LOVE. One word. So challenging. One of the greatest challenges
I believe we have in our North American society is feeling loved. Truly loved. Our daily conversations are saturated with the word ‘love.’ We ‘love’ everything, from our favourite desserts, to a song, to a sunny day and yet, we also say we love the people in our lives. It is no wonder then how we may have a difficult time with this word and believing when someone tells us that they love us. What is love anyway? A feeling? Passion? How can we know love if we can’t even understand it. Many people I speak to find it odd that my favourite Rosary Mystery is the Sorrowful one. However, after I explain that our Lord on the Cross is, for me, the greatest example of love, they seem to understand a little more. Within these five decades are Our Lord’s lessons on what love is: sacrifice, yearning, mercy, forgiveness, but most of all love. When I look at the crucifix and see my Saviour there, I see love; true love, AGAPE; love worth dying for. There is no better example of love than through the crucifixion of Christ. We are thirsty for this love. Perhaps the issue is that we are looking to the people around us to fill the ‘void’ we have within us. We look to material items to fill this void, but only one thing can: God’s Love. His love is true love. His love reminds us daily, if we let it, that we matter and are His.
Not sure if you have watched the series ‘The Chosen.’ If you haven’t, I highly recommend you do. In the first episode, Jesus heals Mary Magdalene. As she is leaving the bar, Jesus follows her calling her name. Thinking he is just another guy hoping to take advantage of her, she walks faster to get away from him. Jesus then recites Isaiah 43:1: “But now, this is what the Lord says-he who created you, Jacob he who formed you, Israel: ‘Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine.” She turns and immediately receives love. True love. Not the ‘love’ that numerous encounters couldn’t fill, but the true love that only God could give.
It is easy to forget that we belong. Despite our best attempts, we all fail at loving and at being loved. Maybe you have even been the reason someone no longer believes in their worth. Somehow, we need to remove the voices in our head that say we are not lovable, worthy, or enough, and fill our minds with His promises. When we forget our worth, we can end up on a path of self-loathing. Forgetting we are His may leave us tired and see us head down a very dark path. When we look to the Cross, pray the Sorrowful Mysteries or read one of the many bible verses, God reminds us of our worth. We are HIS. We are not meant for this world, but for the next.
Many people have difficulty with sacrificial love. We try, but in our weakness, we fail at times. Some see sacrifices as a means to getting the other to do something for them; for example, a husband or wife sacrifices their time for their spouse, only to expect the same from them, and if not reciprocated, resentment from said sacrifice may settle in their heart. While some may sacrifice out of love for the other, it may be taken in a negative way from the recipient. They may think, ‘they are only doing that because they have to.’ Some are unable to see their way out of their hurt and disappointment. But there is a cure. Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross. If we look to others, we may always feel disappointment and the void within us will remain, but if we turn to God, that void can turn to love. Love beyond our imagination. Lauren Daigle in her song ‘You Say’ is a perfect example of the problem of reducing love to a feeling: “You say I am loved when I can't feel a thing. You say I am strong when I think I am weak. And You say I am held when I am falling short. And when I don't belong, oh, You say I am Yours, and I believe.” Our feelings come and go, but God’s love is forever. You are His.