I know we’re all in a hurry. I am certain that right now, you have someplace to go or something very important to do. I probably do too, but there are times when it is necessary to “hit the pause button” on life, in order to reflect on the things that have deep and crucial meaning – the things that literally hold the rest of life together.
In preparation for the trip to DC for the March for Life, I wanted to read my eighth-grade son an article with a Catholic perspective on abortion. I found a wonderful article by Peter Kreeft. That same day, a friend’s tearful sharing about the painful, broken love relationships of two young people in her life left my heart grieving. Kreeft explains that the tragedy of abortion has to do with the tragedy of not understanding sex. The tragedy of not understanding sex has to do with a tragically deflated and empty definition of love. Dr. Kreeft’s words on radical love and the world’s definition of love seemed to clash in my mind.
What is this thing we call love?
We talk about it, sing about it, rely on it, desire it and, recognize that it holds us all together. But is there a real and true definition of it, which most of us don’t quite know about, let alone live up to? Can we just take a moment to at least ponder our own definitions and perhaps take note that we might be called to more? Something higher? Something deeper and ultimately more rewarding and joyful?
Dr. Kreeft writes:
“Our human loves are forms of desire, feeling, eros, need. These need-loves are very good things. ….But the love Christ brings is the love God is, and God does not need anything. God is sheer gift. That’s why Jesus came, and why He died, and why He shed so much blood. He didn’t have to. One drop would have saved the world. Why did He give 12 quarts? Because He had 12 quarts to give.”
Why do romantic, sexual relationships end up creating so much turmoil these days? Because people don’t hit the pause button. People don’t stop to think about what love is really all about. When a couple understands the love between the sexes is an image of the love between the persons of the Trinity, having its ultimate end in oneness with God Himself, they begin to see. Once blinded by a culture steeped in lesser definitions of love (most equated with physical gratification and good feelings), they now see! Real individual fulfillment is realized when they forget themselves and live for the other. And the crazy result is that they end up finding themselves!
We do our young people a disservice when we do not share this with them. If we do not at least try to counter the culture’s loud and booming voice that moans through every love song and unfolds in every movie scene of physical sensuality and intense emotion (which are certainly initial aspects of love, but which must never stop there), then we give them no hope of real joy. The result is usually a pattern of breakup after breakup, heartache after heartache. “Hitting the pause button” before this pattern begins may perpetuate a happier ending.
What we all long for is God, and Christ alone gives us this intimacy.
Christ is the Way, the Truth and the Life of Real Love. He came for that reason. “Hitting the pause button” gives us time to reflect on the crucifix, for on that cross is the meaning of real love. When we run from suffering, we then deny the cross of its power! And we do not realize that we never suffer alone for He never abandons us and that if we accept the denial of ourselves for the good of the other, nothing less than Easter Joy will be ours.
May all who know Him pause to really study Him. May all who seek love hear His invitation to define it for them. “Hitting the pause button” to contemplate real love will never be a waste of our time. It can only lead to joy and hope.