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A Jesuit Catholic University
in Omaha, Nebraska, since 1878
Reflections on the Daily Readings
from the Perspective of Creighton Students

January 7th, 2014
Kevin Ryan
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“Beloved, let us love one another, because love is of God.” 1 John 4:7

When I think of love, I am always reminded of Jesus telling his followers in the gospel of John that there is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.  My imagination runs wild thinking of ways I could heroically sacrifice myself for the good of someone else.  But there is a problem with this line of thinking - not everyone needs to be loved in this way.

I immensely enjoy hearing about great saints who loved in so heroic a way that they were willing to give their lives for those they loved.  I aspire to be like them someday.  But the truth is, for me that is like saying I aspire to be an NBA basketball player when I can barely make a lay-up (really it’s pretty bad).  I desire to love heroically, but where I fail, and perhaps many of us fail, is loving in small ways first. 

What I always seem to forget is that love is not always manifested through major acts such as the giving of our lives for someone.  Sure there are tons of saints who exemplify for us major acts of love.  But there are many saints who only loved in the small ways they knew they were called to love, yet they exemplify the love of Jesus just as much.

In order to love greatly, we must be able to love others in the small ways that they need.  In our own lives this may mean having patience with our grandma who has memory loss and asks the same question four times, or giving a friend a ride who doesn’t have a car, or dealing with coworkers who are aggravating, or doing the things our husband or wife asked us to do.  Not everyone needs us to lay down our lives for them in a massive act of love.  They may just need someone to talk with, which may seem small, but the magnitude of this form of love is beyond our comprehension.  Just as Jesus multiplied the two fish and five loaves in the gospel today, so also will he multiply the magnitude of our love.

Let us today be models of love by recognizing how others need our love, and loving them in that way; not in the way we want to or feel like, but in the way others truly need.  This form of love may not require us to sacrifice our lives in one act, but we will find that in the small acts of love, we will be laying down our lives in love with each other. 

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