by Sister Jean Schwieters
For some time, now, I have stared at the word, LOVE wondering what I could say about it. It is a difficult word to tackle because it has come to mean so many different things to so many different persons – pleasure, passion, affection, devotion, gratification, delight, admiration, inspiration, romance, attachment, fondness, desire, tenderness, infatuation, yearning, idolatry and even abuse. In theology we speak of it as a virtue. In relationships we honor it as a source of power. Most often we refer to it as a feeling, a feeling, I believe, that is buried deep inside us and makes itself felt in a variety of experiences. Little by little it rises to the surface and we are made to deal with it. We can deny it; we can squelch it; we can enter into its lure and allow it to grow and expand within us until it spills over and reaches into the lives of others.
As always I go to my mentor, Francis of Assisi, to see what his life tells me about it. For Francis LOVE was God. And within us, who have been created in God’s image and likeness, a spark of the Divine resides. If we allow that spark to ignite we find that it sheds light on moments of darkness; it opens doors when we feel lost and abandoned; it keeps us restless when we search for answers to perplexing questions; it pushes us into pathways of mystery where we struggle to know what appears unanswerable. But, most of all LOVE enters into every relationship we form with humans and creatures alike. It motivates us to get involved when danger threatens our lives and the life of our planet. It reshapes our lives when we have grown indifferent and comfortable with the status quo. It places unwanted questions in our psyche that won’t go away until we deal with them. It energizes us when we discover a new way of seeing the persons we are in relationship with. It gives us the courage to address issues we would rather walk away from.
Because LOVE is God, it never ends. Love is a bottomless reservoir, a never completed journey, a space within us with no dimensions. Like all of us, Francis stumbled over the obstacles he himself placed in the way. He struggled to show God’s face to those who resisted or demanded or refused to mirror back the Divine Image. However, he always insisted on love between his followers, no matter what the treatment they received. Throughout his life he surrendered to the call of LOVE. And in the end his whole person reflected the image of Love crucified. He truly became a mirror of God who is LOVE.
Written by Sister Jan Kilian, this blog will give an understanding of what it’s like to be Franciscan. Living out the spirit of Saint Francis, we see all God’s creation as brother and sister. We, Franciscan Sisters of Little Falls, are committed to building relationships and community, ministering wherever there is greatest need, promoting justice and healing Mother Earth’s wounds. My writings will give a glimpse of the compassion, spirituality, interconnectedness and goodness of living Franciscan.