One of the Gospel readings from daily mass last week had some spiritual dynamite in it. We heard from John, chapter 15:
Jesus said to his disciples: "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.... This I command you: love one another."
I remember hearing a story about St. John the Apostle, who in his older days was exiled to the island of Patmos. Legend says the local community would carry him out each week for prayer, supporting his aging and frail body, like Simons bearing a human cross. Then St. John, the last of the Twelve Apostles, would simply say to the crowds around him "Love one another."
A new member of the community grew a little impatient with these seemingly tedious and unoriginal sermons, mumbled softly every week. So he asked if John ever said anything else.
"What else is there to say?" said a woman beside him.
Whoa.... what else IS there to say? If we stop and think about all the nonsense, the bickering, the sarcasm, the anger, fear, lust, laxity and indifference in the world, and asked ourselves what's missing here, what's the antidote to this poison of angst and indifference, the answer would be love. Oh yes it would.
What the world needs now is love, sweet love. The sad thing is, it's the only thing that there's just too little of!
I think sometimes we imagine we know what "luv" is and assume it just hasn't worked. But remember, it's not "Be nice to one another, as I have been nice to you." Laying down your life for someone isn't "nice." When Ben Kenobi took a lightsaber for the team and the Star Wars gang escaped from the Death Star, Luke Skywalker didn't yell "Ben! That was so nice of you!" He just yelled "Beeeeeeeennnnnnn!!!!!"
I'm learning about this real love more and more each day. Marriage is teaching me this in a very real way. Marriage is a school of love. And this can be a messy classroom. More like a workshop actually. I'm learning that I can try to love on my own, using my own tools, but I'm a greedy guy and a selfish one. I think the power tool is always the way to go, but sometimes love just needs a hammer and a nail, if you know what I mean.
When my attempts at real love fail, I turn to Jesus. Here's the source of Love. When I sit with Him, read the gospels in His presence, letting Him slip in between the words of the scriptures, or let my heart get filled up with Him in the Eucharist.... then BLAM! that power comes too. His power to love.
As Rebecca always says, "It takes three to get married" .... oooo, ponder that one!
I still get in the way, a lot (ask my wife). But I know I must look to Jesus if this love revolution is to be successful, triumphant, victorious! (in me first, then anyone in my vicinity) I think the saints are like love grenades.... boom. They hit those nasty encampments of sin with a dynamo of selfless love, blast 'em with beatific love, and the shrapnel of sanctity goes flying.
Like a peeled orange people look up when real love is in the room. "Who's peeling an orange?" We smell it and know it, and it diffuses so quickly! Faster than the rancid smell of sin. Love is like a fragrant wine. Is this making any sense?
Maybe I should have just said "Love one another?"
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