WHAT IS TRUE LOVE?
AV Summary & text
Dear brethren in Christ, below you have an excerpt of Pope Francis’ off-the-cuff remarks during his meeting with young people in his Pastoral Visit to Turin in June 21, 2015 which I think would help a lot in opening the eyes of young and old alike on the nature of true love.
Briefly, Pope Francis told the young people gathered for the occasion saying that TRUE LOVE:
- Is more in DEEDSthat in words;
- It COMMUNICATES. It LISTENSand ANSWERS. It is lived in a communion. It is not a romantic fleeting moment;
- It RESPECTS PEOPLE, IT DOES NOT USEPEOPLE, I.E. LOVE IS CHASTE. This chaste love makes us HOLY.
- It is about making SACRIFICESfor others.
- It is SERVICE for others.
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+++POPE FRANCIS ADDRESS BEGINS HERE. TITLES & FORMATTING MINE.+++
- LOVE IS VERY RESPECTFUL OF PEOPLE: IT DOES NOT USE PEOPLE FOR ONE’S PLEASURE. IT IS CHASTE AND CONSIDERS THE OTHER PERSON SACRED.
- LOVE MAKES SACRIFICES FOR OTHERS. LOVE IS SERVICE.
But what is love? “Is it a soap opera, Father? What we see on tv programmes?” Some think that that is love. It is so good to speak of love, very beautiful, beautiful, beautiful things can be said. However, love has two axes on which it pivots, and if a person, a young person doesn’t have these two axes — these two dimensions of love — it’s not love.
First of all, love is more in works than in words: love is concrete. Two hours ago I spoke to the Salesian Family of the concreteness of their vocation — and I see that they feel young because they are here in front! They feel young! Love is concrete, it is more in deeds than in words. It’s not love to just say: “I love you, I love all people”. No. What do you do for love? Love gives itself. Consider that God began to speak of love when He engaged his people, when He chose his people, He made a covenant with his people, He saved his people, He forgave so many times — God has so much patience! — He did, He made gestures of love, works of love.
And the second dimension, the second axis on which love pivots is that love is always communicated, that is, love listens and responds, love is built in dialogue, in communion: it is communicated. Love is neither deaf nor mute, it communicates. These two dimensions are very useful to understand what love is, which is not a romantic sentiment of the moment or a story, no. It’s concrete, it’s in deeds. And it is communicated, that is, it is always in dialogue.
2. LOVE IS VERY RESPECTFUL OF PEOPLE: IT DOES NOT USE PEOPLE FOR ONE’S PLEASURE. IT IS CHASTE AND CONSIDERS THE OTHER PERSON SACRED.
So Chiara, I will answer your question: “Often we feel disappointed in love. What does the greatness of Jesus’ love consist in? How can we experience his love?” And now, I know that you are good and will permit me to speak sincerely. I don’t want to be a moralist but I would like to say a word that isn’t liked, an unpopular word. Sometimes the Pope must also take risks to speak the truth. Love is in works, in communicating, but love is very respectful of people, it does not use people, that is, love is chaste. And to you young people in this world, in this hedonistic world, in this world where only pleasure, having a good time, and living the good life get publicity, I say to you: be chaste, be chaste.
All of us in life have gone through moments in which this virtue has been very difficult, but it is in fact the way of genuine love, of a love that is able to give life, which does not seek to use the other for one’s own pleasure. It is a love that considers the life of the other person sacred: “I respect you, I don’t want to use you, I don’t want to use you”. It’s not easy. We all know the difficulties in overcoming the “care-free” and hedonistic conception of love. Forgive me if I say something you weren’t expecting, but I ask you: strive to experience love chastely.
And from this we draw a conclusion: if love is respectful, if love is in deeds, if love is in communicating, love makes sacrifices for others. Look at the love of parents, of so many mothers, of so many fathers who in the morning arrive at work tired because they haven’t slept well in order to look after their sick child — this is love! This is respect. This is not having a good time. This is — let’s go to another key word — this is “service”. Love is service. It is serving others. When after the washing of the feet Jesus explained the gesture to the Apostles, he taught that we are made to serve one another, and if I say that I love but I don’t serve the other, don’t help the other, don’t enable him to go forward, don’t sacrifice myself for him, this isn’t love. You have carried the Cross [the World Youth Day Cross]: there is the sign of love. That history of God’s love involved in works and dialogue, with respect, with forgiveness, with patience during so many centuries of history with his people, ends there — his Son on the Cross, the greatest service, which is giving one’s life, sacrificing oneself, helping others. It’s not easy to speak of love, it’s not easy to experience love. However, with these things that I have said, Chiara, I think I’ve helped you with something, with the questions you asked me. I don’t know, I hope they will be beneficial to you.
PHOTO CREDIT: AP, CNS, REUTERS, ANSA, AFP via Vatican radio FB page
AUDIO CREDIT: “Enchanted Valley” Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
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