10 Aug 2015
Feast of Saint Lawrence
For eons love and death have been a matched pair; like peanut butter and jelly, day and night, and salt and pepper. They go together—love and death. And we might think of those tragic lovers Romeo and Juliet who died for love; or maybe St. Lawrence, who gave all his love to God and the poor and was put to death because of it. Or we think of Christ on the Cross, the starkest image of how tightly love and death are bound up together.
When a wife says to her husband, “No, honey, you go ahead and buy that,” even though she’d rather have something else, she gives up something—she dies to something—in love for her husband. When a father stays home to take care of the new baby, even though he really wants to go to the ball game, he gives up something—he dies to something—in order to love for his child.
When two people love each other as spouses, or even as the dearest of friends, they let down their guard—they die to the way of fear—so they can really love one another. And when we give to our neighbors for their good, even though we might feel the pinch in our time, or in our wallet, or in our patience, we die a little bit in order to love them. Love and death go together.
It’s no wonder, then, why Jesus says, “unless a grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains just a grain of wheat; but if it dies, it produces much fruit.” To give ourselves for the good of another is—in a way—to die. And to die in such a way is to love. And to love by dying is to be a disciple of Christ.
May we spend our whole lives learning how to die; that is, learning how to love. And then when we die and let go of our last breath, we can enter into the fullness of undying love.