REFLECTION FOR TODAY
May 9, 2021
By Fr. Andrew Ibegbulem, OSA
“No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” Jn. 15:13
In our everyday life, we speak of love, but do we really understand what love really is and about? Love is very often understood as a strong feeling or emotion toward another. When someone is strongly attracted to someone or something, they “love it.” But is this love? Is this love in the truest sense? Not really. Love certainly will have an emotional element to it, but it will not be based on emotions or feelings.
So, what is love? Love is a choice. Specifically, as Jesus identifies in our gospel reference today, love is a choice to “lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” As Christians what can we do for love? How much or true and authentic love have we extended or received in our love. True love is sacrificial and unconditional.
Laying down our lives as mentioned, indicates several things. First, it shows that the nature of love is a total self-gift. Laying down your life cannot be done halfway. It is either our life is laid down or not. This reveals that love, for it to be love in the truest sense, is a total commitment of 100% of your life.
Our gospel reference also reveals that love is sacrificial. Laying down your life clearly shows that love requires a sort of death to self. It requires we look to the other first, putting their needs before ours. This requires true sacrifice and selflessness.
We lay down our lives for others in many ways. Sometimes small, other times big. Most importantly, we must foster an attitude of deep concern for the good of every person. When we do turn our eyes and hearts toward others, we will begin to discover countless ways to lay our lives down for them.
Small acts of kindness, words of affirmation, a listening ear, help with a chore, a smile, hug, or an embrace are a few of the small ways we give of ourselves every day. Greater acts may include a heroic forgiveness, love when we do not feel like being loving, giving mercy when it appears undeserved, and going out of our way to be there for a person when we do not have time in our busy schedule.
The bottom line is that giving of ourselves until it hurts turns any small or large sacrifice, we give into a blessing for them and a glorious reward for us. Living a sacrificial life is fulfilling on many levels and is ultimately what we are made for. In love, we receive, and we give back. TO be loved is indeed a gift, something we do not deserve. it is a fearful and awesome treasure, so fragile and yet so fierce.
Reflect, today, upon how well you lay down your life for others, holding nothing back. Do not hesitate to commit yourself to this depth of love. By giving yourself completely away, you find yourself and discover the presence of our divine Lord.
Lord, help me to put others first. Help me to love until it hurts. And in that loving sacrifice, help me to discover the love in Your own divine heart. Jesus, I trust in You.