Short Discourse on Love

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(This is a simul-post with Ignitum Today)

Disclaimer: I don’t like writing about love in a public forum.  It makes me feel vulnerable to public opinion.

Some time ago, I attended a conference in my home diocese.  Having connections with the organizers, I ended up attending the after-party as well, and had an absolute blast with some of the speakers and the other after-party attendees.  In the midst of the philosophical discussions that ensued (this after-party involved tobacco, alcohol, and Catholic people), I found myself talking to a group of young gentlemen a few years older than I about many heavy matters.  Along the way, we hit a number of topics, and spent quite a bit of time discussing love.  This is where I went a little crazy and got away from myself (it was late at night and I’d had an early morning; when I’m tired my mouth runs faster than my brain) and ended up lecturing this group of slightly-older-than-me young men on the nature of love and how it is more than an emotion; it is an act of the will.

“Well, we all agree on the fact that to love is to will the good of another, yes?”  Nods all around.  I shifted my sketchbook on my lap and gestured with my capped fountain pen as I spoke.  “And I’m sure you all have experienced that with your family.  Like, I love my little sisters and wouldn’t want any harm to come to them, but oh GOSH sometimes they drive me nuts and I don’t like them very much.  But I still love them.”

“Yeah, but I haven’t ever had that outside of my family,” one guy interjected.  I shook my head.

“Doesn’t matter, that’s the important aspect of love.  And some day you’ll find that person whose well-being you willingly–and happily–put above yours.  For that person, you’d do anything.  You’d give your own life if it meant they would be well and happy.  And each day it is a new wish for them to have a good day, or to smile, or to be well.  It is, as we’ve agreed, an act of the will.  You want nothing but the absolute best for that other person and will do whatever it takes to get them there.  You want them to be a saint.”

The rest of the story is unimportant and rather irrelevant; this discussion is what matters.  All that matters is this: you want the people you love most to become saints.

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