It’s All About Love

There is something in us that likes complicated answers to big questions. When we are asking about the key to salvation, we think there ought to be some detailed, multifaceted program to get us there. We think the path to God, or enlightenment, or whatever word we want to give us should involve something big. Something complicated. Something fascinating.

But, today’s second Mass reading, from St. Paul’s first Letter to the Corinthians, reminds us that is it all about love. Jesus already preached this – when asked what was the greatest commandment, he said: Love God and love one another. In his Hymn to Love, Paul gives beautiful commentary to Jesus’ command. Everything else, Paul tells us – prophecy, tongues, whatever – all passes away. I can speak in human and angelic tongues, comprehend all gifts and mysteries, have all faith, give everything away, I can do it all – but in the absence of love, none of it means anything. What is real, what is lasting, what is the key to perfect life with God is love. Love that is patient…love that is kind…love that does not seek its own interests, but rejoices with the truth. “Love that bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.”

We look for complications. We are fascinated by elaborate plans. But it really is quite simple. Love. It’s all about love.

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5 thoughts on “It’s All About Love

  1. found myself humming a little Beatles ditty “all you need is love, all you need is love, all you need is love, love, love is all you need.”

    Might not be all you need, but without it, nothing else matters.

  2. Susan, I am returned to the Catholic Church for one year now after 35 years away. I have prayed, and I have read widel, committed to deepening my faith. One stumbling block is the subject of your post ; love. Do you think this means, “God’s love for us”, or “our love for God”, or both, or something else ? I have a problem with coming to believe that I love God, the way I love my kids. Do you think that means my faith is not “real ” ?

  3. Francis,
    God’s love for us is unconditional and unlimited (and I think the love we experience for our children is, for many of us, the easiest way to understand something of God’s unconditional love for us.)

    But I read this passage as referring to our love for God and each other, rather than referring to God’s love for us (although at some level it is God’s preexisting love for us that is what allows us to love at all).

    Re what you call a “problem “of coming to believe you love God as you love your kids, no, I don’t think it means your faith is not real. I think we demonstrate our love for God by our love for each other. The real challenge is extending the love you have for your kids to all of our brothers and sisters.

    Blessings, Susan

  4. Thank you Susan. So you think the correct way to understand the notion that we should love God, for example as St Teresa would have us do, is to see the love we have for those whom we do love as manifestations of love for God ? I can accept this and benefit from it, if that is the idea. I spent most of my 35 years away actively angry at God (if he existed). I have come to see that my life is a gift from God “so that the works of God might be made manifest in” me. I have felt for God glimpses of the same sort of love that I have for my children, but not consistently. My faith, like everyone’s, is a work in progress. I am, by the way, a lawyer too, since 1983., in New Orleans (Who Dat !). Thank you very much for your prompt and quite helpful response. I’m committed to understanding my faith and you’ve helped. Regards, Francis

  5. Francis,
    Yes, I could see from your e-mail that you are a lawyer. (And I also sent you an e-mail after I responded to your first comment.)
    I do think St. Theresa’s formulation is a helpful one (although not the only way to express it).
    As for your anger – I hope you have taken some time to express that directly to God…both how you felt then and how you feel now.
    And, yeah, we’re all a work-in-progress. 🙂

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