While in Westford, MA, I was in the beautiful parish church of St. Catherine of Alexandria and I ran across this quote from Fr. Pedro Arrupe, S.J., the former head of the Jesuits, on a slip of paper near the confessional.
“Nothing is more practical than finding God, that is, than falling in a love in a quite absolute, final way. What you are in love with, what seizes your imagination, will affect everything. It will decide what will get you out of bed in the mornings, what you will do with your evenings, how you spend your weekends, what you read, who you know, what breaks your heart, and what amazes you with joy and gratitude. Fall in love, stay in love, and it will decide everything.”
We fall in love in a contigent way any time we love something or someone else to the exclusion of loving God. That thing or person we love in such a way will always disappoint us. We will experience betrayals large and small. Mainly we'll be disappointed because they can't fill that desire for infinite love that our Creator has placed within us.
Fortunately, God realizes this, and so allows us samples of His love; His presence in those fleeting moments when we give or receive genuinely selfless love, when we allow ourselves time to reflect upon the words of Scripture, and when we fruitfully participate in the sacraments, among others. But Fr. Arrupe's quote raises the questions that we all must address honestly:
What gets you out of bed in the morning?
What do you do when your time is your own? Or what do you fantasize doing if you ever had "free time."
What do you read, and why?
What are the criteria you use in choosing and keeping friends?
When was the last time you were present enough to your own being-in-the-world that you succumbed to the world's beauty and goodness?
Finally, and most importantly, have we forgotten we can ask God to help us love Him? Do we ask for His Spirit to dwell in us, expanding our hearts, directing us away from transient things to that which really lasts: God himself, primarily, but also the immortals we encounter in what we mistake as mundane moments at the grocery store, the office water cooler, the airport gate area?