Many Christians are now observing the season of Lent. Lent is a time of change. We spend more time in prayer and reflection asking God to help us become more loving, more forgiving and less selfish.
Lent should help us to become the totally loving persons God wants us to be.
Thomas Merton reminds us, “To say that I am made in the image of God is to say that love is the reason for my existence, for God is love. Love is my true identity. Selflessness is my true self. Love is my true character. Love is my name.
“If, therefore, I do anything or think anything or say anything or know anything that is not purely for the love of God, it cannot give me peace, or rest, or fulfillment, or joy.”
Whatever observances we do during Lent should help us to become more like God, more loving. That’s the only way to obtain true happiness.
Recently, “Beliefnet” published 10 love quotations from various cultures throughout the centuries. I would like to share these with you and make some comments of my own.
1) “You yourself, as much as anybody in the universe, deserve your love and affection.” – The Buddha.
Every person has value. We must appreciate our own value and worth if we are to love others.
2) “This world is nothing but a school of love; our relationships with our husband or wife, with our children and parents, with our friends and relatives are the university in which we are meant to learn what love and devotion truly are.” – Swami Muktananda. When Jesus was asked what is the great commandment, he answers that we should love God, our neighbor and ourselves. Religion is all about relationships.
3) “Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.” – Rumi.
The fear of being hurt often builds walls that prevent relationships from taking place. We have to remove these barriers and take risks.
4) “You may try a hundred things, but love alone will release you from yourself. So never flee from love – not even from love in an earthly guise – for it is a preparation for the supreme Truth.” – Yiddish saying.
5) “Do not waste time bothering whether you ‘love’ your neighbor; act as if you did. When we do this, we find one of the great secrets. When you are behaving as if you loved someone, you will presently come to love him.” – C.S. Lewis.
Good practical advice!
6) “Love never claims, it ever gives; love never suffers, never resents; never revenges itself. Where there is love there is life; hatred leads to destruction.” – Mahatma Ghandi.
That’s why Jesus told us to love our enemies. Hatred in our hearts destroys us.
7) “If our love is only a will to possess, it is not love. If we only think of ourselves, if we know only our own needs and ignore the needs of the other person, we cannot love.” – Thich Nhat Hanh.
St. Paul told us that love is patient, kind, and not envious, boastful, arrogant, rude, irritable or resentful. Love does not insist on doing it “my way.”
8) “Bearing and nurturing, Creating but not owning, Giving without demanding, Controlling without authority, This is love.” – Tao Te Ching.
9) “From every human being there rises a light that reaches straight to heaven, and when two souls destined to be together find each other, the streams of light flow together and a single brighter light goes forth from that united being.” – Ba’al Shem Tov
10) “When two love each other, the very angels leave heaven to visit their home and sing for joy.” – Brahman proverb
Have a great, loving Lent!