Fruits of loveI drive many highway miles visiting clients. Normally I listen to audio books, but at times I use the time to ponder life's mysteries (or work out tricky client issues). When my thoughts cover deeper matters we have a family discussion. Today's thoughts were on Love.
In order to discover anything's purpose, the best results are obtained by referring to it's maker. We understand that for software or equipment we would consult the manual or maker's web site or the creator himself. To discover more about ourselves, the best option would be to consult the One who made us. So what did He have to say?
- God so loved the world that he sent down his only son
- The Son so loved us he offered up his life in atonement for us
- Jesus told us that no greater love has a man that gives up his own life for another
- Jesus also told us that the greatest commandment is to love the Lord with your whole mind, heart and soul.
The last instruction of Jesus is commonly rephrased as our duty to Know, Love and Serve God. It also follows that you can't serve someone properly if you don't love him and you can't love him if you don't know him. So the first step is to know the person you are to love. That means being with him and spending time with him.
This makes sense when you stop and consider. Look at the successful marriages and friendships. They survive in wealth and poverty, sickness and health and in better times or worse. They communicate across crowded rooms with a glance or slight facial expression. They laugh at the same jokes and shared experiences. They are happy even in adversity. They really know each other. And they desire to know more.
Knowing each other means their love is stronger. Stronger Love means the willing sacrifice of self to the other. And, strangely enough, the giving up of self results in greater love and knowledge. The 100%/100% giving within marriage results in 200%, rather than the 50%/50% split which often results in zero. That's God's maths - drawing straight with crooked lines. In fact the two who become one, often become three, four and more.
So, if you are to sacrifice yourself to the one you know and love, you are called to be the best you can be. That means no slothfulness - but also no vain glory. It means using your talents to the best of your ability. God has given you talents with which you are to use and build upon and become competent in whatever you do. Everyone has equal dignity in God's eyes, whether they are rich or poor, esteemed or despised. I always remember Pope John Paul II in one of his talks proclaiming to all who would hear, "Be who you are! Be who you are called to be!" (You need to do that with a deep Polish accent to get the right effect)
But, Ariel asked, "What if you don't know your talents?"
Study and follow where it leads you. Understand more of the core skills and then delve deeper into subjects that interest you more. God always throws things your way and you must be ready to take the risk and say "Yes."