Thursday, November 7, 2013

Love is the Center

While I was excited at the selection of Pope Francis, as time went by I became disappointed with him since so many of his statements seemed to be ready-made for misinterpretation, especially once spun by the media. How many times have his off the cuff statements required clarification that no, Catholic doctrine and teaching hasn't changed? But recently I've started to see where he is coming from.

Love is the center. Whatever we do, we should do from love.

When we love, do we not want to be with and speak to our beloved?
When we love, do we not want learn more about our beloved?
When we love, do we not want to give generously of all our gifts, to share them with our beloved?
When we love, do we not want tell others about our beloved? (Think of those annoying times when a friend or family member would not shut about how wonderful their new guy or gal was.)
Whoever does not know love does not know God, for God is love. 1 John 4:8 (NRSV)
God is love; love is the center.  

I chose those particular questions because I recently read "The Four Signs of a Dynamic Catholic" by Matthew Kelly, and those questions correspond to the four signs: prayer, study, generosity, and evangelization. Prayer is speaking to and spending time with God. Bible study and learning more about our Catholic faith are learning more about God and His Church. Sharing our time, energy, talents, and money with those less fortunate and the church are generosity. (Truly I tell you, whatever you did for the least of these, you did for me. Matthew 25:40) Telling others about God is evangelization.

Keeping love at the center also ties in with something I've been thinking a lot about: the yes behind the no. Seemingly everyone out there knows that the Catholic church is against premarital and extramarital sex, contraception, abortion, divorce, and gay marriage. Just hearing the nos that the media and culture shout about leads many to think that all those prohibitions are mean, and that all those celibate men in the Vatican just don't want the rest of us to have any fun. Some might even interpret as the priests and hierarchy trying to control us. Except behind every no there is a loving yes. Yes to valuing yourself as more than just a sexual object. Yes to giving yourself solely and completely to one person. Yes to the mystery and joy of sex (not just scratching an itch or meeting a physical need). Yes to the miracle and wonder of new life. Yes to a life long bond between spouses. Yes to treating others as people, not objects or things to be used. Yes to the equal dignity and complementarity of men and women. Yes to putting the needs of children first. Those aren't really nos; they are yes to something better, something given with love.


2 comments:

  1. I love this! It's so true - for every "no" the media focuses on, there are so many "yeses" hidden beneath. If only there were any easy way to show the world. I guess we just keep living by example? :)

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