“It is said that love and a cough cannot be hid.”
― Dorothy L. Sayers, Gaudy Night
Or in other words,
“You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.” (Mt 5:14-19 NIV)
Indwelt by the light of God that continually produces good works springing from that love God has poured into our heart before (Rom 5:5), we can experience that there is nothing greater in this world and beyond than His Love offers. God’s Love is better than being right, better than being successful, better than being known, and better than possessing all material things one could wish for.
LOVE is beyond all that we can see
LOVE is beyond all that we can hear
LOVE is beyond all that we can touch
LOVE is beyond all that we can smell
LOVE is beyond all that we can taste
GOD’S LOVE is even beyond all the feelings we have known so far. Agape love is far more than that.
“Hmm…. Well, what is this love, then?”
Instead of a definition I cannot give, I find that Antoine de Saint-Exupéry perfectly outlined the starting point of what we call AGAPE. He said,
“True love begins when nothing is looked for in return.”
― Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
Mature love gives and does not expect from others what they should do or not do so that the lover feels comfortable all the time. True love walks the second mile, always gives its all, loves passionately and patiently, and sees all things as they should be – not as they are (perhaps “still”).
“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.” (1 Cor 13:4-8 NIV)
Okay, okay. I have covered enough theory now. 😉 Therefore I want to add one of my own experiences with divine love here [By the way, I translated the following narrative from my German spiritual diary into the English language].
It was on a Friday afternoon in January 2000 that I had just finished a boring shopping tour [Yes, I hate shopping 🙂 ]. Walking through downtown Nürnberg, I was looking forward to returning home. Suddenly I realized that I felt more and more joyful, not knowing WHY. Looking at the circumstances – hurrying people around me and the fact that I neither liked shopping nor being among many people – I became aware that something had changed in my heart. Indeed, I had been flooded with an increasing love for those around me and I even “forgot” where I was.
In very good spirits, back then, I arrived at the subway station „Weißer Turm “. As soon as I had placed my feet on the escalator downstairs, something really unusual happened to me.
The farther I was riding down, the more I was drawn into a soft and bright light that illuminated everything and everyone that were there. A new world, unseen before, had opened its gates into a heavenly condition which is normally hidden to all of us.
More and more, the whole subway station was flooded with the presence of God. His wonderful peace, unspeakable joy and His all-embracing unconditional love which excludes no one were permeating throughout that peculiar place.
Filled to the bursting point with divine joy, I became aware of a homeless man who was standing on the floor between the two staircases which led to the subway. Without thinking about what I should do or not, I approached him immediately, opened my purse [very glad that there was still a greater amount of money inside] and offered my help. Looking at me in disbelief, he didn’t dare to take the money I wanted to give him. However, God’s waves of love didn’t stop flooding me and I pressed the bill into his hand.
Not knowing how and why, we had both tears in our eyes when he flung his arms around my neck, mumbling, “Thank you sooo much……I do not know what to say. But I think I am going to share your gift with my friends this evening.”
Yes, that was an overwhelming experience for me and ever since that day I have always known that it is more blessed to give than to receive. However, as for charity, it has become crucial for me that I am not driven by my own thoughts and feelings, but simply by His love…