Monday, February 1, 2021

Practice of Love in Spirituality


 A pastor in the Eyes of the Believer column of the Catholic Times gives us the feelings he had on seeing the Korean Documentary on the Carthusian Cloistered Monastery that was screened in a TV series last year.

The documentary gives comfort and hope to those living with anxiety and depression due to Corona 19.  It shows the lives of 11 Carthusian friars of various nationalities viewed with great emotion and attention. A life of daily poverty of their own choosing in strict silence and solitude.

However, what made this video in the series even more attractive was the bishop emeritus, the first head of the Andong Diocese, explaining each scene of the video about the lives of the monks. You can get a glimpse of the faith of the bishop, over 90 years old, with a deep experience in life.

The most impressive thing in the series was the theme  "the practice of love in spirituality". A monk in his solitary cell finds a small bird outside and whistles through the window. A bird flies in and sits naturally on his finger. The bird plays on the monk's fingers eating the food. Then the bird flies off to the forest.

Bishop confesses he was greatly moved to see the monk and a small bird playing together. It is unusual for a bird to fly over to sit on a person's finger. You don't call out to a bird and it comes to sit on your hand. The little bird feels loved by the monk, so he flies to him and plays with ease feeling loved.  The bishop wants us to show this kind of love and invites  us all to become a "life that exudes love."

If you love animals to the point where they feel loved, of course, you will love God and your neighbors. If a person is affectionate to a dog but doesn't love the family or neighbors, the love for the dog is just a "self-centered love." If one is completely indifferent to the pain and suffering of their neighbors and turns a blind eye to them, the love is "selfish love". Cain loved God as much as Abel and offered his own sacrifice with all his heart, but it was a "possessive love" that killed his younger brother Abel. The recent 16-month-old death of an adopted child is the result of a "fake love" for the child of the adoptive parent. A person who exudes real love that even a small bird can feel, practices "agape love" that willingly gives themselves away always and anywhere.

Persons who show true love in this time of suffering from Corona 19, can endure this ordeal and live with hope. However, the reality seems to be that true love is disappearing as human relationships have become barren since our relationships because masks and distancing have promoted disconnection, division, confrontation, discrimination, and exclusion.

How can we have more people who show true love? Our little acts of charity and concern for others can be like the small mustard seed metaphor used by Jesus, a seed small and insignificant but later becomes a tree large enough for birds to dwell in.

One of the new items to be implemented in the parish this year the writer mentions the "Let's Praise!" program. Praise is a very good way to shape God's love for neighbor. We listen to Jesus countless times, "Love each other" (John 13,34), but we are not doing well in this area of life. He believes that smiling and greeting the other person first, caring for the other person's situation, and praising him/her for doing well, itself is a concrete expression of love. It is hoped the praise program will be means of experiencing the joy of the gospel at a time when we are struggling with "Corona Blue", like the " Butterfly Effect," where butterfly flaps can bring about big changes but these for the good.

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