Love need not be sweet
OF COURSE, in its ideal state, love will always be sweet. In fact, it is going to be a bliss where God “will wipe every tear from the eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” (Rev 21,4)
But in our present earthly condition, it has to contend with our defects, mistakes and sins that unavoidably produce pain and sorrow. Love would still be true love if we know how to go through and beyond this earthly condition, and manage to find meaning and even joy in these things. Expect love to be sometimes bitter, sour or bland.
That is why St. Paul once said: “Love is patient…it bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.” (1 Cor 13,4.7) We can only have this kind of love if we are mtruly identified with Christ who is the standard of our love.
Christ himself said so: “Love one another as I have loved you.” (Jn 13,34) And how does he love us? By going all the way even to death on the cross. By so doing, he assumed all our sins and offers us forgiveness. He promises us a new life in him, guaranteed with his own resurrection. It’s a life full of joy and peace, wisdom and power. There is no love greater than this love.
We need to see to it that our understanding of love is based on our faith, on our vital union with Christ, replicating his life, his word, deed and example in ours. It should not be based on feelings alone, or on any human and worldly value alone.
We have to be wary of a prevailing worldly culture of love that is bent in deluding us into the belief that love is a matter of nice feelings, or of some useful worldly value like practicality, convenience, power, advantage, etc. We have to learn how to do battle with this kind of false love.
The authenticity of our love is precisely shown when we know how to handle the pain and sorrow that is unavoidable in our earthly life. If we continue to have faith and hope in God’s promises, in spite of the trials, then we can say that we have the love that comes from God.
It will be a love that can only show the fruits of the Holy Spirit—joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Not only that, but it is also a love that inspires and generates these fruits of the Holy Spirit in others.
For, as Christ himself said, “a good tree does not bear bad fruit…a tree is known by its fruit.” (Lk 6,43-44) What one has is also what he gives to others.
We have to have this kind of love everyday and in every circumstance, starting with the ones beside us at the moment.
Whatever the situation, whether favorable or not, we should love everyone, doing it wholeheartedly and cheerfully.
It should be a love that is inventive and creative, game and sporty, unafraid of whatever trials, difficulty, setback, failure can come our way.