Love is a word that gets thrown around so easily and lightly today. Sometimes we don’t even realize how quickly we say it. Have you taken a moment to truly think about the word itself? What is love? Is it just a feeling or emotion? Is it a stage? Is it a lifestyle? It’s actually none of the above! Love is a CHOICE! It is a choice of the will that you want to do what is best for the other person and not merely for your own gain. In his book “Love and Responsibility”, St. John Paul 2 describes Love as having many elements with specific focus on three: Attraction, Desire and Goodwill. Today I want to focus on Love as Goodwill.
St. JP2 describes that “love is an activity, a deed which develops the existence of the person to its fullest” (pg. 82). He also describes that love as goodwill is “the most purest form of love” (pg. 83). Truly loving someone, purely and unconditionally, means that we want the best for them. We care more about what is good for them and long for that good more than we long for the person as a good for ourselves. Now what does “good for them” mean even? It means what is truly good and best for them, body and soul. What will lead them closer to God? What will bring them closer to reaching heaven? How would God want us to treat and act towards that person?
This act can be shown in so many different ways, and it is not just present in marriages or relationships. It can be seen in friendships, family relationships, work relationships…even a simple encounter with a stranger. Some simple examples could be being aware of what environment we allow ourselves to be in when battling temptations in relationships, or how our actions and dress can affect one another. It could be something as simple as saying a positive statement or a complement about a person instead of gossiping about them in a group of friends. It could be praying for that co-worker that is always on your case, and making the effort to always respond to them in kindness rather than quick snaps. It could be smiling and wishing the cashier a good day. And yes some can be more difficult than others, but it is the cost and effect of our actions that completely overcome the struggle of the actions themselves.
Love is not merely a feeling of warm and fuzzy and happy butterflies, it is the act of the will. Completely pure and unconditional. Everyday when we wake-up, every person we see, we make a choice to either show them love or not. What choice will you make?
Choose to LOVE, like Jesus loved.
– John, P. (1981). Love and responsibility. New York: Farrar, Straus, Giroux.
NOTE: This is part of a 4 part series on “What is Love?”
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