Wednesday, March 13, 2019

What is Love?

Paradise by the Dashboard Light - GLEE Version

What is Love?

People die -- but so far, not my people. I am untested in grief.

What if someone close to me dies and I don’t cry? What if I believe they have cast off the mud-caked overalls of this life’s reward-less toil and are cleaned up for a rockin’ party with Our Lord and the saints in a better world?

Do I have an obligation to feel sad?

What if they live far away and the impact of their death on my day to day life is lightly felt? What if I don’t cry? What if I don’t notice much? Does that mean I do not love them?

Theologians tell us that love is not an emotion.

If love doesn’t prove itself through feelings, though, how does it prove itself? When I tell my family members I love them, is it true? Am I lying to them? How would I know without consulting my feelings?

The Light Switch Theory of Love

On or off. I love you or I do not love you. You love me or you do not love me. Pass or fail. (See video above.)

Is there any rubric for grading? A study guide? As we like to believe of all religious tests, this is certainly graded on the curve anyway, right? Right?

"Love is a verb, not a destination." -- my daughter, age 20

Saying “I love you” isn't indicative of a completed process from which one can move on to other challenges and pursuits. "Now that I love you (check that one off the list) I can work on something else, maybe learn French or join a canasta club."

Saying “I love you” is, itself, an Act of Love -- an act of building love, of giving love, of loving.

“O my God, I love you above all things, with my whole heart and soul, because you are all good and worthy of all my love. I love my neighbor as myself for the love of you. I forgive all who have injured me and I ask pardon of all whom I have injured.” -- The Act of Love, a traditional Catholic prayer

When you say this prayer to God you aren’t producing a finished product. I love you, God. Done. Saying the prayer is in itself an act of creating and giving and growing in the ability to love God.

In this way, you become what you say.  Imagine the effect of unloving words.

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