What is LOVE?

FOOTSTEPS AND FINGERPRINTS

If someone asks you to define and describe “love”, what will your answer be?

In the wonderfully inspiring book The Imitation of Christ author Thomas a Kempis writes about love, about love of and for God.  So as this month of love begins, I would like to share some of his thoughts for you to think about in relationship to the ‘love’ in you and in your life.

“The wise lover does not consider so much the lover’s gift, as the giver’s love.”  This is a truth we should take to heart, especially in this day and age when we tend to put more emphasis and value on how much the gift costs and how many gifts we receive rather than how much does the giver really give us of his/her love.

“Love is a great thing, a great good in every way, for it alone lightens every burden and passes smoothly over all misfortunes.  Love carries a burden without feeling it and makes every bitter thing sweet and savory.  The noble love of Jesus spurs us on to do great things and excites us always to long for perfection.  Love wants to soar to the heights and not be tied down by anything low.”

Upon reading this profound statement, I asked myself (and I urge you to ask yourself) does my love for Jun, my husband of 56 years, spur me on to do great things?  Does my love excite me to long for perfection in my life, and in my relationships?  Does my love for God excite me and take me out of my comfort zones to strive to do great things?  My answer is a resounding “Yes!”

“Love is born of God; in the end, it rests in nothing other than God.  A person who loves may soar, run and rejoice; he is free and nothing holds him back.  He does not look at the gifts he receives, but he turns himself beyond all gifts to the Giver. … Because love believes that it can accomplish anything, it does.”

“Love is swift, honest, devout, joyous and pleasing; love is strong, patient, faithful, prudent, long-suffering, courageous.  Love is never self-seeking, for when we seek ourselves, we abandon love.

“ Love is watchful, humble and upright; it is not soft, not frivolous, not given to empty things; it is sober, chaste, steadfast, calm, and it always stays alert.  Love is … devout and grateful to God, always trusting and hoping in him, even when it cannot taste him, for one does not know love without pain.”

What is love?  Does my love for God and for others measure up to Thomas a Kempis’ description?  In what ways can I increase the quality of my love?  Am I able to love myself, to give and share love to others, and also to graciously receive love?  How does God’s love for me and my love for Him affect and color my life?  I challenge you to ask yourself these questions.

February is a time for us to set aside the endless restlessness of the world to ask ourselves these and other hard questions about love.   Take a moment right now and ponder on your answers.

I wish you all a Happy Day of Love this February 14th.