I have heard it said many times that, until you become a mother, you can’t imagine the love that you are capable of for your child. Sure, you love your spouse a ton—obviously enough to decide to spend the rest of your lives together, but the love a mother has for her child is fierce. Fierce because of the intensity, fierce because it changes who you are and the way you experience the world, and fierce because you would do anything to protect that little thing even if you had to face the very gates of hell to do it.
Tag archive: love
Batman is a loner. He’s the Dark Knight, moving through the shadows and being a vigilante all over the place. Even when the Justice League was formed (partly by his design), he didn’t want to be tied down by the responsibility of belonging. The LEGO Batman Movie is a hilarious and exciting exploration of Batman’s desire for solitude and his need for companionship.
Warning: Contains Spoilers
When it comes to the LEGO Batman Movie, everything is awesome. From the very first black frame to the last white frame, the movie was funny, action-packed and, as usual, had a fantastic moral component. The movie is all about family and offers terrific potential to talk to kids about the need to belong, the pain of loss, and the rewards of risking love.
Superman treats Bizarro, not like the monster that everyone else sees, but like a child who needs assistance.
If Superman turned on us, we’d be toast. I am not afraid of my hero turning bad because he constantly reveals his gentle nature and compassion for the small, the weak, and the needy. To me, Superman is the embodiment of love because he wills the good of all others—even though he really doesn’t have to.
In this Jubilee Year of Mercy, Pope Francis has called upon the Church to be a witness of God’s mercy to the world. Mercy is kindness that isn’t deserved. It’s forgiveness unearned. That’s what God’s love is all about. While on the cross, Jesus asked the Father to “forgive them, for they know not what they do.” (Lk 23:34) If you read the Gospels, this kind of mercy is rampant in Jesus’ personal encounters. Jesus recklessly, extravagantly lavished mercy on people who everybody else had either hated or just written off.
Across the world, parishes have been participating in the dedication of Mercy Doors decorated with symbols of God’s invitation of love to all people. It is a Jubilee tradition to cross thresholds and to return home (Leviticus 25). God’s mercy invites all who have been away—physically and spiritually—from God to come home again and experience the forgiveness and reconciliation of Christ. Our churches are meant to be the homes that children of God can return to, to be welcomed, loved and accepted. They are meant to be a threshold that people who have felt estranged from a sense of community to find the embrace of God.
Today’s readings share the theme of freely giving—sometimes with uncertainty of what will happen as a result of it, and sometimes in complete confidence that we will be taken care of as a result. The widow of Zarapheth took care of Elijah out of her own poverty—she and her son had only a tiny bit of food left and then they would not have any way of getting more—when Elijah appeared needing help. The law of hospitality at that time required that she should feed him and her heart said that she should, too. As a result, they were taken through their hard time and blessed with more food than they could have had if they didn’t share.
The second reading speaks of Jesus’ free giving of himself for our salvation—it was such a perfect gift that it only had to be given once to be effective.
Then, in the Gospel, Jesus makes an example of the woman who lived on a very fixed income offering all that she had—her security, her retirement, her everything—to God with no fanfare and no apparent trepidation. She appears perfectly free—not just in her giving—but in her trust that God will provide for her. There’s a certain economy in giving when it comes from a place of love—free for the one who is given to because there are no strings attached, and free for the giver because they attach no strings. It’s where true joy comes from because it is how we are most like God.
This Sunday’s readings are one of those rare and wonderful times when we hear an original story from the Hebrew Scriptures, and then Jesus quotes the story in his teaching. In the Book of Genesis we hear the second story of Creation when God creates the first man and woman, making them suitable partners for one another. We see that God intends for us to live in community, and that we thrive and are most fulfilled when we have others to share our lives with—particularly in the context of family. When questioned on divorce, Jesus affirms God’s intention for us, instructing us on the life-giving nature of marriage and the commitment, unity and salvation that marriage has to offer us. He also brings children to himself, embracing and blessing them, showing everyone what a special gift they are. They bring joy and holiness to a family and remind us of how we should interact with God—like children dependent on their loving Father.
Back in the day it sometimes happened that women who were in abusive marriages were forced to stay with their husbands because they had no means of supporting themselves and social stigma would have made life unbearable for them if they had left; leaving their own lives, and sometimes the lives of their children in danger. They were entirely reliant on their spouse. They didn’t remain in the marriage because they wanted to, or because they were freely choosing it; but because they were stuck, fearful and had no other viable options. Such a situation is not the life-giving vocation that God intended marriage to be, and is not the loving relationship that God wants for anyone.
God is entirely self-sufficient. God is perfect, unchanging, eternal, omniscient and omnipotent all by Himself. God doesn’t need you to be happy. God doesn’t need you to follow His laws to be fulfilled. God doesn’t exist because of you, and heaven will not fall apart if you don’t eventually wind up there. God will be perfectly content whether you ever offer Him anything or not.
God neither gains nor loses anything by being nice to us. God neither gains nor loses anything by us accepting or rejecting Him. That puts God in a very interesting position. It puts God in the position of true generosity, perfect freedom in gift giving and removes any motive from initiating a relationship with us except the motive of love. God created us entirely out of this self-giving love, but doesn’t need us to reciprocate to be happy. God desires that we reciprocate for our own benefit; because love desires the good of the other and always wants to share the joy that it possesses. But God will not cease to have joy simply because someone rejects it.
I had a couple of hours alone one evening this past week and boy, did I use it to the fullest! I watched, in perfect peace and in absolute control of the remote, “Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths.” It was delightful. Not only was it a great superhero story with lots of action and insight into Batman’s inner darkness, but there was an AMAZING scene between J’onn J’onzz and the alternate Earth’s President’s daughter, Rose.
The two felt a connection between them, and after spending some time together, discovered romantic feelings as well. Rose went to kiss J’onn to express her developing feelings, when he stopped her—and something beautiful happened…I looked and looked for a clip of this scene, but this printed dialogue was the best I could do:
J’onn J’onzz: I apologize for reading your mind before. It is considered extremely impolite to do so without permission.
Rose Wilson: I didn’t mind. It seemed, I don’t know, natural.
J’onn J’onzz: We are attuned. Our minds are in sync to a degree that was rare even among my own people. I never imagined I’d meet a human so complimentary to myself.
Rose Wilson: I feel it, attuned.
[Rose leans in to kiss him]
J’onn J’onzz: What are you doing?
Rose Wilson: Trying to kiss you. On Earth, it’s a way of sharing affection.
J’onn J’onzz: This is how we do it on Mars. Know me.
The Princess Bride was on TV the other night. No matter what else is happening in my life, if I’m flipping channels and I come across The Princess Bride, that’s as far as I’m going. I have the movie on DVD—I could watch it any time I want—without commercials. But, if I see it on TV, I’m watching it. It was playing in the background while I was working, and while I wasn’t paying 100% attention to it, it didn’t stop me from saying the lines along with the movie. When the wedding scene came on, however, I began to pay attention. It’s hilarious.
Everybody knows; and I’m sure Prince Humperdink would have remembered if he wasn’t so rushed and stressed, that this was not a valid marriage. But, poor Buttercup was so distraught that she lost sight of this fact. Thankfully, Buttercup has Westley to put it in perspective.