Monday, December 19, 2011

What to do when there is no love

Love makes the world go round. This can be a mushy sentiment carelessly tossed out by hopeless romantics, but it does have a certain truth in it.

Of course, they way that many people choose to define “love” can also be the cause of a lot of the world’s troubles and turmoils, but I won’t get into that in this blog reflection. But on many levels, the seasons of Advent and Christmas are indeed the seasons of love. However, I wonder if there are many out there who think this way.

After all, what was the world waiting for when it was being prepared for the coming of the Messiah, but arrival of someone who would change the world. Change what? Among many things, the way the world loved before. It needed a model of selfless love that would be the ultimate overturning of sin and selfishness that was the root cause of mankind’s miseries in life.

It was St John of the Cross, whose feast we celebrated sometime last week who said one of the most poignant things that one could say about love. In one of his writings, he said so profoundly “where there is no love, put love, and then you will find love”.

That is what God did in the incarnation. This is what Advent and the continuing season of Advent celebrates, if we want a succinct spirituality behind it. In our weak and selfish ways, we had been incapable of loving as God created us to love, and this required of God to show us just how to do it through an example par excellent. It was as if God was looking on in the world and could not find love in its pristine form. Dismayed and wanting to lead the world out of its mess, out of mercy, God decidedly put love into the world, and there found love.

While the world seems to be more intent on taking love, God reverses it and puts it in - in Christ. It’s as if the cogs of love were suddenly made to turn in the opposite direction, and it changed everything. The incarnation then becomes the love overturning everything that is the antithesis of love - hatred, envy, violence, revenge, selfishness, sloth, greed, and most of all, fear.

This then, has to be our shared quest as disciples of Christ. There are many places, I am sure, where you and I find little or no love. It’s far too easy to complain, criticize or to be cynical about it. If we do find love lacking there, our call is to, as John of the Cross said, put love in.

Then we will find love. Like God did. Have a blessed last week of Advent joy, everybody!


  1. Thank you Fr for your sharing on putting love where love is missing...Christmas is always so peaceful with the simplicity of the nativity scene, abundant love that is in the air and the immense hope it brings...

    Will try to read more on St John of the Cross...

    Blessed Christmas to Special Fr Luke and all wonderful readers of this blog...Mat & family.

  2. Even before I was baptised, I could feel a certain magic in the air whenever Christmas came around. I don't think it was the Christmas carols and jingles playing on the radio or shipping centers, nor the many catalogues and advertisement on gifts and fashion for the season, nor the joy of going about buying Christmas gifts (yes, non-believers exchange gifts too). Somehow, the world got a bit softer, acts of kindness increased, and the yearn for peace and goodwill amplified when Christmas approaches.

    Like it or not, I believe the world is reminded of this special act of God, of him coming down to become man, to be with us, to love us and to save us. Knowingly or unknowingly, man has gravitate towards this love that God has put onto the world.

    Now that I am baptised, I realised what this "magic in the air" is. It is Christ.

    Fr Luke - May the peace, hope, joy and love warm your soul this Christmas.

  3. Thank you, Father, for this beautiful post... and the beautiful quote from St. John of the Cross.

    May God bless you!

  4. I’ve never tired of reading this beautiful Scripture text “God is love’’ ( 1Jn 4:8)....yet each reading leaves me with a certain restiveness , and craving to know more about this deep mystery- which is God. No wonder Moses, Elijah & many other greats in the Scriptures are always keening to see Him !

    Then someone passed me a book by Kreeft – where he said, God’s very essence is LOVE - “ nowhere else does Scripture express God’s essence in this way. Scripture says God is just and merciful, but it does not say that God is justice itself or mercy itself. It does say that God is Love, not just a lover. Love is God’s very essence. Everything else is a manifestation of this essence to us, a relationship between this essence and us......’’ And then, as with R Barron he goes on to expound that “Love requires a lover, a beloved , and the act of loving.....’’ – which thus leaves us with the logical conclusion for God to be Love itself !

    I was pondering on your reference to St John of the Cross writings –‘where there is no love, put love, and then you will find love’- which you termed as being profound and poignant – now I do see a glimmer of what you might be referring to – thank you !
    I also treasure the writings of St John of the Cross. Many of his works are so quotable - I would like to share this -
    “In the twilight of our lives, we will be judged on how we have loved.’’

    Wishing you a very blessed and holy Christmas dear Fr Luke !


  5. NC Sue took the words right out of my typing hands :) Wishing you a Happy and Holy and Blessed Christmas. I've gained much guidance and comfort from your blog through the years and look forward to more posts from you. From a former parishioner.