Love and Be Loved

I have realized in the last two weeks that, if you really want to annoy people or scare them, you don’t have to stand behind doors until they pass by. You don’t have to pull gigantic pranks in thier room. You don’t have to plan elaborate hoaxes. All you have to do is love them. It never occured to me how scared and annoyed people get when you love them. And, conversely, I don’t think these people realize how much it hurts when they don’t respond.

My philosphy on life is quite simple. I love to love people. If I can take away someone’s hurt and make them smile for just a fleeting moment, I feel that I have conquered the world. Mother Theresa once said that if you love until it hurts, there can be no more hurt, only love. How true! In a time when suffering and pain is so prevalent, it’s easy to find people who are hurting inside. They don’t show it, most of the time. And you don’t have to step out of the confines of Christendom to find these people.

We are taught here at Christendom that we are all called to evangelize and bring people to Christ. This doesn’t have to wait until we all graduate from here. Yes, there are people out there who need love and God, but we aren’t out there yet. There are people around us right now who are hurting and lonely and who desperately need love. They don’t show it. It’s hard to see. And it may be that our nieghbor on the hall is the one hurting the most. These are the people to whom we should be reaching out most. These are the people who need prayers, hugs, and love.

I think that people underestimate the power of love. Love is such a simple and beautiful thing. It’s so selfless and giving. That’s the point of love: to give, as Mother Theresa said, until it hurts. And sometimes it does hurt to give, especially when people respond with coldness or annoyance. But, it’s also probably many of these same people who need the love.

It’s humiliating to admit to pain and dependence. We are creatures of habit, and one of our most fundamental habits is the desire to be in control. We are not. God loves to make that painfully obvious. But, when people are hurting, sometimes these people find it very hard to let someone love them. They don’t want to open up; they might get hurt. I know people who have this attitude. These same people get annoyed when you go out of your way for them or for others. They look at you funny and they respond negatively. It’s called rejection. Not on a grand scale, of course, but all the same it’s rejection. And Christ dealt with it constantly in His life. He died a violent death just to get people to love Him, and people still responded coldly.

So, I come to two conclusions. First, a command. Love! This comes not from my lips, but His. He said so many times in His life, “Love one another as I have loved you.” When you are walking to class, say hello to the person walking by. When you are in Mass, pray for the guy sitting behind you. When you see someone upset, at least tell them you are praying. Love is at the same time an emptying of yourself and a filling of your soul. While emptying your self of sympathy for others, God is at the same time filling you with immense and powerful grace.

Secondly, another command. Be Loved! It’s okay to let people love you. The people who want to poor themselves out for you do it because they want to show that they care. But more than that, these people want you to feel love. It’s a fundamental way of communicating — probably the most fundamental way of communicating. You can’t see it, but when you refuse love, that cuts deep. So, accept the hugs and little acts of service. The giver just wants a smile.

“Love one another as I have loved you.” Let go and reach out. Accept the reaching out. When you reach out to others, you are reaching out to the Christ in them. And when you accept love from others, you are accepting Christ in those people. Love and Be Loved!

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