…Beloved, if God so loved us, we also must love one another…

Home > Living the Gospel > …Beloved, if God so loved us, we also must love one another…

This verse has been heard by Christians innumerable times over the centuries, and the depth of its message often challenges us. To “love or not to love,” as Shakespeare almost said, that’s the question! Sometimes, we get angry or even spiteful when we have to deal with serious situations such as family or work problems, or when other negative things occur in our lives. Through it all, however, we hear the words of this Gospel, and we’re reminded that when anger or hatred seep into those events, they not only bring toxicity into our home and drive love out from hearts, but they also affect everyone around us. Especially those who love us the most.

Some of my friends know that I’ve seen more than my share of tragedy over the years. Some events were traumatic and I had to try to learn how to recover from them. Some people said, “well, you’ll never get over it,” or “you have to move on,” or “just let it go.” Oh, sure. Easier said than done. Needless to say, I found out that obedience to this Gospel message is very hard work.

An old spiritual director had it right, though. He said, “Dot, you have to pray for them.” Well, I’d heard that one, too, and I told him that I really didn’t want to do it. Needless to say, he insisted that I pray for them aloud, no matter my tears, anger, or fear, and I had to do it every day until the burden lifted from me. Despite my reservations, I obeyed, and his wisdom and support taught me still another lesson about love. St. John of the Cross said it well; “Where there is no love, put in love, and you’ll draw out love.” At the least, Love will have a chance to find you.

I really do have to say that love isn’t just warm feelings, although those would be nice. And nobody is excluded, family or neighbor – no matter a person’s age, education, gender, appearance, etc. And sometimes it is simply praying for our enemies, for those who hate us, for the mother who has to work 3 jobs to pay the rent – this list could go on and on. But please, when you reach the end of your list, pray for peace and the great multitudes of people who have nobody to pray for them.

Dorothy Hathway, CSJA