A MORE EXCELLENT WAY: LEARNING HOW TO LOVE
“Love is patient and kind; love is not jealous or boastful; it is not arrogant or rude. Love does notinsist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrong, but rejoices in the right.Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends”
(I Corinthians 13)
When we speak of love, we stumble over the jagged edges of our limited vocabulary. For love is both easy and difficult. It is straightforward and complex. It is as simple as treating one another with dignity; it is as mighty as an army of Christians marching to the heartbeat of God.
- “Love is the strongest force the world possesses, and yet it is the humblest imaginable”.
– Ghandi, Selections
- “I think I understand something of human nature, and I tell you…that Jesus Christ was more than simply a man. Alexander the Great, Caesar, Charlemagne and myself, founded great empires; but upon what did the creations of our genius depend? Upon force. Jesus alone founded his empire upon love, and to this very day millions would die for him.”
– Napoleon Bonaparte
Indeed, the love of God lived out through Jesus continues to build a global network of people like you and me united with no visible ties that bind us and little in common but this uncommon commitment to the force of love that our Lord set in motion.
Yet sadly, within often self-imposed boundaries of love, most of us wander aimlessly. We dance around the distant edges, jostle against sacred moments…catch fuzzy, indistinct glimpses of the eternal only to stumble back to ourselves no wiser in the art of Christian love.
We brush against the hem of love’s rich garment. We touch just a trace of this mysterious fabric of eternity in daily interactions, but we too often take too little away for the living of our lives.
As tender as a child’s affection; as awe-inspiring as a star-filled night sky; as noble as giving one’s life for a friend; as tangible as picking up trash along the roadside in honor of God’s creation; as earth-shaking as God so loving the world “that he gave his only Son”; as wondrously surprising as crucifixion transformed in resurrection, love is camouflaged in a multitude of incarnations.
With all the force at love’s disposal, we have at our fingertips the possibility of heavenly connection within the realms of earthly companionship. And it is this passage from I Corinthians that speaks to the basics of our getting started. It helps us on our journey to slowly learn the gift of practicing the act of love in our lives just as we would in acquiring a new skill. We can and must practice love’s patience and kindness, one step at a time.
And in doing so, we begin a vital movement in a divine direction. So keep on learning how to love. And don’t stop improving how you live!