Love has a power all its own, a fortitude that bears the worst of circumstances and invites a deep appreciation for other, an understanding that welcomes flaws and celebrates strengths. It has an intuitive sense of wholeness and an ability to promote growth, individuation, and strength. For human beings, it is also complicated, enmeshed in needs and desires, illusions and realities. But in its purest form, birthed in the divine and a measure of grace, love is the pathway for understanding the past, surviving the present and looking into the future.
There is a concerted swirl of circumstances just now that can devour reason and critical thinking and undermine confidence in the efficacy of love. Anger and frustration on all sides, fear and trepidation on many can prevent openness to one another, and setting those aside can prove more than impossible. That is exactly where Paul’s letter to the Romans. 8: 26-27, whispers of a respite.
“And as well as this, the Spirit too comes to help us in our weakness, for, when we do not know how to pray properly, then the Spirit personally makes our petitions for us in groans that cannot be put into words;https://www.catholic.org/bible/daily_reading/?select_date=2020-07-19
Giving over to God, taking a moment of rest to acknowedge our weakness, is more than a step towards loving self more fully. Trusting the Spirit to pray for us in those moments when we are most unable to do so invokes the trust and honesty that are so much a part of loving. It enables us to connect to God with the confidence of love and the truth of the moment, to maintain the relationship in even the most frustrating times of brokenness.
Love is about becoming; each step begins the journey of a lifetime, and our lives are created through the choices made. Who, what, and how we love matters as we weave the tapestry of lifetimes. Consciousness of those personal choices, our motives and convictions, as well as the consequences of our choices matters. We become who we are through the relationships we develop, the endings and new beginnings, the giving and the taking. Mysteries abound in every fiber, but the presence of God in the reality of love abides. And in our weakness, the Spirit is there to speak for us. So Paul says.
As in all things, each of us has the agency to make choices. There are social, cultural, and economic parameters, but the chance to choose is always there. In these challenging times, Catholicism offers that reassurance. We need not struggle alone: the Spirit is strength in our weakness and light in our darkness. Love is the gift that empowers us to view the world and our options within it most clearly. Love expands empathy and explores understanding, re-evaluates threats and makes clear decisions. Love is honest and truthful and willing to confront cost for growth. It is personal and far more than that. Love makes the difference, and the Spirit helps make that happen.