PARADOXICAL

The faith chronicles

Sunday, March 03, 2013

 

Lenten retreat reflection: Day 18 - What is (true) love?


All the quotes that struck me today are, oddly enough, about what true/genuine love means.

"Being attracted to a stunning beauty can be good, but it is not automatically love."

"Christic love is revolution."

"Genuine love is uncommon in our world because full conversion is uncommon."

"Deep love = Deep prayer (intimacy with the Trinity)"

Reading these lines in silence, I find myself reduced to wordlessness, unable to comment further, owing to the beauty of the phrasing. But also it is partly because this topic has been a favorite subject of mine. Growing up being deprived of love, or so I misinterpreted (at least in part), I had to constantly do the love test: It is love? Or fake, selfish love? Am I really loved, or just liked?

Needless to say, I can't help but project the same questions when it comes to myself: Am I really loving the person? Or merely lusting after? Am I just reacting in kind, quid pro quo, because I will get something for something? Or am I loving without any hope of getting something back? Am I being kind because I happen to like this person, we happen to have the same likes and dislikes? Will I kind to these little people whom I know will never reciprocate?

Why am I so unenergetic in this community activity? Is it because I am not getting something back? Is it because I am serving only these useless kids who are orphans who are a liability to society? Is it because I have no chance to show off in this particular event?

Why did I feel so heavy serving in the youth ministry during the latter years of my service? Is it because I felt burdened, my own needs unmet? Or is it because God wasn't repaying all my hard work the way I expected him to?

Do I love out of my excessive love for myself? To put it less delicately, do I love because I am repairing something in my past?

Or do I love because God loves me? Am I connected enough to the Holy Trinity to be able to say with confidence that I love myself because God loves me?

Sometimes it's easy to fool myself. Rationalization is my forte. But God knows the hearts of men. If God judged my heart, I hope and pray He'll find authentic love living there. I know I am trying so hard to graduate from egocentrism to other-centrism and hopefully reach "theocentrism." So help me God.

See also these random thoughts on love I have randomly recovered from Blogger's often unreliable archive search:

http://restyo.blogspot.com/2010/05/i-love-and-i-hurt.html
http://restyo.blogspot.com/2010/04/which-is-love.html
http://restyo.blogspot.com/2004/11/what-would-you-risk-for-love.html
http://restyo.blogspot.com/2007/12/what-is-love.html
http://restyo.blogspot.com/2005/09/is-it-love-or-black-hole.html
http://restyo.blogspot.com/2010/02/many-complications-of-love.html

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