To be loved and to love is at the core of what it means to be human. We are all looking for love. But, how we go about attaining this is very different. St. Francis understood that the human person is "wired" for God; the desire for God is built into the structure of being human. If we desire love and wholeness we need to pay attention to our desires for they are the deepest cravings within us. While desire is the first step to knowing God and thus the way to happiness, it can also be the root of sin and pain. It is probably no coincidence that a high rate of depression and loneliness today relates to the misplaced desires of the human heart. Tragically we often end up with experiences that leave us very hurt.
One of the great gifts of our Christian faith is that Jesus has shown us the way to true love. We have Him truly present with us here, in the Blessed Sacrament, reaching out to us with His love. Let us ask Our Lady, as His mother and ours, to help us to be open to what God wants to give us.
God's love for you is a free gift, it is unconditional. He loves you as you are right now. We have to do nothing to earn this love. Listen to Him speaking words of love in Scripture and realize that they are addressed to you, personally. As you hear God speak, allow the reality of His love for you penetrate your heart.
"I have loved you with an everlasting love. I still maintain my faithful love for you".
"You are precious in my eyes. and I love you".
With such an experience of personal unconditional love we want to share it: We NEED to share it, because love grows by sharing. But how do we do it? Jesus has shown us the way:
"Love one another as I have love you"
"My dear friends , let us love one another, since love is from God and everyone who loves is a child of God and knows God". (1 John 4:7)
But, what does it mean to love my neighbour? It means concretely reaching out to the people the Lord puts in my path each day. It may be as simple as giving someone a smile. Or the Lord may ask us to get more actively involved in working for those who are vulnerable in our society; In all of this the motivation is the love shown us by Jesus. We are told:
"Love is always patient and kind; love is never jealous; love is not boastful or conceited, it is never rude and never seeks it's own advantage, Love does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but finds its joy in the truth".
(1 Cor 15)
How is it possible to love like this? Love is not about feelings. Love is a decision. So it is something we must decide to embrace, a journey we must embark on. However, once we set out, the Lord comes to meet us, since it is primarily His love working through us.
"I shall pour clean water over you and you will be cleansed; I shall cleanse you of all your filth and of all your foul idols. I shall give you a new heart, and put a new spirit in you; I shall remove the heart of stone from your bodies and give you a heart of flesh instead. I shall put my spirit in you. You shall be my people and I shall be your God."
All of us have accumulated hurts and burdens within us which may prevent us from really believing that this can really happen, things which may become an obstacle. God does not want us to be weighed down by them. Spend some time consciously thinking of what is weighing on you and, realizing that He is truly present here, hand them over to Him, here and now.
"Unload all your burden on to him, since he is concerned about you."
(1 Peter 5:7)
This is the path that will bring us to true love and peace. A way of love that will carry us into the fullness and ultimate freedom of life. As we conclude, we rededicate ourselves, all that we are, to the Lord with renewed love. But we are not alone in this. Jesus has promised to send us the Holy Spirit. By letting the Holy Spirit work through us we can learn how to love and receive Love.
"Do not let your hearts be troubled, Trust in God. The Holy Spirit whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything and remind you of all I have said to you."