“I have found the paradox, that if you love until it hurts, there can be no more hurt, only more love.” -Mother Teresa
“To love at all is to be vulnerable.” – C. S. Lewis
“Love is an endless act of forgiveness…” – Peter Ustinov
“To love another person is to see the face of God.” – Victor Hugo
“Love stinks.” – J. Geils Band
It was my Junior year. Boston’s “More than a Feeling” was echoing through the hallways, making the entire Theology wing and the students passing through it have a much more epic class switch.
As I walked to my next class, I noticed the music was coming out of the classroom I was headed to. I originally just thought my teacher Mr. Hogan was playing some good music just because he felt like it. Who doesn’t like Boston, right? Well, while that may be true, that wasn’t the sole reason of playing the song that day.
As the song ended, he informed us that the day’s topic was Love. Before we could respond, he asked a question to the guy sitting behind me. “Jacob, what do you love?” “Pizza.” We all laughed, and Mr. Hogan was a good sport as well. “You LOVE Pizza? So would you eat that pizza if it were covered in ants?” “No way.” “I thought not.” And then the question was posed to us: “So what IS love?”
The difficult, irregular, and beautiful thing about Love is that it is NOT a feeling. There are a few ways to think about this. As Christians, we know that God calls us to Love. But if Love was a feeling, how fair would that be? Is that a reasonable expectation to ask of somebody? “Feel happy!” Well, while you very well may want that person to feel happy, and they very well may want to feel happy as well, if they don’t feel it then they simply don’t feel it and no order is going to change that.
Feelings and thoughts come and go, often without our control. Our responsibility is not to feel a certain way, but to act a certain way. As humans, we have the very special gift of control. Animals are subject to instinct. We have instincts, but are not subject to them. We can think or feel things and then choose not to act on them. That being said… this is where Love starts to become a bit tricky.
Love can be defined as follows: To will the good of another, for the other’s good. Love is an action. And the often annoying thing about actions is that they exist independently of feelings. It’s easy to read all about loving our enemies and praying for them and their wellbeing, but when it comes down to actually doing that, we’re usually like:
When we think of Love, often what comes to mind is something to the effect of a bride and groom and happy ever after. And that’s not untrue! Marriage is definitely an act of Love. But Love isn’t always smiles. Sometimes, Love is very difficult. Sometimes loving someone means telling them something very difficult. Sometimes, Love is informing an agency about a friend with an addiction. Sometimes Love is spending time and energy on somebody who wouldn’t do the same for you. Sometimes, it’s performing an act of selfless service for somebody who doesn’t appreciate it.
Love isn’t easy, and it takes work. And that’s what makes it so special. Nothing in life that’s worthwhile is easy. Jesus Christ – Love personified – reflected this throughout his entire life. His works, passion, suffering, and death were all acts of Love. Time and time again He chose what was good for humanity for our own sake, and set the perfect example for perfect Love.
“Love for a person must consist in affirmation that the person has a value higher than that of an object for consumption or use… It is not enough to long for a person as a good for oneself, one must also, and above all, long for that person’s good.” ~ Pope John Paul II