What Does Love Look Like?

No. 33 - 20th March 2017

Saint Augustine once asked the question, “What does love look like?” I wonder how you would answer that one. I know what I would say, but I Googled the word “love” just to see what sort of definition I would get. And this is what I found. 1. A strong feeling of affection, and 2. A great interest and pleasure in something. The verb is described as “feeling deep affection or sexual love for someone”. Now, why am I not surprised at that? We talk about “making love” when we mean having sex. We talk about “being in love” when were infatuated with someone and feel a strong sexual desire for them. But is that really all that love is about?

St Augustine’s answer to the question was “love has hands to help others. It has the feet to hasten to the poor and needy. It has eyes to see misery and want. It has the ears to hear the sighs and sorrows of men. That is what love looks like”. I remember as a teenager wondering how I would know when I was in love. Then one day, when I was in town with the girl who was one day to become my wife, I set off to cross the road and suddenly realised that she wasn’t with me any more. I had left her on the pavement, and had to go back for her. That was when I realised I might actually be falling in love, because I was beginning to think for two people, rather than just myself.

I’m sure you’ve seen some of those television programmes where they talk to the mother of a severely disabled child, and just watch the way she looks after the little one. You can see the concern and the protection, and the boundless compassion that is poured into that child who can give very little back in return. That is love. And very close to the sort of love that God shows for us. There’s a passage in the Bible which calls on the men of the Church in Corinth, to love their wives “as Christ loved the Church, and gave himself for her.” He was prepared to actually die for the Church, and the men were being called on to love their wives in just the same way. Now that’s what I call love, and it’s not very easy to achieve in every day life, even with a lot of help from God. But that’s what he’s looking for. If you’re a mum, have a wonderful Mothers Day. And may your family be good to you.

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