This month at the church we are talking about living our faith. The bottom line with our faith is love. We are invited to receive God's love, love ourselves, and love others. But this is, of course, NOT a Hallmark kind of love all flowers, hearts, and pretty phrases. Rather this love is a boots on the ground active love that seeks the very best, most just, and healing option for all involved. Mark Douglas suggests in that, as followers of Jesus, "love and justice do not so much compete with each other as complete each other." 1
Sometimes when talking about, thinking about, or struggling with how to live in a loving manner in both large and small ways I get stumped. I found this reflection by Cynthia ... very helpful. I thought I would share it with you!
Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things (1 Corinthians 13:7).
“Love bears all things.” This does not mean a dreary sort of putting-up-with or victimization. There are two meanings of the word bear, and they both apply. The first means “to hold up, to sustain”—like a bearing wall, which carries the weight of the house. ... To bear [also] means “to give birth, to be fruitful.” So love is that which in any situation is the most life-giving and fruitful.
“Love believes all things.” ... [This] does not mean to be gullible, to refuse to face up to the truth. Rather, it means that in every possible circumstance of life, there is ... a way of perceiving that leads to cynicism and divisiveness, a closing off of possibility; and there is a way that leads to higher faith and love, to a higher and more fruitful outcome. To “believe all things” means always to orient yourselves toward the highest possible outcome in any situation and strive for its actualization.
“Love hopes all things.” ... In the practice of conscious love you begin to discover ... a hope that is related not to outcome but to a wellspring ... a source of strength that wells up from deep within you independent of all outcomes. ... It is a hope that can never be taken away from you because it is love itself working in you, conferring the strength to stay present to that “highest possible outcome” that can be believed and aspired to.
Finally, 'love endures all things.' ... Everything that is tough and brittle shatters; everything that is cynical rots. The only way to endure is to forgive, over and over, to give back that openness and possibility for new beginning which is the very essence of love itself. And in such a way love comes full circle and can fully 'sustain and make fruitful,' and the cycle begins again, at a deeper place. And conscious love deepens and becomes more and more rooted. ..." 2
This passage helps me consider what active, living love can look like in all my relationships and how I can take it out into the world with me. I hope it helps you as well!!
1. Douglas, Mark Daily Feast year A, pg 453
2. Cynthia Bourgeault, Love Is Stronger than Death: The Mystical Union of Two Souls (Monkfish Book Publishing: 2014, 2007, 1999, 1997), 171-174.