Mt. Vernon Register-News


February 28, 2014

Real love should indeed hurt

‘Do you have another dollar?”

I honestly heard it a second too late.

But why?

And what’s “too late,” anyway?

Outside some urban churches, a man or woman — quite often multiple men and women — will reliably ask for money, particularly right before and after Mass.

You might even get asked while praying inside.

On this particular day, I had seen two men, one holding a cup, as I was leaving. I smiled, and he asked if I had a dollar. I did, and gave it to him, along with a little coin and message from St. Rose of Lima. I smiled at a second man, but he seemed to be otherwise occupied, and so I kept walking. A few strides from him, I realized he was addressing me. It seemed awkward to turn around. It would have been the loving thing to do, to stay and talk, to be present — to be Christian, for heaven’s sake.

We blithely pass by many people daily without actually encountering them. Cashiers, waiters, strangers on the street. How many of us have sick or imprisoned friends we don’t think we have time to visit? Maybe it’s a modern thing. Maybe it’s fallout from the fact that we can have thousands of “friends” today with whom we never even interact?

I went to church with Howard Jones’ ‘80s pop tune “What is Love?” in my head. It’s a good question, one that many people have tried to answer.

We talk about real love because our senses are drawn to it. But actually living it is what we need.

As Pope Francis reminds us, love draws from the depths of our hearts and requires a vulnerability and sacrifice. Love hurts — that’s another golden oldie of the music charts. Yes, love involves joy and then some. But what does love look like in the everyday and in the longterm?

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