This morning I read an article from Catholic Education Resource Center written by Donald Demarco. He talked about love and reason, favorite topics in this blog.
De Marco's thoughts made me think again of Benedict's enlightening point on how love grows. As far back as 2007 I have been emphasizing this insight of Benedict XVI's Deus Caritas Est: Anyone who wishes to give love must also receive love as a gift.
It is a new formulation of the classic nemo dat quod non habet, we cannot give what we don't have. But Benedict's is a more precise insight into reality, because he starts from the key and all-encompassing principle of all reality: God is love and we -- who want to be better -- are merely made in his image.
And so for us to live his life of love, we have to follow the "design" that is at the heart of the Trinity, the design specifically of God the Son who is the prototype of all humans. Jesus receives everything from the Father and so he is able to give to the Father and to all of us, everything from the Father. He is able to give love because he receives love. We, too, if we are to give love, have to receive God's life of love.
The key then is: how do we receive God's life of love?
This quote from Benedict's talk in Britain can give us the answer:
We were made to receive love, and we have. Every day we should thank God for the love we have already known, for the love that has made us who we are, the love that has shown us what is truly important in life. We need to thank the Lord for the love we have received from our families, our friends, our teachers, and all those people in our lives who have helped us to realise how precious we are, in their eyes and in the eyes of God.
We were also made to give love, to make it the inspiration for all we do and the most enduring thing in our lives. At times this seems so natural, especially when we feel the exhilaration of love, when our hearts brim over with generosity, idealism, the desire to help others, to build a better world. But at other times we realise that it is difficult to love; our hearts can easily be hardened by selfishness, envy and pride. Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta, the great Missionary of Charity, reminded us that giving love, pure and generous love, is the fruit of a daily decision. Every day we have to choose to love, and this requires help, the help that comes from Christ, from prayer and from the wisdom found in his word, and from the grace which he bestow on us in the sacraments of his Church.
The answer is simple. From where do we receive love? "from Christ, from prayer and from the wisdom found in his word, and from the grace which he bestow on us in the sacraments of his Church."
Let's read and meditate on the Bible daily and do lectio divina: ask what God is saying in those words and respond to his message with our own words of praise, thanksgiving, contrition, love, and so on. Scriptures is the privileged place for experiencing and receiving Christ.
And let's go to confession often, as often as possible, because it is there where we receive God's life of love --whose kernel is mercy-- in great abundance.
And let's receive Caritas himself in holy communion daily, and experience the fire of God's love in person.
It is only then when we will be tireless like Mother Teresa, John Paul II and St. Josemaria, in giving our lives to others.