Love is patient, love is kind. It is not jealous, it is not pompous, It is not inflated, it is not rude, it does not seek its own interests, it is not quick-tempered, it does not brood over injury, it does not rejoice over wrongdoing but rejoices with the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.1 Corinthians 13:4-7
Crack! The mirror was shattered and angry voices arose.
Broken pieces, reflecting beauty and perfection no longer.
In Psalm 139, we hear how God forms us in our mother’s womb and how perfect we are. He created us in love and for love.
Over and over, He reveals His love to us, whether it’s in the Psalms, the story of salvation or through the apostles after Jesus’ death on the cross.
From the start of our very being, He breathes love within us. How does that love fail, become distorted, or non-existent?
This broken mirror reminds me of the brokenness that invades our ability to love and be loved.
I’ve been following along with Fr. Mike Schmitz in the Bible in a Year. One common thread he points out over and over again in all the stories in Genesis is brokenness. It starts with the fall of Adam and Eve. Then, Cain murders Abel out of jealousy. Leah engages in competitions with her sister to produce children for Jacob to win his love that he has given to her sister. Joseph’s brothers sell him into slavery because Jacob loved him more. This brokenness repeats itself over and over throughout history.
In the gospel this Sunday from Luke chapter 4, we see Jesus being rejected by his own townspeople and we hear Paul speaking to the Corinthians how important love is and that every gift we have is nothing without it.
In my life, I’ve tried to understand the difficulty I experience of feeling loved. Where does it originate? Is it a learned feeling of being unloved? Could it be the shattering that has taken place generation to generation?
I’ve come to my own conclusion that brokenness within each person’s life affects their ability to pour out the love that St. Paul describes to us.
If the brokenness is the root, could it also be the fruit?
Brokenness can separate us, causing us to reject God just as we hear in the Gospel of Luke when the people in Nazareth reject Jesus. This rejection results in hardening of the heart. Or brokenness can draw us closer to God in our searching for love.
One realization I am learning is that people we engage in relationship with and those we are born into relationship with all come with brokenness. We are each limited by what we are equipped with. That equipment most often lies in the broken pieces shattered around us. What if more people equipped themselves with the cross? With the Bible? With conversation with God? What then would love look like to most of humanity?
Perhaps the invitation today is how am are you equipping yourself for the generation you are pouring into? What does love look like in its truest form?
To lead takes courage, to love takes sacrifice. Love never fails if it is seen through the eyes of Christ.
“I asked the Lord how much he loved me. He stretched out his hands on the cross and said, ‘this much.” Author unknown