response

Author Gary Chapman talks about the five languages of love (i.e., acts of service, receiving gifts, quality time, words of affirmation, and finally, physical touch).  Human love can be expressed in these different ways.   Jesus, the Author of love, seems to have a love language all His own.  No one loves like He loves.  He has gently complained to saints down through the ages of His thirst to love and be loved.  His is often an unrequited love.  

In prayer, Mother Teresa heard Jesus say, “I thirst” while she was traveling on a train to Darjeeling, India and thereby received her “call within a call” to minister to the poorest of the poor.  St. Faustina Kowalska, during Mass, in a vision saw Jesus suffering on the cross and heard Him say, “I thirst.  I thirst for the salvation of souls…” (Diary, 1032).  The mission to promote Divine Mercy became hers.  

It seems that Jesus’ divine calling card is to remind us that we are incredibly wanted and loved through this thirst He suffers.  So much so, that He is not satisfied until He is in relationship with each human being.  This God-man who sits at the right hand of the Father, beloved Son of the Trinity, who basks in eternal glory, still has a yearning—a thirst to love and be loved by souls so much less than Him.  He is waiting for a response from each of us!  

Continuing this contemplation on Jesus’ love, I read His words in John 15:12,This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you”.  It seems Jesus has set the bar impossibly high, but He has proven the task is possible, He has walked the talk. As our elder brother He goes first to show us how to do this.   He believes we can do it, too!

Missing the Mark

Still, I fear I could never completely love like He loves.  It is just not possible for a mere human to do this without divine help. My ability to love is constrained. I am sometimes afraid, and I have limits.  At times I even find myself saying “no” to God.  I confuse my priorities and make poor choices, sometimes choosing the easy way out.  Hunger, fatigue, worries, and ignorance are often the greatest impediments to my ability to love well. Laziness, selfishness, or general contrariness impact my decisions to love, too.  Perhaps, you have felt similarly.

I am barely out of the house in the morning when I miss the mark:  A driver cuts me off on my early commute and I am leveling my own special brand of justice at him (with hand gestures I might add); the lunch line is long at the food truck and mentally I am writing a very poor Yelp review, and I haven’t even tasted the food yet!  My relative shows up for a visit spewing the latest political conspiracy theory and I shut her down tout de suite, wondering if there is some type of therapy or surgery (lobotomy?) that can correct her thinking.  I do not practice His brand of loving at times.  

Jesus’ words don’t suggest that I can pick and choose who to love; He says, ‘one another’.  That sounds like everyone.  No exemptions, no exclusions.  Does He really expect this?  Does He see the types of people who rub elbows with me daily?  Aggressive, abrasive work colleagues who care little but getting ahead at any price; loud, argumentative family members whose beliefs are freely displayed simply because they are exercising their amendment rights; social media “friends” who type away their hypercritical messages while hiding behind their screens?   Must I find a way to love them all?  Yes, I need to learn to love even in these challenging moments.

The Grace to Walk with Love Personified

My thoughts during Adoration have become “how will I remember to love like this? To love like Him.  How can I even begin? Especially, in the daily grind, especially on those days when it all seems too much.”  

To start, I am going to mentally imprint the image of that crucifix on my heart.  This crucified Divine Lover with the wind-blown hair suffering in extremis through every breath, isn’t going to let anything get in the way of His Heart.  Nothing.  He is Love personified! So, if I really want to be like Him, I need to keep Him always in mind.  That is my ongoing prayer asking for this grace: ”Help me to remember You, to love, no holds barred, everyone, in every circumstance, like You do, dear Lord”.   

Next time, perhaps I will have the grace to smile at that crazed morning driver and let him cut in line, or to say a decade of the rosary while I wait patiently to order at the lunch truck. Maybe, just maybe, next time I will remember to adore Him privately in the depths of my soul while my opinionated relative blathers on about her politics.  

The One who loves without limit thirsts for each of us.  Why not ask Jesus for the grace to help you discern how you can love better?



Serafina’s perfect day swings between teaching loud middle schoolers and finding peace in an adoration chapel. A strong cup of Colombian coffee, a bite of Swiss chocolate, and the music of George Michael are the fuels that keep her going.  A daily Eucharist makes everything possible.


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  1. Linda K Griffel

    Today I think and also have heard about the fact that. we are gently having our cross placed upon our shoulders . Now is the time to hold on tightly and get behind Jesus and follow Him. He said we MUST pick up the cross and follow Him . He carries a lamp to light out way.

  2. Terry Trombley

    I was long ago advised in prayer on an occasion I cannot precisely recall except that the conviction was imparted that “Imitating Jesus Crucified in Daily Life” is not what is actually required of us in our sustained response to Jesus’ acts of Salvation at all. We are each participants rather than mere emulators, as a result of Jesus’ death, resurrection, and acclamation of us to our Father, in the very union of Sonship which our Savior shares with Him. This is the very means by which we are restored to the same consummate union with God that was surrendered by our first parents. It is this limitless communion between the Lover and the beloved which compels us into intimacy with the Triune God and as a result of this imparts the limitless knowledge of Him required even for genuine obedience to Him. This is why all genuine prayer, no matter what the occasion for it, must always be at its heart contemplative in nature. Only in contemplative prayer are the vulnerability and personal intimacy with the actual Object of our prayer, who is God, required. Otherwise, we are constrained to mere evaluation of God which is incapable of revealing the whole truth about anything rather than observation God, which reveals to us even the “expression on His face” in every moment as He regards us.

  3. Honourine

    Loving ones neighbor means not to justify or condemn but to forgive, proclaim God’s Word and speak out the inconvenient truth to stop one from stumbling, not to condone the sin or compromise faith but to portray and project Christ, not oneself, in order to bring others to Christ’s love and to save them from eternal damnation. Pride and ego causes one to fall whereas the lesser, the one that humbles or lowers themselves is always exalted and blessed in God’s love and mercy.

  4. kevin childers

    that is all it takes.

  5. Amber Kinloch

    Hello Everyone – This is a kind reminder to stay on topic with your comments (i.e., no off-focus debates in the comments section). Please maintain a charitable tone as well, recalling that *every* person (virtuous or not) is made in the image and likeness of God and that Christ has shed His Precious Blood for each of them as well as for you and me.

    Criticism of a writer or reader’s points is acceptable. Attacking, insulting, or “shouting” at them (by using all caps) is not. Further comments that ignore these rules will be trashed.

  6. Martha

    Amen 🙏

  7. Andrew

    Enough of this “love and forgive thy neighbor.” We have criminals, traitors, warmongers, psychopaths, sexual deviants, etc. controlling our Country. They must be removed from society permanently to protect our children and families. No love or forgiveness for them, they must be prosecuted quickly according to our Constitution so we can start correcting the serious problems they have caused. God helps those who help themselves, so let us start helping each other by removing the garbage rotting in our Country. We do have laws and cultural traditions to aid us in this new beginning.

    • Cathy Allen


      • Andrew

        Cathy, at some point Christians must use their God given intelligence to see the present level of degradation taking place in our Country. Cultural Christianity is being replaced with the growth of sinful and satanic destructive pleasures. If anyone thinks that this can be reversed simply by loving and forgiving and gradually converting the offenders into good citizens, Christianity will eventually be destroyed.
        God made his limits very clear and all Christians should read the biblical story of Sodom and Gomorrah. I think the ominous parallels to our social decay in the US today are obvious. Actually He will not have to take any action this time since humans now have several choices for their own self destruction.

  8. Faith

    Great article, minus the very blatant politically disparaging remarks. Very subtle, yet extreme points made in regard to the political opinions of others as though the writer’s opinions are correct and the offenders are wrong. Ruined the otherwise great points on being better helpers, listeners and selfless servers of Christ. I truly hope this writer isn’t as critical of opposing opinions in her classroom. I appreciate that the point was in fact to be less judgmental and more loving towards those we disagree with. There is way too much propaganda already among secular society for it to leach into Christian teaching as well. Maybe Christ is calling us to listen more closely as well. God bless.

  9. Phil Matous

    Beautifully written and truthful about all our hearts.


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