First fruit: Love
Have you ever thought of love, not simply as an emotion or choice, but as a real Presence; an Original, creating and pulsing its essence through all creation, through all time? And if not, would you dare to imagine a relationship with this Presence called Love?
A good place to start is in Paul’s first letter to the fledgling community in Corinth. If we look at 1 Corinthians chapter 13 and exchange the word “love” for “God,” how interesting and personal it becomes! “If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels and have not God, I am a clanging cymbal…God bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things…God never fails…” a little risky theologically, but it does wake you up to the God-self, the Love, living and desiring to live ever deeper within you.
Francis of Assisi in his Rule of 1221 wrote:
“…In that love which is God (1 Jn 4:16), I entreat all my friars, ministers and subjects, to put away every attachment, all care and solicitude, and serve, love, honor and adore our Lord and God with a pure heart and mind; this is what He seeks above all else. We should make a dwelling-place within ourselves where he can stay, he who is the Lord God almighty, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit….”
Love cannot be squelched. Even when we fail to love in our societies, Love surprises us in creation. Unlikely animal companions such as rooster and donkey, or elephant and dog, mirror to us the presence of Love within all. In a necessary irony, creation teaches us how to behave and reminds us the need to love and be Love to the one who is different from us. When we love one another, “our neighbor as ourselves,” we image the Triune God who is Love, and Jesus’ words, “…wherever two or three are gathered together in My name, there I am in the midst of them.” (Matthew 18:20), ring true. To put it simply, love one another and discover God, for God is revealed to us in loving relationship.
Love cannot be destroyed. In the midst of trouble, trials and celebrations, Love is there. In the most heart-wrenching events of our lives, Love is there. In war, hate crimes or terrorist acts, Love is there. Hard to believe? Look at those who run to help the wounded and you will get a glimpse of the essence of God–a powerful Spirit Presence running to share in our messy lives, because Love must love.
Where there is love, there is God. ~
Next Week: Joy!
Scripture: Tree of Life (TLV) Translation of the Bible. Copyright © 2015 by The Messianic Jewish Family Bible Society.
Francis’ Early Rule (1221), St. Francis of Assisi Omnibus of Sources (ed. Marion A. Habig). Copyright ©1973, Chicago: Franciscan Herald Press, pp. 48-49.
Article by Sr. Sharon of Jesus, osc; all rights reserved.