Sunday 11 February 2018

High Cost of Love

Cost of Love

The joyful love that satisfies the soul with happiness will depend on suffering. There is absolutely no love with no renunciation.

44 And he turned to the woman, and said unto Simon, Seest thou this woman? I entered into thine house, thou gavest me no water for my feet: but she hath washed my feet with tears, and wiped them with the hairs of her head. 45 Thou gavest me no kiss: but this woman since the time I came in hath not ceased to kiss my feet. 46 My head with oil thou didst not anoint: but this woman hath anointed my feet with ointment. 47 Wherefore I say unto thee, Her sins, which are many, are forgiven; for she loved much: but to whom little is forgiven, the same loveth little. 48 And he said unto her, Thy sins are forgiven. 49 And they that sat at meat with him began to say within themselves, Who is this that forgiveth sins also? 50 And he said to the woman, Thy faith hath saved thee; go in peace.   -Luke 7:44-50 (KJV)

There was a song when I was growing up called "Love Stinks" and though it was talking more about infatuation, there is some truth to the idea.

For love is a commitment, knowing that commitment usually entails us to go without, to make sacrifices, to lay all we are on the line, in order to genuinely take care of the one we love.

Parents know this very well, as they will go without to provide for their children,  From little things like watching television shows their kids like, and not watching the ones they want to because they are inappropriate for their child's ears and eyes.   Teachers who give up time to plan, or to think of how to reach "that" student understand this as well. 

It is a puzzle, a contradiction, that waiting or refusing your happiness in the interests of the one you love can bring about much more joy, greater happiness.

The woman in the gospel reading found this out. She did something very costly, anointing Jesus feet with oils that cost her much, oils she most likely bought to treat herself well, to help her ignore the discomfort of life, after having suffered the embarrassment of submitting to others desires.

However, in the wonder of God's mercy, she sacrificed the benefit of her labours to take care of Jesus with love, to absolutely adore the Man who didn't push her away.  Perhaps she was one of several people invited to Zaccheus' house, one of many sinners Jesus was accused of drinking and eating with by the Pharisees. She tried to pay back that love, with the most expensive thing she knew of, by using an action of love that demonstrated how much she reverend the man that didn't want sex from her, and still spoke with her and interacted with her.

The suffering that loves costs is high, and often it stinks.  However when it comes to loving God, what it really demands, though pleasurable, or rewarding, is really what stops us from finding joy.  We go without having pleasure, without having gain, to get ourselves free.

Just at the prostitute seen herself free of sin, and humiliation, and sense of guilt.   Instead, she knew love, and that she was welcomed in the presence of God. She gave up what was costly and pleasurable and found a joy so much greater, and happiness that comes from being accepted and loved.

knowing this, realizing it in our heart, gives us the motivation, the ability to desire to give up what we need to give up.  Not because we have to, but for the joy set before us, the same joy that drove Jesus to endure the cross, for us.

Lord, help us to embrace you, receiving your love.  And as our love and adoration "costs" us, help us to realize the joy that comes from knowing that love.  AMEN!


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Credit: Escriva, Josemaria. The Forge (Kindle Locations 2743-2745). Scepter Publishers. Kindle Edition.

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