I used to pray “Lord, please do not let me die without having really lived and really loved.” But how is it to really love? I do not know. Sometimes asking the question is more important than finding the answer. I was brought up knowing that God is love and that alone and no other must be the yardstick upon which love should measure up.
The thing is Love is not earned. I didn’t have to deserve it, God loves me anyway. I didn’t have to be hard-working for it, God loves me anyway. I didn’t have to want it, God loves me anyway. I am gifted by Love with love, both to give it and receive it.
I have always been fascinated by the crucifix. When I was younger I found it to be dramatic and I didn’t understand why it had to be. I used to have the notion that love without the drama is not love. But I blame the soap operas I grew up watching for that. Now I am able to contemplate the cross and see beyond the image. Behind the sacrifice, the passion, and the death is the mystery of the kind of love Jesus taught by example. The kind of love that sets free, the kind of love that gives life. The kind of love I want to learn to give.
Do I deserve that kind of love? No. But one fateful day God decided He will give it to me, because He wants to, because He loves me. I don’t fully understand it and something tells me I don’t really have to…
Am I as loving as the man on the cross? I don’t think there will come a day when I will be able to answer yes to that. I believe that kind of love, the kind of love that sets free and gives life is inimitable. But I know I am called to love with my all and I know that it is possible. Today, I am light-years away. Nevertheless, the fact that I am made in the image and likeness of God, who is Love Himself, means there is no limit to my capacity to love. How loving I want to be depends entirely on me. God created me capable of loving. And what a gift it is! Not so that I will love Him, but so that in my life, I might find meaning.
Now I pray “Father, teach me to love like you love that I may be free of the world’s concept of what love should be about. I want to love by heaven’s standards. Amen.”