Love is one of the most used and manipulated words in current language. It can mean anything besides what it really means. Constantly we hear comments like, “What’s the big deal? They love each other,” “I don’t believe in love,” or “I love him as long as he makes me happy.” It must be very clear that this has nothing to do with true love.
Man was created by God to love and to be loved. Love is not a feeling; it is surrender and donation. It is an act of the will rooted in the most intimate part of our being. Therefore, true love is solid and deep, not fluctuating like our moods or passions. This is the problem: our society is becoming more and more selfish. People often seek their own interests and well-being as absolute goods and have come to the point of kicking God out of their lives to become the center, thinking that they will be happier this way. But the only thing they get is deeper enslavement to their ego, unhappiness and emptiness. In other words, they become incapable of loving. Putting God in the center of our lives is the only way we can get our ability to love back.
But what is true love? What is the highest form of love? It’s charity, supernatural love of friendship through which God unites Himself to us and us to our neighbor. According to St. Thomas Aquinas, love of friendship consists in two persons being united by benevolent love, with a certain communication of goods to each other. Friendship is a very deep and reciprocal love that produces an intimate affective and effective bond. God calls us to this kind of loving relationships. We tend to think that God’s love for mankind is some sort of cold or distant benevolence. We’re so mistaken! The Lord invites us to an intimate love of friendship and seeks our response to his love.
Do you know how much God loves you? In this world where we run around a lot and think very little, we have to pause for a moment—even if it’s just once in our lifetime—and stop swallowing everything we hear so as to reflect on this question. If you find the answer, 90% of your problems would be over with. God loves you so much that He became man for you. He loves you so much that He lived a hidden life like any other poor person for 30 years. He worked, he grew weary, he experienced hunger and even slander. He loves you so much that He decided to remain in the Eucharist to nourish and strengthen you in moments of tribulation as well as in moments of joy.
And if you still doubt His love for you, you have to turn your eyes to the Cross. This is the greatest proof of love. It is a love demonstrated by the surrender of the life of His own Son. Even though we are sinners, He gave Himself up to the most ignominious death to save us from sin and open the gates of Heaven for us so that we could be with Him for all eternity. St. Paul, reflecting on this fact, was completely astounded. He was so moved that he exclaimed, “He loved me and gave Himself for me.” This love is for you, too. It is a benevolent, free and total love. God doesn’t need to love us. Loving us doesn’t make Him more sublime. God loves us because He loves us.
We can summarize the Commandments in two: “Love God above all things and your neighbor as yourself.” Well then, this means that I have to reserve the most intimate recesses of my heart for God, no matter what my vocation is. I have to love God first to love others authentically. God asks for a total love. He wants us to love Him totally, but this doesn’t mean that we don’t love others. On the contrary, the more we love God, the more He increases our ability to love. Our love becomes purer, more supernatural, and perfect.
Don’t be afraid to love God and give yourself to Him entirely. Not only will he not take anything away from you, but He’s going to give you much more than you can imagine. While it’s true that love for God and in God has to be tested through suffering, the Lord also promised a hundredfold to all who want to follow Him on this path of true love.
True charity toward one’s neighbor must also be perfective, which mean that it must seek to obtain for others a good that joins them to us forever in Eternal Life. Love is saying, “You will not die,” desiring above all else for the other person to reach Heaven, because that is the greatest treasure you can give. Everything in this life passes away. At the end of the road, the Lord will ask, “How much did you love? How many souls did you bring to my Heart? Can you say that you lived your life doing good?”
The Lord taught us a new way to love supernaturally and universally. He taught us that we have to love everyone without exception, even our enemies. This unselfish love has taken martyrs to lay their lives down for the Lord. They died forgiving and desiring Heaven for those who took their earthly life and opened the doors of Paradise for them. St. Paul said to the Romans, “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:35, 37-39).
Hello! I am Sister Mariam Samino and I have been a Servant Sister of the Home of the Mother since 2011. I am the oldest of six siblings. My parents have always educated us in the faith, although ever since I was very young I preferred the world and didn't like to pray. As a teenager, I rebelled against God because it seemed to me that for Him everything I wanted to do was wrong: I just wanted to be like everyone else, so I chose to live my life without Him. When I was 18, I had a personal encounter with Jesus in which I experienced His mercy and that He had been waiting for me. I cannot cease to thank Him for everything He has done in my life, and I hope that my union with Him will continue to grow and intensify every day.
I am Sister Cecilia Boccardo. When I was little, I had a great sensitivity to the things of God, but as the years went by, I came to believe that God was actually very far from me, until I experienced His personal love for me when I was 14 years old. This marked me so deeply that from then on I could never doubt Him or His love. This thirst for God grew in me until I understood that He was calling me to respond to His love with a total gift of self. Even so, I continued living a "double life" until I met the Home of the Mother at the University, and I understood that I had found my family, my way to Heaven. I entered as a Servant Sister in 2008, and I can only thank the Lord and Our Blessed Mother for having chosen me.