True love and zero bitterness PDF Print E-mail
Saturday, 11 November 2017 14:05

REFLECTION

 

THEY go together like inseparable twins. If love is true, then there will be zero bitterness even if a lot of pain and suffering are involved. Authentic love, which can only reflect God’s unconditional love for us, will make things sweet and meaningful.

True love, as St. Paul describes it, “takes no pleasure in evil, but rejoices in the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.” (1 Cor 13,6-7)

We have to learn to be patient in handling the contradicting reactions to all the goodness that we may be doing. We just have to look for an alternative way in resolving issues and situations like this.

This was the case of Christ when his apostles suggested that fire rain down on a Samaritan village that did not welcome them since they were heading to Jerusalem. (cfr Lk 9,51-56) As the gospel puts it, Christ rebuked the apostles and they journeyed instead to another village.

We have to be careful with the phenomenon that is called bitter zeal. It is the wrong zeal of intending to do good but discarding the requirements and details of charity. It is Machiavellian in spirit.

Bitter zeal makes a person hasty and reckless in his assessment of things. It makes him fail to consider all angles, to listen to both sides, so to speak. He is prone to imprudence.

Inflammatory, incendiary words are his main weapons. Being belligerent is his style. He relishes in rousing controversies and sowing intrigues. He’s actually not as interested in looking for the objective truth and justice as in carrying out his own personal cause.

He is prone to keeping resentments and to being unable to forget the perceived wrongs done on him. He finds it hard to understand, much less, forgive others in their mistakes. He likes to exact vengeance of the tit-for-tat type, evil for evil.

We have to learn the art of loving with the love of God as shown by Christ on the cross. It is a love that is patient, willing to suffer for the others. It is gratuitously given, even if it is not reciprocated.

We have to make sure that we are always burning with the zeal of love. We have the danger to fall easily into complacency, lukewarmness, mediocrity. We should always be on the lookout for these perils.

We need to fill our mind and heart with love, and all that love brings—goodness, patience, understanding and compassion, mercy, gratuitous acts of service, generosity and magnanimity.

Yes, there’s effort involved here. Great, tremendous effort, in fact. But all this stands first of all on the terra firma that is God’s grace, which is always given to us in abundance if we care to ask and receive it. Nothing human, no matter how well done, would prosper unless it is infused also with God’s grace.

We have to be wary of conforming ourselves, whether openly or subtly, intentionally or mindlessly, to worldly ways, to mere social trends, or to some inertia generated merely physically, hormonally, economically, politically, culturally, historically, etc.

The zeal of love should always come out fresh from the heart, fresh from its real and ultimate source who is God. It’s always new, original, virginal, creative and productive, never bitter. Love, if it is real, can never grow old and stale, it cannot be just a copycat. It likes to renew itself perpetually, without getting tired.