Virtue of Love
I went to mass today and the virtue spoken of was love.
After liturgy, the priest told the people in the church a story that moved me. It was more relevant than ever because I couldn’t sleep last night. My mind was racing and that story today kind of put a closure to it.
The story is about a priest who is very well known in Italy. People from far would come into the village to hear his mass but were dissapointed after a while. Why?
This first week, before the sermon, this priest came onto the altar, raised his hands and said “love one another” and got off. People became disappointed and upset because they traveled so far to hear an hour mass which only took 20 minutes at this point. Some people became fed up and didn’t return. The second week, the priest came again onto the altar, raised his hands and said “love your spouse” and walked off the altar. Again, more people became angry and never returned. Some people could not understand the meaning of these few words but those who did, stayed. The third week, the priest came onto the altar, raised his hands and said “love your children.” Week after week the pews became emptier and those who remained, still confused, knew that there had to be a deeper meaning. On the fourth week, the priest again came onto the altar, raised his hands and said “love thy enemy”. At this point, a lot more people became upset and didn’t come back. “Love my enemy? But all he has done is cause pain and sorrow in my life. I cannot love my enemy.” On the fifth week, the priest came onto the altar, raised his hands and said “love thy neighbor”. These people who remained took on the advice and did just that. They would say hello to their neighbour on the street, forgave those who had hurt them, became more loving, open people overall. The sixth week came and the people who still remained looked at each other and at the priest They and the priest all exchanged looks that read “there is no one here, they’ve left”. The priest said “here, we see that our people have become discouraged. They lost faith because they were not given as much as they believe to need or deserve. Know that, these seats will be filled once again. They will be filled with people who were given love by you who has shared it. They will be filled with those who will also want to love thy neighbour, love thy enemy, love they spouse and love thy children.”
This story hit home. People will always be there and even though you may think they are believers and lovers, anything can discourage them. However, yes it’s unfortunate but know that there will be always people who will come into your life to offer balance, to share the open spaces in your pew. To share love and compassion and who will be there. Things happen for a reason and even though you may feel time is wasted, it’s not. It helps you understand things and why things turn out the way they did. Yes, today something may happen and I will lose faith. I’ll feel like I didn’t deserve it but some day down the road, I will know exactly why it happened.
And that’s all that matters. You’re given only what you can handle and I know that what I have gone through at times was and is hard and draining but in weeks, a few months or even years, I will realize it’s purpose and that’s what’s valuable in life.