Monday, March 20, 2017

To Love Another

If I speak in human and angelic tongues but do not have love, I am a resounding gong or a clashing cymbal. And if I have the gift of prophecy and comprehend all mysteries and all knowledge; if I have all faith so as to move mountains but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give away everything I own, and if I hand my body over so that I may boast but do not have love, I gain nothing. - 1 Corinthians 13:1-3

What does love really mean? We throw it around casually, saying "love ya!" in a quick text or the end of a phone call; we talk about falling in love and about loving our pets. But what is love at its core?

Jesus says that love is the most important thing we can do. The greatest commandment is to love God, and the second is to love neighbor. What it means is that this should be our most important priority. But really, do we do that day-to-day? How do we go about it?

A friend summarized the importance of other people like this: if you're sitting in front of me but there's a million dollars right next to you, you are infinitely more valuable and worthy of my attention than the money. He made a good point, and it's a thought I come back to as I'm working to prioritize love in my life. Our lives should be devoted to each other, not to possessions or thrills or passions. We were made for relationship, and we need to care enough for each other that nothing pulls our focus away.

Time spent for another is never time wasted.

How many times do you run late and a friend stops you to say hi? How do you respond? If you're like me, it's usually a quick "hey" and you keep walking fast, or maybe even, "I'm running late and can't talk." Really, that's not much better. Isn't a friend more important than walking into a meeting 20 seconds earlier? Even if it's not a friend, loving the person who is reaching out to have an encounter with you means slowing down, looking them in the eye, and giving them the attention they deserve.

What did Mother Teresa tell us?

Spread love everywhere you go. Let no one ever come to you without leaving happier.
Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love. 

mother teresa, st. bernard's madison
Love does not live on words.
Love is proven in deeds.

Another way we can think about loving others is to follow the words of Luke 6:30:
Give to everyone who asks of you.
I was struck when I read this recently. There are no conditions placed on that statement, and the word "everyone" makes it pretty clear that our neighbor includes every person we encounter. Yet it seems so overwhelming to give that much. It's a verse worth pondering. We can give our time and attention, our prayers, our material possessions, and even our lives for someone else. Jesus gave a great example, it's up to us to follow.

Medjugorje, No one has greater love than this, John 15:13

The next time you're distracted during a conversation or running late to a meeting, take a second to notice the person in front of you, and show them even a tiny amount of love. It could brighten their day...and yours!

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