For several years, I have been thinking a lot about what it means to love. We are commanded to love God and love our neighbor; yet who really knows what this means? There are so many explanations…books are written, talks are given, it is the subject of meditation for so many people. It is an intrinsic part of our nature, and we cannot rest until we have learned to do it to the best of our ability.
So many people throw around the phrase “I love you” and use “Love” as a pet name. I am not saying that this is intrinsically wrong, but it annoys me. Is it just a word, to which we can put any meaning we choose? Or are there that many different meanings that we can use it is such a variety of ways? “Love” has become a cool slogan rather than a meaningful word to communicate an essence. Then they say “God is Love.” Why do we use the same word to describe both the Creator of the Universe and our relationship with what we ate for lunch? Yes, there are different levels of love. But are some using the word in more of a “false” sense? We speak about true love in many conversations. Yet there is such a misunderstanding of what this is, as well! St. Paul tells us:
Love is patient and kind; love is not jealous or boastful;
it is not arrogant or rude. Love does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful;
it does not rejoice at wrong, but rejoices in the right.
Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. (1 Corinthians 13:4-7)
If you ask me, that is true love. That is the kind of love that God is…the Holy Spirit is sometimes called the “Spirit of Love.” The love between the Father and the Son is so strong that It is a separate Person within the Trinity.
One of my favorite quotes of all time is by Archbishop Fulton Sheen: “All the love in the world is just a spark of the great flame of love that is God.” Each kind of love (familial, friendship, acquaintance, ones enemies, charity, etc.) is just a small reflection of God.
So–doesn’t this mean, that when we say “I love you,” we are communicating that we are seeking the perfection of God for that person?