Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Love is Everything

A priest working in religious education for the diocese writes about  going beyond objective and subjective thinking in an article in Bible & Life. His office was a five minute walk from his sleeping quarters; last year for a number of reasons he moved to the diocesan rectory. Now, the trip to the  office takes him about 20 minutes by car and if he takes public transportation, the 12 kilometers, round trip, takes about one hour of traveling time. Most people would not  consider this a long distance. For him, however, it was long.

He recalls the words of a  song that mentioned love and friendship: "the distance was far from love and closer than friendship, not a lover nor a friend it was an awkward distance." He wants to see the distance he has to travel to the office more or less with this understanding.

The distance he has to travel is just perfect to  protect, defend and excuse himself. When he is late for a meeting, the long distance becomes an excuse, and  when he begs for a ride to his sleeping quarters it is then, only a short distance from the office, it wont take long. He admits having the shameless courage to utter these words. For the priest the objective reality of the distance has no meaning. He can make it mean what he wants. His subjective needs always come first, the objective concedes.

One day on his way to work at one of the  intersections, waiting for a green light  his attention was riveted on a beautiful melody he was hearing on the radio. When the light changed, without thought, he put his foot on the accelerator, and slightly hit the bumper of the car in front. His mistake.They pulled off to the side of the road and checked the damage. There were no scratches on either bumper. Since there was no damage they took pictures and  exchanged addresses and telephone numbers. The driver of the car was a young woman on her way to  work; she said she would notify him.

That day there was no call from the woman and he thought that all was resolved, but that evening about 8 o'clock a call came from a man who said he was the young woman's older brother. The accident, he said, so frightened his sister she was not able to do her daily exercises, she will have to go to the hospital tomorrow. He then mentioned the damaged  bumper and on he went, making  no sense to the priest.At the end he said let us agree on 300 dollars, and he gave his  bank account number and hung up. The priest was at fault and no matter what he thought, said or did wouldn't make any difference. He was angry and it took him, he says, much time and effort to calm down.

He was in a  similar accident some years ago when  a woman in her 50s hit his bumper in the rear when  they stopped at a red light. The shock was great but no big accident. He got out of the car to look at the bumper there was a  little scratch. The woman driver was ready to cry. He told her all was well, to regain composure, sent her on her way, and told her to be careful.

He was big-hearted, able to understand the difficulties of the woman, to comfort her in her distress, and here now he is filled with anger. He thought of all the bad things about the situation and his own carelessness was forgotten, and just thought of the blackmailing(?) of the brother and sister, and finally,with difficulty, put the issue aside.

Everything that happens to him he resolves in a subjective way and the reality of what happened always gives in to these subjective feelings. Love is no different. What I think is love is love, and little concern for what the reality is. Another person's pure act of charity often comes to him as hypocrisy.We can't give a numerical number to an objective act of charity. There is no fragrance that comes to us from these acts. Even judging on these acts in a subjective way is not sufficient. "There is no limit to love's forbearance, to its trust, its hope, its power to endure" (I Cor. 13:7). Love is everything. Without any partiality or bias when I am able to  fill myself with the above that will be love.

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