As I write this it's approaching 14 th February - Valentine's Day - and love
is all around us, so to speak. We can't fail to notice racks of Valentine's
cards and gifts in the shops and on line. On thinking about this, I was
reminded of the song "Love is all around" which was popular when I was
much younger. Some of you may also remember it. Some of the last
words of that song are "So, if you really love me, come on and let it
show" and, if we think about it, that's exactly what Jesus asks of us - to
let our love for him, and others, show, as we demonstrate that love
We can't love without action. Words alone just aren't enough. The way to
show someone we love them is by doing something and demonstrating
our love in a very outward way, which will often involve self-sacrifice. If
we love someone truly and unconditionally we will inevitably be called to
make sacrifices for them.
God's ultimate example of loving self-sacrifice was in giving his only Son
for us, knowing that the world would reject him and ultimately crucify
him. God did this purely out of love for us. If we truly love God in return,
then that love which we have for him will inevitably call us to make
sacrifices for him in our own lives. We're all very individual people,
wonderfully and amazingly different, and our personal sacrifices will vary
vastly from one person to another. God understands that. He loves us all,
knows us all, and calls us all in very different ways.
St Paul wrote in his first letter to the Corinthians Chapter 13 vv 4-7:
"Love is patient; love is kind; love is not envious or boastful or arrogant
or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it
does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices in the truth. It bears all
things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things".
Paul didn't write those words out of sentimental idealism. For Paul it was
practical, real and true. Above everything that life had thrown at him -
trials and tribulations, illness, imprisonment, shipwreck (and his previous
life as a persecutor) - he found deep love when he encountered Jesus.
I pray that we will all be able to experience that same kind of loving
relationship which Paul found in Jesus, and that we will all know and
understand - and willingly make - the sacrifices that we are called to
make in the name of love, both for God and for others.