Faces on Faith: Loving as we should
As I write this I look down from a fifth floor condominium on a beach in Cancun, Mexico, where someone has carved an oversized heart in the sand. I am not sure whether the resort loves us or whether someone is expressing his or her love for another, but it is clear that this sandy message is all about love.
Each year Valentine’s Day affords people the opportunity to express their love for another in some kind of symbolic way: a card, chocolates, dinner, jewelry. Sometimes these simple gestures are meant to make up for the dearth of expressions throughout the year. Sometimes they may be the only time in the course of a year that one actually says “I love you.”
“Love is,” indeed, “a many splendored thing,” but real love is not easy, and definitely not as easy as buying a box of chocolates. Christians believe that Jesus taught us how to truly love, and that kind of love always entails patience, kindness, sensitivity, selflessness, forgiveness, generosity, gentleness, and compassion. As St. Paul tells us, love is never selfish. It does not brood over injuries. It is not rude. It is not jealous. It is not pompous. It does not seek its own interests and is not quick tempered.
To truly love takes a real effort, and we delude ourselves if we think loving is easy. We will spend a lifetime trying to get it right, and if we are smart we won’t wait for Valentine’s Day to tell those we love that we love them, or get lost in empty symbols like chocolates and jewelry. Each and every day is an opportunity for working at being the kind of lovers we were intended to be.?