Show the parts of this page some love, please:
What Is Christian Spirituality? > Spiritual Fruit > Loving
love : I'd be a fool if I tried to define love. I can point you to its source, and say "God is love". I can point you to Jesus on the cross, and say, "this is what love does". I can point you all around, for signs of God's love. I can point at you, and have you think about those you love, and those that have given you love. And I can point to Paul, in what he wrote about love in his letter to the Corinthians. All this should be enough; leave the rest for the dictionary folks. Now, go do it.
"If love is the soul of Christian
existence, it must be at the heart of every other Christian
virtue. Thus, for example, justice without love is legalism;
faith without love is ideology; hope without love is
self-centeredness; forgiveness without love is self-abasement;
fortitude without love is recklessness; generosity without love
is extravagance; care without love is mere duty; fidelity
without love is servitude. Every virtue is an expression of
love. No virtue is really a virtue unless it is permeated, or
informed, by love (1 Corinthians 13)."
---- Fr. Richard P. McBrien, *Catholicism*.
The most fundamental thing about our relationship with God is love. God's love for us. The command, to love God with all that we are. God's call is to love our neighbors as we do ourselves. The Lord calls on us to love those we would much rather furiously consign to flaming hell or worse. The follower of Christ must always keep in mind that nothing is so important in and of itself that there is a reason not to do it in a loving way. Love is complex in the human beast; it sometimes means the end of relationships, the forcible protection of one against the unloving acts of another, or a labyrinth of questions about friends and lovers. Love makes us thirst to learn, stops us from jumping to conclusions, or silences us from making rash statements. We speak of being love-sick, but it is love that makes us well. Love is so central to existence that there are many imitators, many pseudo-loves and wanna-be-loves, many covers we've developed to protect us from real love, or to prevent love from causing real contact between us. The best inspires many superb imitations. But there is no substitute.
> Who is my brother? <
That's a lot like asking "who is my neighbor?". In Luke 10, Jesus turned that question around by telling us to be a neighbor to others (v. 37). Same with 'brother/sister'. The more important question with brethren is not how to define who is/is not my brother/sister. That's a conflict-creating idea that can too easily turn into passing judgement. The real question is how we can be brothers and sisters to each other. For that is what He commanded of us. That doesn't mean our fellowship is without definition -- it means that those who are not brothers/sisters in Christ show themselves to be so by how unbrotherly they are, how they rip apart rather than build up, how they warp what love is, how they lie about Jesus. It is then that the foot must come down, and we say, 'this is not the action of a follower of Christ'.
> how can I get to love my enemies? Should I love
> person, that belongs to the enemy?
God loved us 'while we were yet sinners'. That's not the slightest bit less true of my enemies and persecutors as it is of me. I've tried, but I can't love that way. God has to teach me how, build that ability into me, by putting into me, through the Holy Spirit, the only love that can do it -- Jesus' love. Devotions and Bible study can help make the space for it in your life. But this love is still something you choose to work on with God, and choose to act on, so that this love can also be truly yours as well as God's.
Mentioning all the Spirithome stuff about love and loving would be too hard a load for this page. But here's a cross-section of the main points :
"He who loves not, lives not."
----- Raymond Lull
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|ver.: 28 March 2011.
Loving. Copyright © 2007-2011 by Robert Longman.