Hear, O Israel! The Lord is our God, the Lord alone!
Therefore, you shall love the Lord, your God,
with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength.
The second is this: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.
Love is patient, love is kind. It is not jealous, is not pompous, it is not inflated,
it is not rude, it does not seek its own interests,
it is not quick-tempered, it does not brood over injury,
it does not rejoice over wrongdoing, but rejoices in the truth.
1 Corinthians 13:4-6
You know... this morning, before I had a chance to read the readings from today's liturgy, I woke up thinking about the definition of love. I woke up with a sort of need to reflect on 1 Corinthians 13. It is quite obvious to me today that God is calling me to really consider what it is to love, what/who I love, and how I live that out.
This morning Fr. George Montague, SM spoke about what it means to love God above all else - with every part of our being. He talked about the fact that whatever it is we hold as our first priority in life ends up being "our god." So, I considered, "is God always my first priority?" That's a difficult one. Are there times in my life when God is the first priority? I think I can say with some certainty, "yes." However, I can also say with some certainty that sometimes God's glory isn't my first thought.
Then, there's the more difficult question of love of neighbor. This is the whole reason I woke up with love on my mind. Right now, I have many people in my life who are in need of a loving friend. People all around me are attempting to struggle through life's difficulties - some of them quite serious. And I was considering this morning what it means to love them... how can I show the love of God to these friends of mine?
There are some who are just in need of a supportive listening ear. Sometimes I am able to do that. However, more often than not, I can't... because of time, because of the life of a novice, because of a thousand and one other reasons.
There are other friends of mine who actually need distance and time apart from those who are genuinely concerned - me included. While in many ways it's easy for me to separate myself from them (giving them their needed space) but, speaking from a purely emotional point of view it's not easy at all.
Lastly, there are those who can be difficult to love altogether.
Life can be so confusing at times... and so can love. And this is where I am this week. Relative to other weeks, this week has been a quiet one... Classes continue, reading and learning about Religious Life and the Marianist charism continues, and prayer continues. And yet in other ways, this week has been like no other. I feel that my life is fairly calm... and I'm thankful for that. But, there are more people than I care to count whose lives are anything but calm.
And what is my response? To love. And when I feel I just can't love any more? Love anyway.