Lenten Reflections on Love – Week II

Week I          Week II           Week III          Week IV          Week V          Week VI

Photo courtesy of Education for Justice*

Photo courtesy of Education for Justice*

Let us put ourselves in St. Paul’s shoes for a moment and explore possible meanings behind his description of God’s love as being patient and kind. A good source for interpreting Paul is Pope Francis in his apostolic letter, The Joy of Love (Amoris Laetitia). According to Francis, one is patient who “does not act on impulse and avoids giving offense.” Patience does not mean weakness, rather “God’s ‘patience,’ shown in his mercy towards sinners, is a sign of his real power.”

When we demonstrate patience, we express a love that is strong and muscular. As Francis says, “Being patient does not mean letting ourselves be constantly mistreated, tolerating physical aggression or allowing other people to use us.”

Furthermore, he notes that, “We encounter problems whenever we think that relationships or people ought to be perfect, or when we put ourselves at the center and expect things to turn out our way…Unless we cultivate patience, we will always find excuses for responding angrily. We will end up incapable of living together, antisocial, unable to control our impulses, and our families will become battlegrounds…Love always has an aspect of deep compassion that leads to accepting the other person as part of this world, even when he or she acts differently than I would like.”

According to Francis, Paul introduced “kind” to “make it clear that patience is not a completely passive attitude, but one accompanied by activity, by a dynamic and creative interaction with others. The word indicates that love benefits and helps others…love is ever ready to be of assistance.”

In the coming week, let us take a few moments and reflect on these two concepts of love. If we take Francis’s thoughts on “love is patient” to heart, might we want to show compassion for the other—a family member, an acquaintance, or even a political figure, that we feel enmity towards and shift our views to “accepting the other person as part of this world, even when he or she acts differently than I would like.” Might we pray for their well-being? And if we have a chance to follow-up on “love is kind” might we undertake a charitable act to demonstrate our active pursuit of God’s love?

-Written by parishioner Roger Sullivan

Next - Week III

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