Our world is filled with a lot of hatred. One must only turn on talk radio or the nine o’clock news to see this. For whatever reason, it seems so easy to hate or dislike other people. This hatred can spew over into our daily conversations with others about certain individuals. But why do we hate? Maybe one reason is that we are filled with jealousy, pride, or envy or we feel that we have been wronged.
St. John, the apostle of love, has made known to us that God is love. In fact he loved us so much that he went all the way to the cross. This dying to self and laying one’s life down for another is the highest expression of love. Yet in our society it seems that the showing of affection toward another is frowned upon and to some is an expression of weakness. Do we often tell people that we love them? Our families, friends, or others? Perhaps there are two reasons why we do not express our love: either we do not know how or we do not want to become attached because we are afraid we might get hurt or lose the person.
Because so many people are longing to be loved, they turn to other things in their quest for love and fulfillment. To quote the lyrics from a 1980’s country song, many people are “lookin’ for love in all the wrong places.” They turn to sex, alcohol, drugs, gambling, etc. in order to feel loved, if only by themselves, for a few moments.
Yet everything pales in comparison and falls short of the love God has for us. The often quoted St. Augustine rings true for society today—our hearts are restless until they rest in thee. Many people are afraid to turn to God because it means conversion—the abandonment of our own comforts in order to take on a new life in accordance with the gospel message.
In the Interior Castle, St. Teresa of Avila writes: “Many souls remain in the outer court of the castle, which is the place occupied by the guards; they are not interested in entering it, and have no idea what there is in that wonderful place, or who dwells in it, or even how many rooms it has.” People are afraid to enter the inner rooms of the castles because they do not know what will happen to them. In reality, the remedy to the many problems in our world today stem from hatred for others and our inability to enter into the interior castle, look inward and enter into union with God. If the world were only to enter into the mansion and discover the pearl of great price, what difference would that make?
When it comes down to it, St. Teresa of Avila is right, “God alone suffices”. He fills our desires and gives to us thirst quenching water. We ourselves must turn toward the Lord and help others to turn toward Him as well. We must know that we are loved, so that others can also know they are love. Receive from the fountain of God’s love and then love others. If all we do is not motivated by love, then it is nothing (c.f. 1 Corinthians 13:1-3).
Let us this day put on love and bring Christ’s love to a world that is longing and searching to be loved.