Friday, July 1, 2011
My Attempts at Explaining Love
Epistle: Eph. 3:8-12,14-19 [St. Paul's mission to preach the love of Christ.]
Gospel: Jn. 19:31-37 [The Piercing of Christ's Side.]
Full Latin-English propers here.
For as long as civilization has existed, man has struggled to describe love. From awkward young lovers just cutting their teeth in the world of romance, to those who have been married for decades, people feel love, but can't describe it. How can anyone wrap words around love? How can anyone understand love? What is love exactly? Love is a grace from God that moves you to sacrifice yourself for the good of another. Love does not seek any enjoyment or good times, but the greater good of the beloved. The one who is infatuated and lusts seeks to gain happiness from being with the other person. The one who loves on the other hand, seeks to give himself so that the other can have the best life possible.
This is how God designed marriage to work. You don't choose your spouse based on their ability to give you happiness. You choose your spouse based on your desire to give yourself so that your spouse might have the best life possible and God was the One who ignited that desire, since it is a grace from Him moving you to the Sacrament of Holy Matrimony. Note this all-important distinction in those two desires: infatuation seeks to gain, whereas love seeks to give. That is the difference between human emotion in the former and Divine grace in the latter. One major effect of this is that in love you are able bear the other's offenses and seek to correct them, since you seek their good, not your happiness.
Since love is a grace from God, only God then can explain love. You can't understand love unless God reveals it to you. You can't describe it unless God gives you the words. It takes a grace to explain a grace. St. Paul tells us today that his mission is to preach the love of Christ. The only reason why St. Paul (or anyone else for that matter) was able to describe love is because love was revealed to him by God. Today we celebrate the largest revelation of love in the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus. Today we see Christ on the cross, His Heart broken by a lance, give all of Himself so that His Bride the Church might have a better life. In this we see the most perfect example of love. In this we see the exemplar for all married couples. This is the exemplar for all forms of love. Christ loves His Bride, but she ran away into sin. Her sins wound Him. He gave all of Himself in sacrifice to destroy those sins so that He could be with her in a better life. That's all love wants: is to be with the beloved in a better life. Love is willing to give himself entirely to make it happen. No pain is too great. Love puts up with the greatest pains for the sake of the beloved. Nowhere do we see this more clearly than in the Sacred Heart. I could talk forever trying to explain love, but you can't really understand love unless you dive into the Sacred Heart and swim around because He is Love Itself; the clearest expression of Love, which we are all to imitate.