Love becomes a Child
Date: December 2, 2006 , Originally published November, 2001
Author: Sr. Stefania Consoli
Love, sung, prayed, and proclaimed, has always been the object of man’s attention. To tell the truth, love is the only thing we seek and really need. Lack of love is the root of every conflict whether personal, or a family or world affair. If every person were to fully enjoy a portion of the love for which he was created, no one would ever bother to attack another, but he would simply love!
We are all needy of love, and we passionately seek it, though we rarely find it in its most authentic and pure form. We are speaking of gratuitous love, the love that loves to love and be loved; the liberating love, the kind that doesn’t ask you to be different from what you are to make you feel loved; the love that satisfies, because it comes to you first without making you beg for it; the love that, in short, nourishes the unsuppressible need that we all have; that dampens the attack of other, unhealthy types of appetite.
More or less aware of this deep yearning, we consume our existence waiting and hoping, chasing after it and even pretending it. Some even sell themselves for a few pennies for the sake of a caress despite the squalid egoism of it all. But what do we really seek? A feeling, a sensation, the pleasure of a moment? Have we ever thought that perhaps we ought to concern ourselves with WHO we should seek and not what we find for indeed, love isn’t a perceivable energy, but a living and real person!
“God is love” wrote St. John (1Jn 4:8). This is both our starting and finishing line. It is where we will finally find what we are seeking: God the person, a conscious and free Being that enters into relationship with us, who communicates with us. Love is no longer fruit of a relationship, but Love is the subject and the object of the relationship.
Once we have understood this, everything changes since we know with certainty the time and place of the encounter: the Eternal One in our own time; the Infinite One in our own space. He comes to us in a thousand ways, known and unknown. He is always new, yet constantly faithful to Himself. He is the living love of the Scriptures; love at work in the Sacraments; the one and only love throughout history who adapts Himself to each person to be closer to each of us in our personal needs. He makes Himself known so that no one should remain indifferent to His touch which warms, vivifies, transforms.
He is a person; He is Love; He is free to come and to go, to hide Himself or to let Himself be found. Though He cannot be commanded, by a beseeching heart He is disarmed, irresistibly attracted, and becomes the defenceless prisoner of our expectations.
This is the meaning of Advent which is about to begin: the expectation of an encounter with Him for whom we yearn. He is Love in the form of a little baby; little so He can enter each of us and transform us into His crib, His temple and tabernacle where He can become truly the Emmanuel. In this holy time certainty springs from hope: at Christmas Love is born. There is no doubt, however, we can accept Him only if – like the shepherds – we heed the announcement. We can love Him only if – like Mary – we allow ourselves to become involved, and our plans even upset . We shall know how to keep Him if – like Joseph – we set aside the rule to listen to the Spirit. We shall know how to adore Him if – like the Magi – we accept to leave our kingdoms and bend down over His poverty.
He, then, will enter into our lives to establish His dwelling place. We shall find peace in the certainty that we are loved by Love Himself; that He will never abandon or betray or blackmail us, but will continue to repeat to us: “The Lord your God is in your midst, a warrior who gives victory; he will rejoice over you with gladness, he will renew you in his love; he will exult over you with loud singing as on a day of festival.” (Zeph 3:17)