February 11, 2005

Faithful Lines / Shirley Vogler Meister

Looking for love in all the right places

The title above is the name of a program that I will present near Valentine’s Day for a group of Quaker friends. I chose this subject because for days a song stuck in my mind: Looking for Love in All the Wrong Places. Research attributed this to a performer named Marc Almond. Although I did not enjoy learning about him, I do think his words are a good warning.

Granted, anyone trying to live in the light of Christ already knows where not to look for love. Example: the countless evil sources on the Internet.

However, when I began searching for love in the right places, the Internet was too helpful. Nearly 7 million sites became available when asking for “love in the Bible.” Forgetting that, I instinctively went to the best-known Biblical passage about love—1 Cor 13:1-13—often choosen for weddings. I share only a condensed version, relying on readers to check the entire passage in the First Book of Corinthians.

“If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am like a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal … If I have all faith so as to move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing … Love is patient and kind; love is not jealous or boastful; it is not arrogant or rude; it is not irritable or resentful… it rejoices in right. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things …”

1 Cor 14 begins with “Make love your aim … ” That’s what Blessed Mother Teresa did. (She founded the Mission­aries of Charity order in Calcutta and earned the Nobel Peace Prize and the U.S. Medal of Freedom.)

Mother Teresa: In My Own Words, published by Gramercy Books/Random House in 1996 (the year before she died), has a chapter on her love, including: “If you really love one another, you will not be able to avoid making sacrifices ... do not be afraid of loving to the point of sacrifice, until it hurts.” (Jesus did.) And “We will be judged according to love—judged according to the love we have shown the poor, with whom God identifies …” (Please read Mt 25:40).

Going into the Lenten season, I will focus on love and sacrifice as best I can no matter what I’m doing—and I want to choose all the right places in which to do this.

I will also try to remember this passage, also Mother Teresa’s: “God has created us so we do small things with great love. I believe in that great love that … should come from our heart(s), should start at home with my family, my neighbors … and this love should then reach everyone.”

(Shirley Vogler Meister, a member of Christ the King Parish in Indianapolis, is a regular columnist for The Criterion.)



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