The small and the big in love

By: Fr. Roy Cimagala

WHERE there is true love, everything becomes meaningful and is pursued with a passion. The small and ordinary things of the day become very significant. There is never a dull, monotonous moment in the daily routine.

And while one’s usual daily task would only involve small and ordinary things, he is also ready to take on big, extraordinary things when the need arises. In fact, when one is truly in love, he will not allow himself to be trapped in some kind of routine, but will always take the initiative to look for other tasks and challenges if only to do more good to everyone. He would always be inventive and creative.

He is not afraid of the effort and sacrifice that may be involved. He would do all this without expecting any reward, or even acknowledgment. He would do them simply because he wants to do them, he wants to give himself. No special reason is needed other than sheer goodness.

Where there is true love, not even problems, difficulties, and misunderstanding, failure, rejection, etc. would detain him from his total self-giving. He would just be game whatever the outcome of his love-driven initiatives would be. In fact, tackling the sacrifices and suffering involved can only mean the authenticity of his love.

Of course, to be truly in love means one should have the same attitude God has toward his creation, especially toward us. We know that God is love. (cfr. 1 Jn 4,8) He is full of goodness. He went all the way to offer his life on the cross.

Even if his love is not reciprocated and is in fact rejected, he continues to love. It does not really matter to him if he is loved in return by us or not. He will continue to love us. Because of this kind of love, God will offer forgiveness for everyone and will do everything to bring us back to him, no matter what the cost.

This kind of love is precisely dramatized in full by Christ who offered his life on the cross for us, for our salvation. “Greater love has no one than this, that he lays down his life for his friends.” (Jn 15,13)

And he wants this kind of love to be our love for him and for one another. In fact, he commands us to do so. “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you,” he said. (Jn 15,13) And he continued, “You are my friends if you do what I command you.” (Jn 15,14)

It’s quite clear then what exactly would cement our friendship with Christ—if we know how to love one another as he himself loved us, a love that goes all the way to offering one’s life for his friend. We obviously have to prepare ourselves to reach this ideal and goal, especially disciplining our thoughts, memory, imagination, emotions, and passions, so that they conform to the standard set forth by Christ himself.

We should be magnanimous especially when that love would demand some extraordinary effort and sacrifice from us, like when we are asked to be patient, compassionate, tolerant, and merciful with those who cause us some trouble.

Christ wants us to have the utmost refinement in our love for one another. “Unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven,” he said. (Mt 5,20) It would not be enough to avoid harming a person physically. He wants us to avoid even thinking and desiring evil of a person or calling a person names.

Christ wants us not to be afraid to undertake big, ambitious projects for the good of everyone when the chance arises, and to be flexible in our ways so as to meet the needs of the others more promptly and effectively.