Saturday, May 29, 2010

The Act of Love

You ask me a method of attaining perfection. I know of love - and only love. Love can do all things.

-- St Therese of Lisieux

Love can be tricky sometimes in life.  It starts out as an instinct toward parents and then quickly becomes a raging inferno in adolescence.  If you are lucky you grow and learn to love your friends and your annoying family members for who they are.

I made the interesting choice to ask for the spiritual gift of 'understanding others' at my confirmation. "Let me understand others, so that I can love more," I said.  I am still trying to do that, but it has it's faults.  I find when I am trying to understand others, I naturally love them and feel concern for them.  I don't forget people or faces, I see them and I pray for them.  This can be a real pain because often if love is openly expressed to people who do not or have not regularly experienced it, they are really put off.

I take their hesitance in stride and learn from the way I decided to approach my dad as a teenager.  He did not grow up in a household where there was (I would say any at all) affection.  Knowing that, I decided that if I did not demand he let me hug him, then I wouldn't get initiation from him.  After about 20 years he started hugging back!  He is an extreme example, but if we were to inspect households more closely, we would find there is little affection and thus little communication of love.

Hugging is a very simple and physical means of affection, but I think it shows the lack of love in our world.  When I threaten my 8th grade students, I threaten to HUG them.  Most of them quell at the prospect and immediately pay attention, and as the year progresses, those that most need love get hugs as punishment from me.  I can tell they need that affection and attention because they then pay attention after I pay attention.

Love can be tricky, it's not always welcome but it always permeates every area of your life.  It is a necessity to express the love of God, to show love to others.  Sometimes I feel like I wish I could be colder and not care so damn much, but I try to remember that I must love here on Earth so that I may understand the immense love that Christ showed on the Cross.

Check out this article on the Holy Trinity:Gift and Call to the Communion of Love