Posted September 14, 2012:
The Power of Love

by Fr. Emile-Marie Brière.

When I say "the power of love," I don’t mean our love. I mean the power of God’s love, the Lord’s own love vitalizing a human heart, filling that heart, flowing to others from that heart.

For truly we have no love of our own. We are creatures; all that we have, we have been given. Of ourselves, we are empty, dry, hollow, like an empty shell or a dry well. Of ourselves we have nothing and can do nothing.

No, of ourselves we have no love; we have nothing to give any other person. And what do we have to give God? Nothing except our emptiness, our misery, our sinfulness. From God we can only receive.

But he desires passionately to give to us: to forgive all our sins, to heal our wounds, and to fill our whole beings with his life and love.

For he loves us passionately and wants us to know his love, to be grateful for his love, to rest in his love, to live in his love, to be strengthened by his love.

This world he gave us throbs with his love, and every human being is made in the image of the God who is love. He has given us an immense capacity for love—to receive love and to give it.

Yet the Lord’s love means so little to our world. Who is thrilled by it, filled by it? Who stops, in the silence of his heart, to ponder over it? Who looks at a crucifix and says, "This was for me. This is how much he loves me!" The Lord has few friends and fewer lovers.

Always he waits for our love. Why are we so indifferent to it? Why are we so unmoved by the sight of his pain? Why are we so callous?

There may be many reasons. Ignorance, for instance. Or pride. We want to be self-sufficient, independent. We want to fulfill our needs ourselves.

We refuse to acknowledge our poverty, our immense need for the love of God and of others. Full of self-importance, we like to parade our puny ideas, our little accomplishments, our trivial joys and petty sorrows. We talk much, and the sound of our voices drowns out the strong beating of God’s heart pounding at our ears.

Another reason may be that we really don’t believe in love. We may have been hurt in the past or disappointed or disillusioned; we may have become bitter, withdrawn from life, as a result. We might not believe that it is possible to be loved and to love.

And yet, when we question our hearts in the silence of the night, when we ask ourselves in a moment of sincerity, "What do I really want?" the answer comes back loud and clear, "I want to be loved, I want to live, I want to love."

Still another reason why we may be indifferent to God’s love is that we are afraid of love. Ashamed of our weaknesses, we don’t want to be known lest we be rejected. We believe that God knows us as we are, but we don’t quite believe that anyone else can know us well and still love and forgive us.

We are also afraid of commitment. When I am loved, I must respond, and that response means the gift of my very self to another.

And sometimes the immense joy that suffuses the soul when it experiences love is quickly followed by fear—fear of illusion, fear of losing oneself, fear of mystery, fear of being hurt.

But once we have allowed love to enter in, a new dimension enters our life, and nothing is quite the way it was before.

We begin to see a new beauty and goodness in people and things, a beauty and goodness which serve only to increase our hunger for God.

We are made for love. Let us live today in the gentle power of God’s love.

Adapted from The Power of Love, (1990), pp. ix-xi, MH Publications, out of print.



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