August 6, 2010
Merriam-Webster’s dictionary defines love as “a strong affection for another arising out of kinship or personal ties.” I asked my 7-year-old nephew what he thought love meant and he gave the best answer I have heard: “I honestly have no idea.” It made me laugh partially because of the innocence of his answer, but mostly because of the truthfulness of his answer.
When we think about loving someone, we often have no idea how to explain that feeling. Since we can’t express the feeling in perfect words, we try to express those feelings through actions. The floral world makes a huge living off our attempts to demonstrate our love. There are millions of “how to love” books on the market right now; that a clear indicator of the great desire for people to learn how to love. We desire to find the right way to love our spouse, our children, our parents, our friends and our neighbors. But when it comes to our love for God, how often do we work to understand, express and demonstrate that pure love and joy for our father?
I think divine love is one of the hardest loves to understand and thus requires the most work. I’m guilty of not always putting in the effort to learn how to to better love God - I certainly don’t spend enough time trying to understand how God loves me or even what loving God means. Is it as simple as God loves me and I love him? No. Archbishop Fulton Sheen said, “…divine love is sacrificial love. Love does not mean to have and to own and to possess. It means to be had and to be owned and to be possessed. It is not a circle circumscribed by self; it is arms outstretched to embrace all humanity within its grasp.”
If we look at love not only as a giving but also as a receiving, then I think we will truly start to understand how to build that love through all relationships. Begin by making yourself lovable. Work on perfecting yourself so that those arms will outstretch to embrace you.