The Heart of Loving

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The heart of loving
By Fr. Jerry Orbos
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 00:22:00 09/14/2008

MANILA, Philippines—The story is told about a husband who, when he got home, not only embraced his wife but also lifted her up in his arms. When asked by his surprised wife why he did that, he said: “The priest told us at Mass today to embrace our cross and lift up our cross to the Lord!”
The next day, it was the wife’s turn to “surprise” her husband. “Honey, you are going with me to our church meeting this Sunday.” When he asked why, she said: “The priest told us to bring any useless thing in the house for donation to the typhoon victims!”
* * *
Today’s Gospel (Jn. 3, 13-17) we hear the most important line of the Bible: “For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him might not perish but might have eternal life.” The keyword is “so,” which is often missing in our loving. Yes, we love, but often we are not so loving in our loving.
* * *
A lot of us would claim that we have taken the road of love in this world. However, the question is how far would we go on this road. Many of us usually go at minimum speed, or stop when we hit rough roads. Many of us happily welcome detours and take the rest stops whenever we can. The Lord reminds us today to look at the quantity and quality of our loving.
* * *
Someone has calculated how a typical life span of 70 years is spent: Sleep (23 years/32.9 percent); work (16 years/22.8 percent); TV (8 years/11.4 percent); eating (6 years/8.6 percent); travel (6 years/18.6 percent); leisure (4 ½ years/6.5 percent); illness (4 years/5.7 percent); dressing (2 years/2.8 percent); religion (1/2 year/0.7 percent). How does it all add up? We spend so much of our time on ourselves, and so little time for God and for others. There is another word for this reality—selfishness.
* * *
It is not just a question of loving enough; it is also a question of loving truly. Here we fail more because often we love with a lot of conditions and with a lot of selfish agenda. Often we love with so much pride and with a lot of anger. We all need to learn more about true and sustained loving.
* * *
I was with 14-year-old blind girl Fatima Soriano recently for a series of Masses with Filipino communities in Los Angeles, San Francisco and San Diego. This little blind girl touches the heart of so many people with her simple words and through her simple songs. When she shares, many people really listen and are moved to tears. The secret is her purity of heart and clarity of purpose. She has no agenda except to tell people of God’s love and Mama Mary’s presence in our lives, in our joys and pains, especially in our sufferings. She has no other purpose but to do her God-given mission. Yes, she loves with the heart, and when one loves with the heart, the question about the quantity and quality of loving is gone.
* * *
Fatima is blind but, maybe, precisely because she is blind, she sees more than we who are sighted. We who are sighted are often too near-sighted or too far-sighted in our loving. She sees only Jesus and Mama Mary in her loving others, while we see more of ourselves in our alleged loving. Having said that, we must go on with our defective loving anyway and never give up. In humility we pray to the Lord to help us, His unworthy servants, to be open to love and to new ways of loving at any moment of our lives.
* * *
Today is the Feast of the Exaltation of the Cross, and tomorrow is the Feast of Our Lady of Sorrows. The cross is a reality in our lives. There is no such thing as perfect happiness or perfect relationships in this world. We all must take the way of the cross which ultimately leads to exaltation and victory. Let us make sure though that we are not the way of the cross for others! Are other people suffering or hurting because of us? Life is short. Let us all resolve to stop hurting and start loving.
* * *
The first Global Handwashing Day will be launched on Oct. 15 this year by the Department of Health and Department of Education wherein children will be taught how to wash their hands to prevent killer diseases like diarrhea and pneumonia. I think it is our government leaders who first need to learn how to wash their hands of bribes and commissions to prevent the biggest killer of our national progress and unity, which is graft and corruption.
* * *
As the song says, “It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas!” This early, let us pray for true peace and progress in our country especially this Christmas. This early, let us start preparing for activities which could give Christmas cheers to our less fortunate brothers and sisters. This early, this very day and every day, let us start loving and expressing our love to our loved ones who may not be with us anymore by Christmas. Morbid? No. Realistic. The call to love is here, and the time to love is now.
* * *
A moment with the Lord:
Lord, remind me that the heart of loving is loving with Your heart. Amen.


2 thoughts on “The Heart of Loving

    clarissa pagarigan said:
    March 7, 2009 at 11:05 am

    father,i wrote you a letter last november…i gave it at the information office..i do not know if you received it….
    do you still remember po my name?
    take care and GOD BLEES!
    thank you for your time…..

    sfcjax responded:
    March 8, 2009 at 7:39 pm

    hello clarisse! welcome to sfcjax website. we realized that many people get inspired by articles of Fr Jerry. i, myself have a collection of his books. unfortunately, he’s not connected with our ministry. we posted the article from inquirer in hopes of stirring the hearts of our members. we approved your comment anyway, in case Fr Jerry ran into our site to see it. God bless.

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