Love is the trump card!

      Most major religions would agree that LOVE is the guiding rule and principle for living.  Most would believe that God is loving and some proclaim that God is LOVE itself.  Literally, though, the DEVIL [like, the evil one] is in “the details”.  What does it mean to love?  What does it mean to live in love?  Everyday news tells us that we do not have that part figured out.

      Anderson Cooper of CNN is the latest newscaster to host a special on “bullying” in our schools.  CNN on Sunday night [the 23rd] will have a special program entitled, “Is Mississippi still burning?”

      TIME MAGAZINE {Oct. 24th} had an article about the ALLIANCE SCHOOL in Milwaukee, WI with a 165 member student body — a school established so that lesbian, gay, bi-sexual, and transgender students could study without fear of be despised or attacked.  One mother drives her 14 year old son 90 minutes each way from Saukville, WI so that her son can study at Alliance without hating his life and everything else.

       When political debate includes a religious question/debate as to whether or not the Mormon faith is really Christian … or a cult … we know that talking about love is a lot easier than living love — or embodying love.  

      Those who do pre-marriage preparation or marriage counseling, have likely said something like this:  Love is more than a feeling — because sometimes we do not FEEL like doing the loving thing.  Love must be an intentional choice and a developing attitude.  We choose to love — even when we do not feel like loving or when we do not like the person we are called to love.

Can you and I choose to love as Jesus did?  Can we be giving and forgiving?  Can we wish well to all people?  Can we tolerate others as we expect them to tolerate us?

         When Pastor Rob Bell published his book, “Love Wins”, many greeted the book with criticism.  Instead of listening to the message about the power of love and Bell’s contention that “if anything will ‘win’ it will be love”, too many people focused on his questioning of whether or not there were many people in hell.  His questioning of the existence of hell seemed to threaten religious leaders who try to “fear people into being good” by the possibility of going to hell.  Rather than preaching the extreme and ultimate power of love, too many religious leaders draw lines between the righteous and the sinners.  There are those who keep the commandments and those who keep messing up over and over again.

       Despite the challenge of Jesus — there are prostitutes, adulterers, and tax collectors who will enter heaven before you — like the religious leaders of Jesus’ time, there is too much emphasis on keeping the LAWS rather than really living THE LAW of love — the greatest of all commandments.

       Those who teach and preach “sin management” and “showing faith” by righteous-living seemed to be fearful that a message of tolerance, welcome to all regardless of their past, and generous overwhelming love — would work against a message that called for living by the rules, keeping the commandments, and generally being above reproach.

       Can someone be racially intolerant and religiously intolerant and really keep the commandment of love?

       Can we judge our fellow Catholics as being a “poor Catholic” and still keep the commandment of love?

       Can someone go to mass every weekend, put money in the collection basket, and say their night prayers — and miss the commandment to really love?

       Why do we need programs at school and on tv about bullying?  Why do schools like ALLIANCE have to be set up? 

         In the week ahead — for every judgmental thought about another person or group — we ought to offer a prayer.  In the week ahead, for every angry thought or action … suppose we make a $5 donation to a charitable cause?  In the week ahead, if we wish that someone else fail or that we “win” over them, suppose we give up a favorite television show?

       Those who asked Jesus which was the greatest commandment never expected the answer they heard.  In reality, most of us wish there had been an easier answer.  Being a good Catholic is about more than holding our hands in the right prayer posture.  Being a good Catholic is about more than staying away from sin.  Being a good Catholic is about more than voting for certain candidates. 

        Let’s live for a week with an understanding that “love” is making the good of another more important than “my desire”.  Let’s live for a week finding the good in another person.  Let’s live a week deliberately showing kindness to others at home, at work, in the stores, and in the parking lots.

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One Response to Love is the trump card!

  1. Bette Butterick says:

    Took me awoke but I found it. B

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