A time to love

It seems strange when we make a statement like “A time to love”, as if love is something that needs to be activated. It gives the impression that love is outside of us and it does not appear to be present in our lives until we want it to happen. However, love is always in us, it has never left us, and it is up to us to allow it to flow freely from within us.

Sister Stan has some valuable insights to share on this topic of love:

“There is in all of us, at the centre of our lives, a tension, an aching, a yearning in the heart that is insatiable and very deep. Sometimes this longing is focused in a person, at other times the yearning is a longing to attain something; most often, though, it is a longing without a clear name or a focus. We only know that we are restless, we are full of disquiet, we are aching at a level that we cannot seem to get at.

We can try to fill this ‘immortal longing in ourselves with things; we can clutter it up; or we can recognize it for what it is, the wound of love, the longing in each of us for the immortal, for the divine. Human beings are not perfect; we are incomplete. Our incomplete nature springs towards its own perfection, which we may call God, and we cannot rest until we find the source of our love.

We tend to think of love as some impossible romantic dream. On the contrary, love is not only possible, it is in truth the only reality. Deep within each of us, there is a fountain or a well of love. The greatest gift we can bring to another is to open up to them their hidden reservoir of love. When we do that, when we open up to people their ability to love, we are doing the work of God, and we are freeing people in a way that they didn’t know they could be free.

Love is more than a thought and a desire. Love is action. According to the Eastern poet and philosopher, Kahlil Gibran, ‘Work is love made visible’. It is only in the action of love that we attain the wisdom of love. Only God’s love is perfect and unconditional. Human love can only approximate that love. Yet if we consent to love and give ourselves over to love in its fullness, then the entire world will be overflowing with love. The first step to attain that openness to love is to admit that our love, even though it isn’t perfect, is none the less love and that by virtue of its very nature it aspires to the fullness of love.”

We are capable of loving our fellow human beings freely, spontaneously; but sometimes, we choose to reject and despise them. And when we take this course of action, our love has turned against our own selves, it has become adulterated, contaminated. That love turns in upon ourselves and is locked up inside ourselves. The love which could and should give nourishment to others consumes us. Unless we allow our love to grow and develop and flow, it becomes hardened.

However, we can never truly love another person, unless we are equally involved in loving ourselves. ‘I thank you that I am so wonderfully made,’ prays the psalmist, ‘I thank you for the mystery of my being.’ But most of us have not dwelt on the mystery of our own being. We take ourselves for granted, because we take what is familiar for granted. We go on, day in, day out, doing more or less the same thing, behaving in more or less the same way, and don’t plumb the depths of our being; we don’t enter into the deep mystery that awaits with us; we reduce the mystery to the ordinary. Yet all the while we are being shaped and reshaped by God, and behind the ordinary lies extraordinary mystery unexplored, extraordinary potential underdeveloped, extraordinary beauty unknown, extraordinary possibilities and blessing and giftedness unknown and unloved.

The journey of self-knowledge and self-acceptance is a journey to finding our true selves, to finding and accepting the great mystery of ourselves.

Nelson Mandela shared this thought in his inaugural speech:

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate; our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. We ask ourselves, ‘Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented and fabulous?’ Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. We are born to manifest the glory of God that is within us. It is not just in some of us; it’s in everyone.”

It is time to love ourselves fully as we are all beautiful souls, and from there, we will feel this abundance of love flowing freely from deep within us and reaching out to all others in the world.

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