Love is of many kinds: the sweet kind we all are familiar with and often sing its praises, but also, according to the columnist of the "View from the Ark, the kind that hurts but makes us grow.
He came to
this conclusion back in 1987 when, as one of two seminarians, he was
assigned to a country mission station that ministered to 70 Catholic
families. They were mostly farmers, some well-off, but
most were living a life of poverty. The area was part of the country
was not helped much by the development taking place in
Korea.The village was mostly Catholic but the relationship with the
other villagers was very warm. The pastor told the two seminarians that
they would be learning a lot from their time spent with the Christians.
children especially were very open to the seminarians. He tells us that
the older seminarian was much better looking than he was and the girls
showed this in the way they reacted with him. This left the columnist
sad but he kept this to himself. Three attractive girls everyone called
the three musketeers would come to visit them often in their
place of residence. They were like any third year middle school student,
boisterous and talkative. He especially remembered a girl named
Helena, and wonders what she would be doing now. When she came to the
chapel, she would sit in the back without a word, and then leave.
day before the seminarians were to leave, they said goodbye to all the
parishioners, including the three musketeers, who were
there all day, chattering at their side. Next day the catechist prepared
a farewell meal for the departing seminarians. That evening, when they
were about to go out to eat, the columnist saw Helena walking back
and forth outside the mission station. He approached her and told her to
be good and tapped her on the shoulder; she yelled out that she
didn't want to be good, she loved him. He was flabbergasted.
When it came time to leave, Helena was not there.
reminiscing on this long-ago incident, the columnist reminds himself
that love is not always sweet. At times it's sharp and piercing, and it
hurts. But it's this kind of love, he says, that helps us grow.
finishes the column with the words of Simeon to Mary, "This child is
destined to be the downfall and the rise of many in Israel, a sign that
will be opposed, and you yourself shall be pierced with a sword so that
the thought of many hearts may be laid bare."
God's love for us
in Jesus was the love that hurt, similar to the love of parents for
the child who continues to cause trouble. Love also is the effort to
return to a harmonious relationship when this has broken down. The
Blessed Mother, with the pain that came from much in her life,
exemplified the graces from this kind of love. Similarly, the piercing
of our hearts is often the sign of God's grace.