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I compose and post these articles with only one desire in my heart: to praise God and to offer modest help on your spiritual journey.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

LOVE

We all want it. We talk about it, we sing about it, we may even long
for it. The English language is actually very limited in expressing
love. My partner thinks the term too precious and should only be
reserved for family or committed relationships. But we throw the word
around loosely for everything from the weather, the particular dish we
may be enjoying, to a color on a dress to our dog. Many use it as a
substitute to bid a casual acquaintance goodbye. How many different
levels of love and degree of commitment do we have to the people we
say we love throughout a day, week or month?

As one who has had the pleasure of officiating at many weddings, I’ve
always been amused witnessing a young couple on their wedding day. The
nervous groom with his buddies joking to take off the tension. The
bride and her mother and attendants with tears welling up all around
them. }

This contrasts with those in love celebrating their 25th anniversary
or a 50th anniversary. The “bride” by now projects strength,
confidence, and humor. Her grown children attend to many details as
she sits back proudly observing their command of the situation. The
wizened “groom” is now the one drying tears away. Softened by
hardships they have faced and the challenges they have met. Both able
to recall the many ways they had fallen short in their love. What they
had taken for granted. But now fully understanding how costly love
really is. This displays a comfortable love. A love which has
survived the trials and tribulations of a lives joined.

We talk of “tough love” when we have to face setting down boundaries.
But you really have to be tough to love. Love is not for the weak or
fainthearted. It is demanding and often exhausting. Toughest yet is
loving enough to risk it all by speaking the truth. Not letting it
slide, repressing it or forgetting it. The most common advice I’ve
heard repeated over and over from couples who have celebrated their
silver or golden anniversaries is “don’t let the sun go down on your
anger”. Or don’t go to bed without settling a disagreement or a hurt
word or an overlooked expectation.

There’s nothing like an old couple still holding hands in silence
smiling as they look at two young lovers alone in their bubble. The
young couple will have their eyes opened to the beauty and
difficulties of life in a way that transforms everything. This becomes
the inspiration for much of music, art, and the passion for life. The
old couple are no longer in their bubble. Their world has been
stretched beyond imagination. Able to be more tolerant of differences
their love has expanded their world.

There is plenty of room in such hearts to laugh at the kids playing,
the dog licking their faces, the cat jumping at a shadow. What other
words can you use to describe your favorite dish or dessert? Love just
becomes more and more expansive.

However faith finds expression in our choice of religion or beliefs,
we have a gracious, even lavish God of mercy. As Christians we believe
God paid the ultimate price of sacrificing Himself to be one of us and
then dying for us. Most religions East and West would have us reflect
a loving God who shapes us into the image of His love. May you be
blessed to recognize deep in your soul the delight God takes in you.
This may be difficult if we recognize our sin and shortcomings, but
that is why God is God, love which greater than us. Mother Angelica
once said that our sin is but a droplet of water off our finger
compared to the ocean of God’s love for us. Let your imagination float
with that image.

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