IF we are truly in love, it should show, it should be felt, there should be fruits and other effects that simply sprout as it passes. The problem we have is that often this character of love appears true only when the love involved is of the romantic type. Outside of that, love is a nobody, a nonentity, an unmissed missing element.
This is sad, because love just cannot be confined in that territory. By its nature that is also reflected in our own objective human nature, it is meant to be pervasive, of a universal scope, abiding, although it can express itself in many and in fact endless different ways.
This is something hardly known yet by many people. Plenty are those who think love is mainly a matter of feelings and passions, a result of cumulative likes gathered from the field of sensible, material, physical and worldly considerations. It's carnal love, more than anything else. Love's spiritual roots and orientations are left practically unattended.
It's little wonder then that this kind of love often does not last long. It cannot keep its music playing all the time. It is tied only to the ebb and flow of the emotions, moods, whims and caprices of the parties involved. It can swim, it can sink, depending on the prevailing tide of the environment. In short, it's not reliable.
We need to realize more deeply that love has sources, principles and causes that precede the mere bodily dynamics of human attraction. They serve as premises and requirements that give fuel, meaning and direction to our love.
These sources, principles and causes boil down to God himself who is our Creator and Father, and who in his essence is love himself, Deus caritas est, as we have been reminded by St. John.
Since we are made in the image and likeness of God, and in fact, made children of his, meant to participate in the very life of God, we have to understand that we have been created in love and for love. In short, we are meant to be in love, driven by love in fact, but a love that is based on God and lived with God.
I am afraid this is a truth that is hardly known yet by many people. We actually cannot love unless we love in and with God. It is only this love that is proper to us, the love that can go on, irrespective of circumstances and situations.
Remember what St. Paul once said: "Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends..." (1 Cor 13,7-8) It is this love that should imbue all manifestations of our love, whether for wife or girl friend, for country, work, friends, etc.
This love can come to us only when we obey the commandments of God. Again, St. John tells us clearly, "This is love, that we follow his (God's) commandments." (2 Jn 6)
This means that we have to study the doctrine of our faith, enter into vital relationship with God through prayer, recourse to the sacraments, sanctification of our work, development of virtues.
We need to see to it that this love is not only theoretical or intellectual. It has to filter down to the practical, and has to involve our body, and everything in itâ€”our feelings, passions, yearnings, etc.
Are we drawn and attracted to God the way we are attracted to food when we are hungry, to TV and other forms of recreation when we are tired, to money when we want to buy something?
Our attraction to God should pass through the human heart. It should not just be a matter of knowledge and of some formalistic exercises of devotions and other acts of piety piled up one on top of the other.
Our problem sometimes is that even for those who profess to be good Christians, our love for God and for othersâ€”they always go togetherâ€”is only made alive more in the mind and in the intentions, and less in deeds, no matter how little these deeds are.
And so the anomaly will just show in time, if not soon, then later. The inconsistency will just appear. We have to involve the heart, the feelings and the passions, in our love for God and others. We have to incarnate that love, fleshing out the impulses that come from God's grace.
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