Take a Break for Faith Podcast Transcript
Take Five for Faith monthly meditation podcast–Love.
Welcome to your Take Five Monthly Meditation. This month’s theme is “Love.”
Let’s begin with a story called “A Love Letter” that will help us settle in.
Collecting stuff did not mean a lot to my mother. She was easily able to downsize her possessions when she moved herself into a retirement complex at age 80. Once she started, she never looked back. She took great delight in giving away trinkets, jewelry, statues, curios–and in the stories that went with them.
After her funeral, as we emptied her apartment, my brothers and I remarked how few mementos she had hung onto over the years. So I was surprised when I came across a box of cards and letters we had written to her when we were children. There was one from me from around first grade. A simple red Crayola heart enclosed the words “I love you mom.” I signed my name in pencil smudging some of the letters. The fact that she had saved it brought a tear to my eye.
Like a mother’s love, God’s love conquers all, even death itself. Nothing we possess, not even the most precious memento, can come close in value.
We’ll move more deeply into our theme of “Love” with a reflection on the profound meaning of the word.
We use the word love so easily, so casually. The word love, like the word God, has had its wild edges rubbed off from common and daily use over centuries. Yet love, like God, is a thing of unimaginable complexity, a subject to spend a lifetime wondering at openmouthed; and God’s love, the extraordinary and mysterious force that drives everything that is, demands far more of a response from us than the gratitude we offer on days when things are going well for us.
Real love, deep love, holy love, invites and suggests responsibility. It means care and stewardship. It means growth, and allowing that which you love to freely find its best self. It means no constraints and no expectations, flowering and joy, attention and attentiveness. In short, it means all those aspects of love that God sings insistently to us, and that we are called on to reflect, with all our energy and might, as long as we live.
That is, very simply, what we are about as Catholics. Deluged and suffused with the love of God, a love so thorough and selfless and unyielding that God offered the Son to bear and heal our sins, we become agents and messengers of that astonishing love. Our task is both simple and difficult: to love the Christ in every man and woman and child, to see and savor the pulse of God’s love in everything that lives, to find and focus our unique and extraordinary tools and talents on hunger and despair, poverty and illness, injustice and apathy.
An easy task? Hardly.
Nothing harder could be asked of us, really, than to love he who has injured us, to love she who has insulted us, to love that which grinds us to exhaustion, to love that vast creation that so often seems cold-hearted and cold-eyed, to rise again in the gray, cold, muddy morning and gird for battle with tragedy and violence and hopelessness.
But to grapple relentlessly–that is love. To keep walking the suffering road–that is love. To refuse to surrender–that is love. To attend with respect to the smallest things, to do your work with care and energy, to let go of that which cannot be borne–that is love, too.
God’s outlandish love calls us to be stewards of all that God has made: all the birds of the air and all the wild animals, says Genesis. Accept the kingdom of God like a child, says Mark the Evangelist, and serve, says Mark again, and that is what we do when we love cleanly and selflessly, we serve; and it is Mark again who tells us that to be great we must be the most relentless servants we can possibly be.
To be Catholic is very often truly to be countercultural–to stand against the tide of popular culture and shout powerfully, Life! It means we must sing everything that lives, as the devout poet William Blake wrote: hawks and wrens, berries and beetles, police and postal worker, swallows and sturgeon, children and colonels, teak and tigers–God made them all, and we do not have dominion over them, we are their brothers and cousins and sisters, we are blood of their blood and flesh of their flesh; we are seeds sown from the same hand and we return our husks when our span is done.
But along that way, we must love with all our soul and all our might–hard work, yes, but joyous work, holy work, the only work.
Let’s continue our brief reflection this month with a meditation that moves us forward.
A prayer to André Bessette, a brother of the Holy Cross order who spent a lifetime counseling and praying for people from his desk at the entrance to his community’s residence in Montreal, says: “Grant us the grace to imitate his piety and charity so that, with him, we may share the reward promised to all those who care for their neighbor because of their love for you.” Love comes from God, and we love others because we love God and find God’s love in our love for others. Speaking of poor people, but in words that describe all Christian love, Catholic Worker cofounder Dorothy Day once said we start by loving the poor for Jesus but we soon love them for themselves and see each one to be special. Today, find God in others and others in God.
We’ll close our reflection with this month’s “Scripture to Live By,” which comes from the first letter of John, Chapter 4, verse 7:
“Beloved, let us love one another, because love is of God; everyone who loves is begotten by God and knows God.”
This concludes our Take Five Monthly Meditation on Love. We hope you have enjoyed it and we welcome your comments and feedback. You can find us at TakeFiveforFaith.com or on Facebook. The music for this month’s podcast is by Lee Rosevere. Thank you for joining us this month and have a blessed day!
The Take Five Monthly Meditation is produced by TrueQuest Communications.