ARTICLE – Love: Our Fundamental Vocation

What is love? Is it a simple concept or feeling? Love, for Catholics, is primarily a person who desires to be our constant and holy companion. This person is none other than Jesus, who sacrificed himself on the cross to demonstrate God’s boundless love for us. He assures us of His eternal presence (Matthew 28:20) regardless of our circumstances, and His Spirit resides within us (1 Corinthians 6:19-20). When we turn to Him, we receive peace, strength, and guidance for our lives, and we can have unwavering trust that He will never abandon or forsake us (Isaiah 41:10, Hebrews 13:5-6, 2 Corinthians 1:3-4).

The thirst for love, for God, is at the core of human nature. Love is an essential aspect of our existence and to live in Him is the fundamental vocation of every human being. But love is not just a feeling or an emotion, to love is to will the good of the other, and this involves a choice and an act of the will. Love is self-giving and self-sacrificing, and it often requires us to put the needs of others before our own. Despite the challenges that love involves, it brings joy and fulfillment, particularly in the presence of the beloved.

According to Saint Paul, love is characterized by patience and kindness. It does not harbour feelings of jealousy, nor does it brag or show arrogance. Love is not disrespectful towards others, nor is it selfish or easily provoked to anger. It does not hold grudges or keep track of past wrongs. Love does not take pleasure in wrongdoing but rejoices in the truth. It is always protective, trusting, hopeful, and persevering (1 Corinthians 13:4-7).

Love is inextricably linked with our faith. It is central to the teachings of Jesus, who enjoins his disciples to “love one another as I have loved you” (John 15:12). As Christians, we are called to embody this commandment in our daily lives, treating others with empathy, generosity, and reverence, and striving to forge meaningful relationships that glorify God and honour his name (1 John 4:7-8). 

Evangelization, or the proclamation of the Good News of Jesus Christ, is also intimately connected to the love of God. As we share the message of God’s love with others, we aspire to help them experience the same transformative power that has changed our own lives (Matthew 28:19-20).

Through evangelization, we help others discover the hope, joy, and peace that emanate from a life lived in communion with God. By proclaiming the message of God’s love to those in our midst, we can participate in the formation of a community of believers who are united by their love for God and for one another (Mark 16:15).

Love constitutes the nature of our faith and our mission. It is our purpose. As we strive to live out the commandment to love one another and to evangelize, we exert a profound influence on the world around us, revealing God’s very existence and extending hope and healing to those who are most in need (1 John 4:11-12).

Pierre-Alain Giffard
Director of Pastoral Work

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