“Retreat with Pope Francis” Day Two: Christian Love is Concrete
“You see that the love John speaks of [1 Jn 4:11-18] is not the love of soap operas! No, it is something else. Christian love has a particular quality: concreteness. Jesus Himself, when He speaks of love, speaks to us about concrete things: feeding the hungry, visiting the sick, and many concrete things. Love is concrete.” (Mass at Casa Santa Marta, January 9, 2014)
Breaking open the theme:
The love between Christian spouses should not rely on romantic feelings alone. As Pope Francis said, Christian love is concrete and visible. It reveals itself in our everyday lives, in deeds both great and small. Words and affectionate language have their place, but actions speak volumes as well. Christian love is marked by selflessness, seeking to give rather than receive. Spouses are called to love in this way: to give to their spouse in the practical happenings of everyday life.
As time passed and they grew out of their “newlywed phase,” Jimmy and Sandra found that the affectionate language they had once used was fading. Instead of being sad about leaving an intensely romantic period in their marriage, the bride and groom developed new ways of showing their love for one another. A heartfelt “good morning, I love you!” conversation turned into doing both the cooking and cleaning when one of them had a long day at work. And yet, as more of their romantic notions transformed into practical self-gifts and mutual service, the couple found that they fell even more deeply in love.
Put it into practice:
- Pray: Read Matthew 25:31-46 together with your spouse.
- Reflect: Think about the concrete acts of the love in this passage: feeding the hungry, visiting the sick, etc. Which is hardest for you, and why?
- Do: Is there a chore your beloved dislikes? Do it for them…with a smile.
Prayer for Married Couples:
Almighty and eternal God,
You blessed the union of husband and wife
So that we might reflect the union of Christ with his Church:
look with kindness on us.
Renew our marriage covenant.
Increase your love in us,
and strengthen our bond of peace
so that, [with our children],
we may always rejoice in the gift of your blessing.
We ask this through Christ our Lord.