Saturday, July 15, 2006

0 Real Love

Love is probably the most abused word in the English or any language in the world. Everyday you would hear anyone saying, “I love you” to a special someone. You would send and receive text messages containing love quotes and sweet, mushy messages to and from others. There are a lot of movies, telenovelas and books talking about love.

Love also blinds a lot of people. Even though what they are doing is bad, they think that it is good. Many people say they love that person. But if you would look into it, it seems that they love only the good things about that person and fails to love the other side. Then these people would get married and in the latter part of their marriage, they would realize that they were wrong and would end up breaking apart.

Different countries are at war of each other because of their love for their country. They have so much pride that they try to overcome each other and want to dominate one over the other. It is very saddening that these things happen.

There is one story that I’ve read from a book of my sister when she was in Grade 6. This was an excerpt from the story “St. George and the Dragon, and the Quest for the Holy Grail by Edward Hayes. I hope that through this story we may be able to see what true love is. The excerpt of the story goes like this:

One day, the Devil came to heaven to visit God. He was so upset because the ageless contest between Good and Evil is becoming unfair: Evil did not have the same opportunities as Good. Then the Devil told God, “ I’ve had a real vocation problem down there ever since Bethlehem when you became incarnate in the world. Since you sent Jesus to live on earth, I’ve only been able to squeeze in an occasional temptation! By the way, God, that was sneaky of you to choose a stable for his birth. I had my agents posted outside every palace, once we became aware that you were planning an invasion, but you tricked us! Who would have guessed that a God-King would be born in a stable?”

God replied to the Devil, “All’s fair in love and war, my old friend and competitor. But I hate to think myself as a cheat. Okay, I’ll agree to your becoming incarnate in the world also. You’re right. Ever since Bethlehem, I’ve had a slight edge in our contest.”

“Great!” said the Devil. “I knew you were a good sport. Now do I also have the same freedom that you had, to come any time, anywhere and in any form I choose?”

“Only sounds fair,” said God, “Anytime, anywhere, and in any form you choose,” and they shook hands on the deal.

And so the Devil, after a quick look around his old home, left heaven and raced like hell for hell, to meet his Ace Demons. As he entered the doors, they were eager to know what happened in heaven.

Then the Devil said, “Well, it was easy. The enemy agreed that I was right. I’ve been given complete freedom to become incarnate on earth in any way I choose.” Then he continued, “But now we must put our horned heads together boys and figure out the best way for Evil to come to earth! As my advisors, what suggestions do you have?”

An Ace Demon said to come to earth as lust, but the Devil downed the idea saying only a few would be fooled by it. They have to find a better disguise. Some suggested to dress like the god Mars, posing as war, others as money and still others said that liquor would be the best disguise.

The Devil didn’t like those ideas and think a better one. Then suddenly he yelled, “I got it! It just came to me. I shall come to earth disguised as the Enemy! Yes, I shall become incarnate in the world as LOVE!”

We have to admit that it was truly ingenious scheme for the Devil to come to earth as Love. For that was, how God’s Son had come and was present in the world at that very moment, even as the best make-up artist in hell was busy transforming the Devil into Love. Actually, the Diabolic Disguise Department provided him with a whole trunk of disguises.

And so, the Devil came to earth on Valentine’s Day, the Feast of Love. He first put on his red, white, and blue suit of LOVE OF COUNTRY. Disguised as this, he was busily engaged in war, destruction, lying and spying, brutality, murder, rape and a wide variety of other vicious deeds. LOVE OF COUNTRY made it possible to justify the refusal to forgive. It fed centuries-long resentment and the desire for revenge. It also made possible the blindness to truth that allows evil to flourish in the hearts of people.

Next, the Devil took out the disguise of LOVE OF ONE’S OWN RELIGION. This costume was beautiful in its stained glass colors heavy with tradition and respectability. Wearing this disguise, it was possible to make people be silent in the face of obvious error and injury. It bred pride and the spirit of superiority – each institution thinking that it was the “one and only.” This love also gave permission to hate those of other religions, even to slaughter them in so-called “holy wars” or to ridicule and spread lies about them. The power of this disguise was that it made Love a thing that demanded obedience and unquestioning assent to its teachings, instead of the desire to question or to explore. It was especially effective in the synagogues and streets where Jesus was teaching, as the Devil moved through the crowds whispering, “Heresy – he must be silenced!”

The Devil also wandered over the earth in the form of LOVE OF ONE’S NAME. Wearing this form of love, he was able to engage people in murderous duels and fistfights, and other unseemly affairs of “honor” that involved anger, hate, frustration, and domination.

Another of his incarnations was PARENTAL LOVE. This was a clever mask that made possible the reappearance of one of history’s oldest evils, slavery! As PARENTAL LOVE, the Devil employed sweet, juicy guilt as a tool to let parents control their children long even after they were able to make decisions for their children, making them servants and clones.

Before the Devil had taken his disguises of love and left hell, one of the Ace Demons questioned him: “Lord Devil, why are you coming to earth as Love? I suspect that you have another reason, other than to come disguised as the Enemy.”

Then the Devil said, “Ah, you’re a clever little demon. Yes, you’re right. I have a very good reason: LOVE MAKES PEOPLE BLIND! If Evil comes as Love I can blind them to the reality of what is happening. They will become a ‘people living in the darkness.’ I have chosen Valentine’s Day because it is their Feast of Love. While I can sell evil under the form of LOVE OF COUNTRY OR RELIGION, under the disguise of LOVE OF ONE’S NAME, or even PARENTAL LOVE, the more clever ones will see through my disguises. But who will ever suspect me as LOVE FOR ONE ANOTHER?”

And so, as LOVE FOR ONE ANOTHER, Evil introduced domination, control, and the exploitation of others. While ordinarily kind people would never think of stealing money, Love allowed them to steal affection, time, pleasure, body and soul – and never really to share themselves. Under the disguise of LOVE OF ONE ANOTHER, one person could own others, keeping them from loving anyone else by giving or refusing affection. Pain could be inflicted by words and suspicions, by refusal to forgive or by the ugly use of silence. People who never lied could be easily led to use lies like, “I love you…I will always love you…” without ever backing up such words with commitment. And the people who were being injured by this disguised love? They themselves participated: They were silent when they should have spoken. They allowed exploitation and did nothing. They reacted out of guilt and did not rebel…all because of “Love”! Oh yes, under these forms of Love, Evil was able to dwell in every home and heart. The Devil was so right: earth-people did become “a people living in darkness.”

At halftime, the contest between Good and Evil seemed to be over! The Devil was winning with such overwhelming odds that his victory seemed certain. So the Devil sent God a message, asking if God wanted to “toss in the towel” and concede defeat. Now it was God and his angels who sat in silence, pondering the questions, “How do we lift the darkness? How do we dispel the blinding gloom, so that people can see the difference between God as Love and the Devil as Love?”

Finally, after much reflection, God spoke slowly, “I know a way to make my children see the difference. But oh, how I hate to use it. It pains my heart to even consider such a solution, but I know no other way. The Light must break loose, or else the world will be truly lost to Evil. I shall ask my son, Jesus to show them the difference.

And so, on a certain Friday in spring, Jesus died on a cross on a barren hilltop in Palestine. At that moment, a light flooded the world; so intense that no one could mistake the difference between real love and Evil disguised as Love. The cross revealed the enormous difference between the two:

REAL LOVE GIVES UNCONDITIONALLY; while counterfeit takes.

AUTHENTIC LOVE GIVES FREEDOM; imitation love enslaves and attempts to own the other.

GENUINE LOVE IS EXPANSIVE, EVER OUT-REACHING; love, as a forgery, is a closed circle, restricted, exclusive, and allowing no room for others.

GODLY LOVE IS HUMBLE, GENEROUS, AND HONEST; Evil love is proud, self-seeking and dishonest.

All this, the death of Christ made clear in a blazing revelation. It was not on Christmas that the Light entered the world. No, it was on Good Friday, the Feast of the Revelation of True Love. On that Black Friday, a people who lived in blindness, in darkness, saw a great light – and it revealed true love forever!

So for those people out there who are uncertain of their love whether it is real or a counterfeit, you can illuminate the darkness of doubt by holding up your love to the eternal sign of the cross. The cross that has became the symbol of true and REAL LOVE.

Image Source: Visions Ministry


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