Wednesday, April 6, 2016

On Love Stories

                Several months ago, a few members of the Core Team here at St. Mary’s and I got in a slightly heated discussion about the merits of Disney Princesses. Several male members of our team took up the offense, while me and the lovely Sara Bushland, the defense. They claimed that all they were about was finding the perfect man, moving into his castle and living happily ever after. We countered that they were in fact about finding yourself, and also, that there is no truly great story in our world that does not feature love in some form or fashion. Even the dude-liest of dude movies has some semblance of love. Naturally, Sara and I emerged victorious.
                Thanks in large part to a weird memory that brings up the most pointless of thoughts, this discussion came up in my head during prayer recently. I was praying through the sorrowful mysteries when all of a sudden, it hit me. There is no truly great story in our world that does not feature love, and the greatest of stories our world has ever heard has love at its absolute core- the story of our Lord, on the cross.
                See, crazy as it is, I never really thought about why Jesus pushed through all of those stations we now pray through. I never really consideredwhy he endured the tortures of the cross. Ultimately, I already knew it was for my salvation. For the forgiveness of my sins, He took the weight of them onto His holy shoulders. I knew those things in my head. But what always stood out in my mind, however, was how wickedly high Jesus’s pain tolerance was. I was so focused on the pain He bore that I never truly saw the purpose of why he bore it.
                I admired Christ’s patience, His courage to go through with it all, even His humility in accepting the torment and torture of those He came to save. But what was revealed to me while praying the rosary and meditating on the same mysteries that I have a million times, is something I thought I already knew. True patience, courage and humility are born from the same mother- Love.
Love is something that seems so supernatural and yet so earthly at the same time. It is something no one but Christ and His mother can do perfectly, and yet, we all do to some degree love something, or someone. Love pushes us past our limits, to the very edge of human capabilities. Love has transformative properties in us. I think about those experiments done during World War II, how love shown through just holding an infant for fifteen minutes a day can make or break their lives. I think about how love can push mothers to lift cars over their children. And I think about how love pushed the God-Man to bear insult, injury and death with patience, courage and humility.
It was love that motivated Him to rise up out of the Garden of Gethsemane and face his captors, and love that helped Him forbear whippings that tore his skin to shreds. It was love that let Him sit in silence while he was mocked and crowned with thorns, and love that made Jesus stand up and continue on the road to Calvary. It was love that came pouring out when he begged for forgiveness of his own murderers. And it is love that will bear us through this world.
Without love, there are no truly great stories. Without love, there are no stories at all. Love is such a key element of the human experience, our hearts burst with it so much, that it inevitably pours out onto paper, into ears and hearts, who crave more of it. That is why the great stories all circulate around love. We crave it, because it is a critical and necessary part of us. And we will keep craving it until we find the source of all love and rely on it. God himself, in the Holy Trinity.
I now understand what Saint Augustine meant when he said “Our hearts are restless until they rest in you.” Our hearts need His love, and they won’t rest until they do, so give your hearts a break already and find what you seek in Him. Become one of the great stories (we just call them saints). 

Keara King gets excited about the little things in life-like bagels on Friday, swinging on swing sets, and Julie Andrews in the Sound of Music. She is a senior student at SFA, from Flower Mound, Texas. She is a social work major, and a member of the Core Team at St. Mary's Catholic Campus Ministry. 

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