To Be Able To Love
There is no force in this world that can resist kindness and love. There is no hate that will not vanish when faced with love’s advance. Which is stronger: fire or water? Hate is a fire; forgiveness is water. Have you ever seen fire overcome water? When the two confront each other, fire succumbs. Water is stronger than fire! When people say, “All is lost,” hope raises its head to shout, “Everything begins here!”
In order to love, the first condition is to not love yourself uncontrollably or exclusively. Selfishness contradicts love, and the offspring of selfishness are: pride, vanity, jealousy, everything for me and nothing for you, using others, not serving anyone, desires of appropriating another’s success…the list is endless. These instincts are what sets one brother against the other. They separate, obscure, obstruct, and destroy love and unity.
Only Jesus can reach down into the depths where instincts reside, calm the waves, control those savage impulses and transform them into love.
When one is careless, at the moment least expected, instinctive impulses surge forth; for example, being reticent with a brother or sister; minimizing the prestige of the self-sufficient; screaming out here; maintaining a tight, hostile look so that the person knows that I know; later on being ironic in order to bother an unpleasant person; taking secret vengeance for an old injury; reacting with a bad mood; evading that person that I find disagreeable.
If we do not give ourselves a heads up during those moments, and say to ourselves: this is not Jesus’ way, example or precept; remembering that Jesus returned good for evil, maintained His dignity and silence when facing the tribunals; and even more, seeing the manner in which he treated the traitor, looked at Peter, forgave seventy times seven; was compassionate and merciful with human frailty… only in that way, by being alert, can the negative impulses be transformed into the energies of compassion and receptivity. Only then can we begin to transform our personality, to soften our character.
By clinging to Jesus, we will firmly enter the path of true love.
Based on the text Franciscan Spirituality by Father Ignacio Larrañaga