I’ve been wanting to write about love. It seemed like something I needed to do in response to the growing hateful, fear-filled outlandish messages bombarding the news. Especially from our political candidates.
My heart hurts as I hear entire groups of people being lambasted. For their religion. Or their race. Or the color of their skin. Based on misconceptions and downright lies.
I wonder where are the voices of reason and common sense? Where is the voice of love?
I’ve been thinking about Pope Francis and his visit to the U.S. It’s hard to believe he was here only months ago. Addressing Congress with words of tolerance, acceptance, mercy, and compassion. People seemed to embrace him and his message. Members of Congress were suddenly quoting him. Including my own Congressman Robert Hurt from Virginia.
Back in late September, Congressman Hurt was saying what an honor it was to meet the Pope and how his message, “reminded us of our obligation to help those who are in need, treat our fellow man with respect and dignity, and do our best to pass on the great blessings we have receive to future generations.”
Apparently my Congressman has forgotten his own words because these days he’s proposing anything but that. Maybe he thought Pope Francis was referring only to our obligation to care for American children and America’s future. That somehow closing off our borders to desperate refugee children and their parents is acceptable. That opening our hearts to those outside our borders escaping extreme violence and life-threatening situations — like the refugees from Syria and Central America — is not our obligation.
Many have joined him. Some voices have been shouting: “We have to take care of our own first.”
Well, I’m not getting on that bandwagon.
Because this is not about me and mine. This is about us. The human race. It’s about learning the lesson of meeting people where they are. With tolerance. Acceptance. An open mind. And love.
It’s not easy. But it’s why I’m here. To learn to love. And to follow the One who came to earth over 2,000 years ago to teach us about love. If I proclaim to follow him, then I have to be love in this world. As best as I can.
I came here to love. That is all. It is the hardest thing. And it is everything.
Funny thing. Pope Francis mentioned four famous Americans in his remarks to Congress. Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King Jr., Thomas Merton, and Dorothy Day. Each of them had something to say about love when they were alive. Their words speak to what’s happening now in our country. And to why it’s important that we speak out and be the voice of love in the world. Read some of their quotes below.
Then ask yourself, as we come upon this season of Christmas, what does the birth of Love Incarnate mean in my life?
It is only love that can overcome the fear that is at the root of all war.
“Love and ever more love is the only solution to every problem that comes up. If we love each other enough, we will bear with each other’s faults and burdens. If we love enough, we are going to light that fire in the hearts of others. And it is love that will burn out the sins and hatreds that sadden us. It is love that will make us want to do great things for each other. No sacrifice and no suffering will then seem too much.” (From Dorothy Day, Selected Writings)
“We must cry out against injustice or by our silence consent to it. If we keep silent, the very stones of the street will cry out.” –Dorothy Day