Usually, we don’t need to be convinced of it and mostly we don’t need a definition. Love is the object and subject of our life. We want it, seek it, give it, receive it, remember it. Its loss breaks us; its presence revives and heals us.
Even when we don’t say anything, there is this knowing about love that passes between us — we know that we are sustained by it, and that it sometimes works in spite of us. We don’t have to speak of it, but somehow we can’t help ourselves, so we look for words to at least trace the borders of this powerful presence that sustains our lives. Love shows up when everyone else seems to leave. Love throws a line when all seems lost. Love comes to town and lives among us.
Since we have a tendency to focus too long on lesser things, we must speak of love often. These lesser things are real and cannot be denied, but still they do not put an end to love. This is both a faith statement and a statement of our experience. We believe in love when we can’t feel it and we can’t find enough words to express it when we are overcome by it.
During a particularly joyful and contented time in his life, Gerard Manley Hopkins wrote, “Christ plays in ten thousand places.” We might say, “Love is in ten thousand places.” This Sunday we will light the Advent Candle of Love, and we will celebrate stories of love that inspire us and keep us going when many things would hold us back. Start thinking about your ten thousand places.