People may think they know the storyline of your life by judging its externals: you're a single Dad, or a widow; you have a chronic disease, or you lost a child. According to society's standards, your life may have all the makings of a Shakespearean tragedy, - "a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing." Maybe you've cried enough and raged enough to believe that's true. That society is right. That you're too battered and broken by incomprehensible tragedies for life to ever be more than a sad struggle.
But you have the power within you to make life beautiful. Meaningful. Joyful. Because you have the power to invest each moment with meaning, each special relationship with incredible joy. You have the power to assert that your life is not a tragedy but a triumph.
You have the power to take down walls and dare to love again. You have the power to say "no" to addictions and face the sadness that sends you straight into the arms of addiction to escape it all.
You can choose to triumph, to rise instead of sink, to weep fully, to love fully, as both are the joy and the price of being human.
Life is a triumph when we can savor every small pleasure as the glorious gift it is, can realize that God promises to give us life, life to the fullest, and life can be found and treasured anywhere and everywhere.
I savor those moments that my mother and I wink at each other as I feed her. She has little speech left, so each exchanged wink speaks volumes of shared love and the joy of each other's presence. I remember holding tight to the joy each time I hugged and kissed my son the last year of his life, realizing how precious each warm, soft touch was because it could be the last. And, one time it was - but he will always be my much-loved son, a gift.
The gift is the mere fact of our existence. No one can take your life from you, no scientist can yet create the rare wonder of a human life. Even if those we love die, no one can take memories from you; they are yours to possess, making you rich as any King or Queen.
Your inner attitude towards your life is yours alone to create. Plunge deep into your deepest, truest self, and meet God there, united with your soul, ready to empower you to live your life to the fullest. Let your eyes caress the living art of sunrises and sunsets, your backyard tree, the wings of the birds splashing madly in your birdbath. The wings of a plane flashing high across the golden face of the sun.
Listen to the bright liturgical notes of children's and teens' voices as they lazily bike and zig zag on skateboards down your street. The whisper of a relative or friend saying "I love you" in your ear. The mournful wail of a train whistle, beckoning you to take a trip. The glorious sonata in a concert hall or the blues and jazz in a bar, holy as any hymn an angel ever sang.
Taste pierogis and quesadillas, lasagna and corned beef and cabbage - manna from Heaven. Taste infant's kisses full of warm formula. Lick melting ice cream cones. Lick the salt off your upper lip as you sweat lazing on the beach.
Smell your husband's spicy aftershave, sacred as incense. The lush perfume of lilacs, orchids, roses. The pungent smell of your wet, frisky dog.
Hold your world, every inch of it, close to your heart, the bitter-sweet of it, the rough and smooth of it, every moment fresh from God's hands to you. And love it all, be thankful, because to be human is to live life to the heights and depths and know it for the miracle it is. And that's the story's triumphant end - recognizing and embracing the miracle. Birth to death. And life beyond.
Who are your best friends, the ones you hang out with the most? Family members? Neighbors? Your work friends? Your Church group? Are they all people of roughly the same age, the same race, the same sexual orientation, the same political outlook? Do they have the same faith tradition as you?
Or, do you also go "outside the safe walls" of people like yourself to look for friends? Do you humbly realize that others who are different from you can liberate you because they have much to teach you? And Love to reach you?
Jesus had family, he attended synagogue and temple regularly, so he had friends there, and he had his twelve apostles and numerous followers, both men and women. But he regularly, on his own, went outside this group of observant Jews to make outsiders his friends.
Jesus told a parable about a good Samaritan because he knew Samaritans. Jews despised them and stayed away from them. Jesus talked alone to a Samaritan woman; men didn't talk alone to women then and they often don't talk alone to women now, lest people start talking. He healed a Samaritan leper. He healed a man possessed by demons who, instead of living at home, lived naked among the tombs, "dead" to his family and community. He healed the slave of a Roman centurion, although the Romans were the hated Occupation Force. Finally Jesus became the Ultimate Outsider himself, murdered like a criminal outside the walls of Jerusalem, the political and religious capital of the Jewish people.
Jesus sought out the outsiders, but not only to help or save them. So often we think "helping" or "saving" is enough. But no one likes to be seen as the object of "help." No, being only an object of help dehumanizes us. As the photo above says, "If you've come to help me, you're wasting your time." Jesus made friends of the people whom he helped and saved because it is only in the equal give and take of a friendship that both people can grow, can be liberated from preconceived ideas and stereotypes. Can be mutually healed. Can understand what it means to be loved for oneself.
The poor, the Samaritans, the mentally ill and possessed, the women, the lepers, the centurions, - these were the people who gave Jesus a sure and steady love when his own - the Pharisees - disowned him. These friends enlarged his human experience so he could speak passionately in their favor. They liberated him from the narrow concerns of the community of Jews who were his family and friends from the temple and synagogue. He was willing to be humiliated and scorned because he knew that he and the Father were one, and that God, often scorned and rejected by His own people the Jews, always spoke out for and protected the poor and the outcasts.
Today the church "St. Paul Outside the Walls" stands within the modern city of Rome but outside the walls of ancient Rome, a symbolic tribute to St. Paul, who took the Christian faith beyond the temple and synagogue, and outside the walls of Jerusalem, to the many lands of the Gentiles - the non-Jews. St. Paul understood that to "be Jesus" is to have humility, and humility means stripping oneself of pride, of thinking one knows everything, of thinking that "your kind" is the measure of all things. "Jesus "humbled himself" (Philippians 2: 8.)
Paul humbly saw the Gentiles with open eyes and an open heart so he understood that they, too, were meant to have the Gospel preached to them.
Paul understood that "this is God's way, the way of humility. It is the way of Jesus, there is no other. And there is no humility without humiliation...In the end, humility means service. It means making room for God by stripping oneself, emptying oneself." (Pope Francis.) It means entering into the Passion of Jesus, being an outsider to welcome all to the circle of God's embrace.
Even we who are Christians are so used to a society that only loves its own, only reveres wealth, status, and success, that we find it hard to understand Jesus. As Pope Francis says, "We will never get used to a humble God." Understanding Jesus will take our lifetime!
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What makes you value yourself? Other people's compliments? Your job evaluation? The love and approbation of your family and friends? Would it surprise you if I told you that all of the above is essentially worthless for giving you reasons to value yourself?
If we find our value in externals - people, events, and things, like jobs, - then our feelings of self-worth can never be stable or securely grounded. We are living out of others' perceptions of us instead of the reality of who we are. We are dependent on forces outside of ourselves to tell us who we "should" be. How can we truly be ourselves then? How can we keep ourselves from falling apart, falling into depression and self-hate, when others withdraw their love, support, or affirmation of our decisions?
When we seek our value outside ourselves, we can become destructive. We can become territorial about the people who are "ours" or the job that is "ours." We can think we are being "helpful" when we are really protecting our own self-interests to consolidate our position in other people's lives. The external opinions and ego-stroking of others has become our distorted self-portrait.
Here are the real reasons you should value yourself:
- Value yourself simply because you exist. Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel knew how tender and fragile as a new green shoot our very life is. He lost much of his family during the Holocaust. Knowing to his depths the mystery and wonder of simple existence, he said "Just to be is a blessing. Just to live is holy."
- Value yourself because you are the only one of you in existence. And you exist for a reason. Rabbi Heschel, knowing that he was a survivor of genocide and other family members were not, observed "I want to know how to answer the one question that seems to encompass everything I face: What am I here for?" He didn't ask himself "What do my family and friends think I exist for?" Or "What does my Boss think I exist for?"
- Value yourself because God has created you and a spark of the Divine lives within you. You are not you alone. You are united with God. And God knows what you're here for.
Archbishop Oscar Romero put his life on the line every time he spoke on the radio in El Salvador. He knew that the poor, the common peasants, listened. But also the corrupt politicians, the rich businessmen, the military and their death squads listened to him with cold, murderous hatred because he reminded the peasants of their rights, urged them to demonstrate in spite of the death squads that were mowing them down. One radio speech sealed the Archbishop's death warrant:
"No soldier (member of a Death Squad) is obliged to obey an order counter to the law of God....Cease the repression!"
A day later he was dead, murdered as he celebrated Mass.
Romero found his value and his purpose in his unity with God: "Beautiful is the moment in which we understand that we are no more than an instrument of God..."
When we know our value lies in being a special loved child of God, a simple instrument of God, then nothing is as important to us as the fact that we're always secure in God's faithful love. Nothing is as important as asking God each day what He wants us to do with the unique, wonderful talents He's given us.
When our value, our self-image, our identity comes from within, we can love everyone without strings. We can be compassionate instead of seeking adulation. We can be simple instruments. We can truly be free to be ourselves. And we truly experience the steady inner joy and peace of God because His opinion of us is the only one that matters.
Have you ever cried in front of somebody and apologized for crying? Do you think that if you cry over something, that means you're weak? Or that you don't have enough faith or trust in God?
But we should never have to apologize for our tears.
When I cry, I feel so helpless. I can't control what's happening. All my inner walls have crumbled and my naked heart is on display for myself and others to see. There are a million reasons to cry but always the same result: naked vulnerability.
Yet, isn't it better to be nakedly vulnerable than to live protected in unyielding, untouched, unforgiving armor? Aren't tears also harbingers of healing? Can't tears be a sign of strength rather than a sign of weakness, a sign that love's precious roots grow deep into our being and that, for love's sake, we will suffer and endure?
Some people's lives are trails of tears. That doesn't mean they give up on life. Leanne Simpson is a member of one of the Canadian First Nations - the Indigenous peoples. She is a member of the Nishnaabeg nation, and a renowned writer and activist. Recently she published a collection of short stories, "Islands of DeColonial Love," which depict the lives of ordinary First Nations people - in cities, small towns, on reserves. All are trying to balance living loving, observant lives while struggling to survive being marginalized, and suffering the endless grief of injustice and racism.
Yet these are not hopelessly broken people. As one character says "Still, I am not tragic."
We are only tragic if we make ourselves into victims, using our suffering as an excuse to withdraw from life and responsibility.
Faith does not anesthetize us against feeling suffering or grief. Faith gives us the depth of heart to experience all the joy and pain of being a human being fully engaged with life. Faith walks us through the dark forest of grief till we get to the healing clearing on the other side.
Recently a dear friend told me about a woman in her congregation whose son had died. At the time of the funeral, she'd suddenly felt God very close to her, comforting her, and, this woman told my friend, from that moment forward, she hadn't cried.
"But tears are good for you," I said. Then, realizing that this was a faith issue, I added "Jesus cried. Jesus cried out of grief when Lazarus died. Jesus was both divine AND human."
My friend did a quiet double-take. This particular Scripture verse - "Jesus wept" - had never really impacted her before. How often, we forget that Jesus was like us in all ways but sin, and that included grieving wholeheartedly. He wept for love of Lazarus. He wept as he struggled in the Garden of Gethsemane with his knowledge of his impending death, his freely chosen destiny:
"In the days when he was in the flesh, he offered supplications with loud cries and tears to the one who was able to save him from death." (Hebrews 5:7.) Our fragile bodies cringe at the thought of suffering even as our trembling souls realize that suffering is unavoidable. Jesus' fragile flesh cringed from suffering and death.
Still, Jesus was not tragic. Any more than we are when we fall to our knees and scream and weep and then get up and lift our cross again. The depth of our tears is the depth of our love, the depth of our obedient commitment to being human, to numerous sacrifices for love. Jesus cried and wept, obedient to what it means to be fully human, fully alive. Then he chose to love us to his death, so that he and we would have eternal life.
Sometimes I am so confused by what's going on in my life that I don't know what to do, or how to pray. Sometimes I have to make a decision, and both choices have pros and cons. Sometimes I'm confused and upset because two people whom I love are arguing and have told me two completely contradictory stories about a situation, and I have no idea whom to believe.
Or a situation is so complex and mixed up that I don't know if I should step away from it or step into it and both choices look like emotional suicide.
Life is messy, no two ways about it. Messy enough to have us groaning in frustration and afflicted with headaches. And when we're wandering around in a fog, it not only seems impossible to act, it also seems impossible to pray. What can I tell God about this? What should I be asking God for when I don't understand what's going on or what I should be doing? Our souls feel weak, as if we have chronic spiritual anemia.
But God has given us Someone to help us by praying for us - God's Spirit Who lives within us. And the Holy Spirit tells us, first of all, not to despair over life's messiness. No, we should hope! Hope is the hand we hold onto to lead us through the darkness of confusion. For, if we understood what was going on, if we could see the way clear ahead of us, we wouldn't be hoping!
Yes, God the Holy Spirit prays for us to the Father. It's as if we say to Him "Look, I don't know what to say. YOU say it for me." And then we can relax. The Holy Spirit knows us intimately, every thought, word, action, and concern of ours. The Holy Spirit knows what we need - what the situation and people we're concerned about need.
And, soon enough, if we wait patiently, the Holy Spirit gifts us with the fruit of prayer: the knowledge and strength we need to take the first step out of the darkness of confusion. And then the next. The courage and patience we need to wait upon the Lord as He works for the final resolution of all that troubles and concerns us.
We can thank Jesus for the consoling Presence of the Holy Spirit. Jesus knows how confusing and messy life is; he lived through it with us. He knew we'd be in over our heads if he left us to fend for ourselves when he ascended to the Father. So - he asked the Father to send us the Holy Spirit, that leaping Flame of Love, the Person Who IS the love between the Father and the Son, to stay with us and protect us always, to give us courage, to give us hope.
The fire of the Holy Spirit first leads us to believe in Jesus, and then lives within us to keep teaching us, to keep reminding us of all Jesus has said to us. The Holy Spirit is the One Who showers our dry hearts with spiritual gifts of faith, love, patience, mercy.
The Holy Spirit laughs with us, struggles with us, weeps with us, speaks for us, always in union with us. And as the Holy Spirit intercedes with the Father for us, the Spirit is groaning in solidarity with us at the limited, messy, transitory nature of our lives. Groaning with us as we hope for an end to confusion and arguments and disease and separations. The Holy Spirit is that hand of hope we hold onto in the darkness. The hand that will pull us onward into the Light of joy, the drying of tears, the final Spring of the eternal renewal of our bodies and souls in Heaven.
"Now hope that sees for itself is not hope. For who hopes for what one sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait with endurance. In the same way, the Spirit comes to the aid of our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but the Spirit itself intercedes with inexpressible groanings. And the one who searches hearts knows what is the intention of the Spirit, because it intercedes for the holy ones according to God's will."
-Romans 8: 24-27.
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How I wish we all had a thousand rolls of specialized Gorilla tape (Better than duct tape!) to use over our inner, self-deluding mouths.
Because to say to ourselves that we're not in competition with anyone anymore isn't quite true. To say to ourselves that we don't at times yearn to be better than - you name the person - isn't quite true. All of this is wishful thinking, pretending that we are no longer prey to those insecurities and envies and depressions that afflict everyone. Yes, everyone - even the greatest saint among us!
Do you know how we can be better than the person we were yesterday?
By promising to not hate ourselves. To not hate ourselves even though we still have these insecurities and envies in spite of all the other ways we've grown up. To not hate ourselves for pretending that we DON'T yearn to be better than that other someone. To not hate ourselves because, after all that praying and church-going, we're still not perfect!
Once in awhile, it doesn't hurt to kindly laugh at ourselves. Which is why I love that Stephen Sondheim classic song - "Send in the clowns. Don't bother, they're here."
We can be a better person today than we were yesterday by being compassionate towards ourselves and accepting ourselves just the way we are. We can honestly recognize that we're both amazingly wise and discouragingly foolish, heroically loving and secretly selfish, maturely self-confident and immaturely self-doubting.
I know I am a mix of wise and foolish, loving and selfish, self-confident and self-doubting, and I'm seventy-one! Just think, I still haven't got my life straight at seventy-one!
But I admit that I know it and God knows it so we can talk together about my life without pressure or game-playing or my hiding from God.
We're all complicated, neurotic, self-absorbed, and wonderful, loving human beings, on a gradual journey with God to wholeness, and we're going to get there, but it will take a lifetime. If we can't accept that truth about ourselves, then we can't accept it about anybody else.
But we constantly have these inner mouths (that need Gorilla tape!) going, nattering away at ourselves in a judgmental play-by-play of every situation as if we were the movie director of our lives. We need to detach ourselves and mentally step back from our life situations and mentally watch ourselves, listen to our real motivations, without either judgment or prideful self-pity. Once we admit what we're REALLY thinking or doing, we can quietly address this in ourselves - by loving ourselves, accepting where we are now as God does, and allowing God to love us, move us, and change us, in God's good time and God's good way.
The thing is, IF we can admit to ourselves that we're a bundle of contradictions, - and wonderful, loving human beings - and give ourselves permission to be on a gradual journey with God to wholeness - then, my friends, we can admit this about others and give THEM permission to be bundles of contradictions and wonderful, loving human beings on a gradual journey with God to wholeness too. We can stop accusing and deriding THEM for not being perfect!
This is what it means to love our neighbors as we love ourselves: gently, compassionately. This is why Jesus was so angry at the religious leaders who were ready to stone a woman to death for adultery; they were so judgmental because they had never really examined their own hearts, or been honest with themselves about their own struggles with sexual faithfulness.
Love yourself and in this way be better tomorrow than you were today. And tell yourself to go easy on the prickliest, most judgmental persons you know. Because they, poor, sad, people, haven't learned to love themselves yet.
"In and with God, I can love everything and everyone, even my enemies!"
- Fr. Richard Rohr
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The older I get, the more I realize that I can never really predict what's going to happen next in my life. I may make my plans, but as my Puerto Rican friend Carmen says, "Si Dios quiere - 'If God is willing.'"
If God is willing. We wake up each morning and have no idea what the day will bring, because sometimes our plans get turned upside-down and inside - out. It all depends on what God plans for us. Sometimes we enjoy the interruption. Sometimes we're aggravated. Other times, we're very upset.
You might get a sudden frantic call that a grand-child has missed the bus and needs a ride to school. Or a relative has taken ill and needs a ride to a Doctor's appointment or emergency room. Or you're on the way to work, your car is rear-ended, and you're spending the morning talking to a police officer and exchanging insurance information with a driver who swears he got blinded by the rising sun. Or a friend calls you in the evening and wants to talk right in the middle of your favorite T.V. program.
Every time our life veers off course, we have a choice: we can stay preoccupied and frustrated because we can't accomplish what we planned to accomplish, or we can "stay in the moment" and find out what opportunities it brings. What a nice opportunity to visit with a grand-child on the way to school. Or to relish comforting and taking care of a loved ill relative. Nobody enjoys a car accident. But what an opportunity to learn patience and fortitude.
Which is why I make it a habit to say a Deacon friend's prayer to God each morning: "Speak, Lord, your servant is listening." This Scriptural prayer reminds me that I live not to follow through on MY plans each day, but to listen to God so I will follow through on GOD'S plans for me every new day. And as willingly as possible!
And I try to be thankful for all the interruptions God sends me - all the PEOPLE who provide the interruptions. Because all the unexpected situations and people provide the freshness, the newness, the challenges, joy, energy, and growth which God is offering me. If I only listen. If I'm really present to what is happening. Even during the unpleasant and frightening times.
Thankfulness can come more easily to us in every situation if we remember "to remove our sandals before the sacred ground of the other." (Pope Francis.) When Moses came nearer to look more closely at the Burning Bush, His God within the Bush told him "Remove the sandals from your feet, for the place where you stand is holy ground." (Exodus 3:5.) How thankful we would be if every time something unexpected throws off our plans, we would remember that these new events are holy ground, because they contain God within them. These people entering unexpectedly into our lives - friends, relatives, strangers, - are holy ground because God lives within them.
The more we approach each event in our lives as holy ground, the more closely we will pay attention to what is truly happening: the look on another's face; the crack in another's voice; the changes happening in our life and another's life; the life-changing conversations that can happen if we are open to another's heart, another's joy or pain. The wonderful creator of fairy tales, Hans Christian Andersen, said "If you looked down to the bottom of my soul, you would understand fully the source of my longing and - pity me. Even the open, transparent lake has its unknown depths, which no divers know."
God trusts us with every moment He gives us. He trusts us to offer Him ourselves as instruments of love, peace, joy, and understanding for the unexpected people and situations which He chooses for us to encounter. The holy ground He offers for us to enter. If we walk willingly, thankful for His gifts, listening to His Voice, God will lead us, like Moses, across the Red Sea of our fears and frustrations and interruptions into new inner freedom.
Nobody - including me - is ever understood and accepted by everyone. There is always that one person, or group, who singles us out to ridicule us or reject us. And then we cry, get angry, and secretly wonder what's wrong with us that we've been treated so coldly and cruelly.
The rejection hurts excruciatingly more when the person who rejects us is a family member or friend. And a very cruel form of rejection is when this family member or friend betrays us. How can we ever recuperate? How can we feel lovable again?
When our hearts are broken by rejection, it's good to remember that God has made a covenant with each of us that's stronger than a marriage covenant. God promises to love us forever, to be faithful, to never leave us. And God understands rejection. God's people rejected Him over and over.
Hosea the Prophet experienced the people of Israel turning away from God and worshiping the false idols of the pagans and disobeying God's commands by being cruel to the poor. Hosea pictured God as being as hurt and enraged by His people's rejection and betrayal as a rejected husband whose wife has committed adultery.
Yet God's love for His chosen people is so deep that He speaks of leading His unfaithful wife Israel into the desert and speaking to her heart, hoping she will listen. And, in hope that His people will return to Him, God says
"I will espouse you to me forever; I will espouse you in right and in justice, in love and in mercy; I will espouse you in fidelity, and you shall know the Lord." (Hosea 2: 21 and 22.)
A God who has been rejected over and over by those He loves understands our anger and hurt when we are rejected! Our God tells us, over and over, "I will espouse you to me forever!"
What relationship can be more beautiful and intimate than a relationship with a God Who loves you as deeply as a husband or wife! You can tell this God anything, sound off, vent, cry, and, day or night, God hears every word, feels every tear.
This same God later became one of us. And once again was rejected and betrayed and condemned to death on a cross. Jesus, whose people rejected him, whose friends - except for John and the women - ran away and hid so they wouldn't be captured - can look into your tear-filled eyes and say "I understand. And I love you. Always. With as committed a love as a spouse can love you. I will espouse you to me forever! Come to me."
In the arms and heart of the rejected Jesus, we are safe, and loved, and understood, and prized forever. By his wounds, we are healed.
I don't know what she's thinking - or if she's thinking. Who knows what dementia leaves behind when it ravages a mind? But she smiles at the artificial flowers on her shabby chest of drawers and says "MMMM good" when I feed her something she likes. And she relaxes when I kiss her forehead and simply, silently hold her hand. Recently, this one hundred year old mother of mine smiled at me and said clearly "I love you so very much." We can't discuss teaching and favorite authors and grand-children any more. But Love fills the gap between us.
I don't know what it's like where he is. I don't even know what he looks like any more. Or how he thinks or feels. I take it on Faith that he is alive; I can't believe my son Peter's life, so very vibrant, could be over. I flinch inside when I drive past the intersection of his old street, past the Knights of Columbus Hall where we held his Benefit, past the Funeral Parlor, or near the Church he was buried from. I tremble inside when advertisements for Roswell Park Cancer Institute play on the T.V. Terrible, tragic, memories awake and shrivel my heart. Then I remember his arms around me and hear his laughing voice in my ear, and somewhere inside I hear him singing. For now, Love has to fill the gap between Here and the unknown There where he's still singing, eternally in love with music. Love fills the gap between us.
I don't know if he's lying or telling the truth. He stands leaning against the wall of the Towne Restaurant downtown and somehow our eyes catch and linger. He speaks quietly "I'm hungry, I haven't had food in the house for a few days. Could you give me some money I can spend at the store around the corner and get me a cup of Java?" Paul offers to take him inside and buy him a meal but he shakes his head. He doesn't have the practiced air of some con artists we've met; but who knows?
Now my husband's and my eyes meet and Paul opens his wallet and hands the man some money. He is so grateful: "Thank You! God bless you!" I look deep into his eyes and say "God bless YOU." What I want to say is "Please - please - don't use this money on drugs or booze!" He takes off around the corner and I think that Love has to take over, love has to build a bridge from our souls to his, build a lifeline, if not now, perhaps later. God's Divine Spark lives in him and in us and we are brothers and sisters of the same Heavenly Father. For now, whatever this stranger chooses to do with our gift of Love, Divine Love has to fill the gap between us.
I can look at my life and shake my head because I don't always see any tangible results of my loving. Sometimes my Love seems so weak, so half-hearted, so grudgingly given. Sometimes my love seems unable to fill the gap between people who no longer speak to each other.
But Faith tells me, that in the end, Love is a Person - God - and God is the One I give in every word, touch, action. God - Love - fills the gap between all people on earth, between the living and the dead, between the alienated who are at war with each other, between the sick and the well. God is Perfect Love! Love accomplishes all things because it patiently endures all things and will triumph over all things. We will not see until eternity what every loving gesture of ours has accomplished, no matter how half-hearted or feeble. Here we take it on trust that God fills the gap in the amount of love we expend. God stretches our love and molds it and warms it and deepens it - so that always, always, "LOVE NEVER FAILS!!" (1 Corinthians 13:8.)
Mary C. Weisenburger