Friday of the Fifth Week of Easter
“For greater things you were born.” (Ven. Mother Luisita)
FRIDAY, May 6th Jn. 15: 12-17 “It was not you who chose me, but I who chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit that will last, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name he may give you. This I command you: love one another.”
- Love is perhaps the most misunderstood and misused word in the dictionary! Let us prayerfully consider how we can grow in love as commanded by Jesus Himself!
- Saint John of the Cross said, “In the twilight of our life, we will be judged on love alone.”
WHAT LOVE IS AND WHAT IT IS NOT by Fr. Ed Broom, OMV
One of the greatest spiritual literary masterpieces ever penned on the topic of love is from Saint Paul in his 13th Chapter to the Corinthians. At weddings, this is often one of the favorite second Readings in the context of the Nuptial Mass. If the couple, as well as all of us, would seriously read, meditate, and strive to understand the true import and meaning of these few verses, without a doubt, the understanding we have of Love would be radically transformed. And of course, as a consequence, the way we strive to live out this most demanding virtue would change.
We would like to extract four short verses from I Corinthians 13, Verses 4 to 7 and expound upon and explain these few verses related to love.
“Love is patient, love is kind. Love is not jealous, it 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 wrong-doing, but rejoices with the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, and endures all things.”
Saint Paul, obviously led by the Holy Spirit, was truly inspired to highlight characteristics of charity or supernatural love and its concrete application. In a word, love/charity is not a mere ephemeral sentiment, or passing emotion, or transitory romantic glimmer or smile. Quite the contrary: supernatural love that is termed in theological language charity is very demanding. According to the Angelic Doctor, Saint Thomas Aquinas, it is indeed the greatest of all virtues!
This being said, we would like to simply list the terms of what love is and what it is not according to Saint Paul and give a brief explanation of these words, with the hope that all of us would have the audacious courage and trust in God’s grace to put this sublime virtue into practice in our daily lives! Off we go!!!
1. LOVE IS PATIENT! Are you patient? Examine your life specifically in three basic areas related to patience. Are you patient with God and the way He deals with you in your life? Or do you question and rebel against God’s providential designs? Next, are you patient with others, especially those with whom you associate on a daily basis? Or is your attitude and philosophy: “It’s my way or the Highway!” Finally, are you patient with yourself? By this is meant, when you fail, do you give in to discouragement or rise from your fall and start anew? Examine yourself on patience in these three areas!
2. LOVE IS KIND. If you do not really understand the whole concept of being kind or kindness, we offer you the antithesis, the opposing vice, and that would be the demeanor of a Mean Person. Such a person is often bitter, angry, sharp, sarcastic, calculating, touchy. Contrariwise, the kind person exudes joy, mercy, compassion, a winning smile. A kind person is tender, loving, and supportive. A kind person will not judge, criticize, and condemn but overlook quickly the faults and limitations of their brothers and sisters.
3. LOVE IS NOT JEALOUS. A jealous person tends to compare themself with others, and as a result, is never really at peace with themself. Jealousy and envy are related. Jealousy can be explained thus, when a person feels bad because someone else has something that they do not have, feels bad because of this lack in their life. Envy is worse! The envious person rejoices when something bad happens to this person whom they think has more than they have! The opposite of jealousy and envy would be fraternal charity—to will the good of the other. Saint Paul expresses this perfectly: “To rejoice with those who rejoice and to weep with those who weep.” (Rom 12:15) Another manifestation of the opposing virtue would be that of admiration. You do not resent your neighbor for the good things they have, but rather you admire and compliment them.
4. LOVE IS NOT POMPOUS, NOT INFLATED. Both the words pompous and inflated can be united as one. Such a person is proud, self-seeking, conceited, a braggart, self-aggrandizing, ostentatious, as well as demeaning and disparaging toward others. Also, such a person is egocentric and wants to be the focal point of attention. They want at all times and places to be, so to speak, the life of the party. Possibly the best image from the animal world would be that of the Peacock—strutting around to show off their plumage, to show off their radiant colors so that all can see! The contrary is the person who is soft-spoken, modest, unassuming, hidden, never over-bearing. They seek the honor of others rather than their own honor.
5. LOVE IS NOT RUDE. We all have met rude people and possibly have given into being rude ourselves. What are the qualities of a rude person? The rude person is pushy, can never wait, cuts in line, elbows their way to the first place, and is a perpetual complainer. In traffic the rude person will cut you off, and if you make a mistake driving, they will let you know by honking their horn like a New Year’s parade! A rude person is uncouth, vulgar in speech, coarse, and bloated in self-importance. Maybe we have given into the attitude of being a rude-dude to the detriment of our family and work environment. The opposite is a gentleman or a lady. Such a person is courteous, gentle, refined, soft-spoken, polished, and well-mannered, at home and everywhere else.
6. LOVE IS NOT QUICK-TEMPERED. By quick-tempered is meant that such a person has a very short-fuse. They explode at the drop of a hat. Anything—person, place, thing or circumstance that does not flow and harmonize with their particular criteria can cause them to go into at least a minor rage. The quick-tempered person blurts out whatever comes to their mind without a moment of reflection, and consequently can do irreparable damage to themself, to their family, to their relatives, and to countless other people. Their impulsive, impetuous, explosive, knee-jerk reaction to all that is not according to their tastes, or their standards, is like living or associating with someone who has firecrackers in their back pocket with matches ready at hand! The opposite is a patient person who is capable of suffering bad language and insults, even physical sufferings, in silence by uniting themself to Jesus in His Passion and sufferings.
7. LOVE DOES NOT BROOD OVER INJURIES. The person who broods over injuries has not learned how to forgive; they have not understood the importance of the greatest virtue in the Heart of Jesus—that of MERCY! The opposite of brooding over injuries is forgiving those who offend us right away and from the heart. It is putting into practice the prayer of Jesus in the Our Father, in the petition, “Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us.” Jesus is our most sublime example, especially as He hangs on the cross and from the depths of His loving and Sacred Heart cries out: “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they are doing.” (Lk. 23:34)
8. LOVE DOES NOT REJOICE OVER WRONGDOING, BUT REJOICES WITH THE TRUTH. Love and truth must work and collaborate as a total whole. A person motivated by true love will never call sin, virtue; nor wrong, right. Impossible! Love is honest; love is sincere; love is transparent and not murky. Love will strive to correct wrongdoing. This is called the virtue of fraternal correction. Upon seeing someone in sin or moving in that direction, a person motivated by love will have the courage, the honestly, and the zeal to try to bring the wandering sheep back to the fold, back to the flock, back to the arms of Jesus who is the Good Shepherd, especially of the wandering sheep.
9. LOVE BEARS ALL THINGS, BELIEVES ALL THINGS. In bearing all things, we are called to contemplate Jesus in His Passion as He carries the cross bearing the sins of all of humanity, from Adam and Eve down to the last person in the world, including all our sins. If a person loaded down with trials, tribulations, afflictions, and contradictions of all sorts, lifts up their eyes to see Jesus carrying the cross weighed down with the sins of the whole world, they will be strengthened. Praying and meditating on Jesus’ patient endurance of the cross for our sake is a powerful motivation to imitate the Lord and His infinite love. By believing all things, we call to mind the modern classic of the Secretary of Divine Mercy, Saint Faustina, Divine Mercy in My Soul. One of the hallmarks of this classic is that of believing Jesus in all of His words and promises, trusting Jesus in all times and places, summarized in these five simple but most profound words: JESUS, I TRUST IN YOU!
10. LOVE ENDURES ALL THINGS. One of the key virtues of the followers of the Lord Jesus is that of enduring all things; another way of expressing this is the virtue of perseverance. Jesus Himself stated: “He who perseveres until the end will be saved.” (Mt. 24:13) Using an image from sports, Saint Paul states that not all of the runners in the race, in the marathon, will win the race, only one. We are called to be that one in the Heart of Jesus. Saint Alphonsus Maria Liguori insisted upon the importance of enduring until the end with the concept of final perseverance. As we conclude our essay, let us prayerfully meditate upon the words of Saint Alphonsus with regard to final perseverance: “The grace of all graces is to persevere in the state of grace.”
Finally, let us beg the Blessed Virgin Mary, she who is the full of grace, for this supreme and most exalted of graces: to live in grace, grow in grace, persevere in grace, and die in the state of grace, so as to attain the crown of our greatest reward—Heaven for all eternity!