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What is Love?

Pentecost Sunday

June 5, 2022 •



The Holy Spirit IS the love of the Father and the Son. He is mutual self-offerings of love. That's why we need Him. Without Him we cannot love properly. We certainly can't love like God.

Jesus show us the way, through His life, as well as providing us the grace necessary, to love like the Holy Spirit. To be that love in the world.

But in a sinful world, if we are to love the way God loves . . . He loves even if His beloved doesn't love Him in return. Which means you're going to empty yourself out and simply remain empty and die. That is the calling. Our Lord says, "Don't worry, do it anyway. And after you die, I will raise you up. " And we say, "But I don't want to die. It hurts!" The Lord says: "I know. I've been through it. I loved until the end." We cannot love this sacrificially without the living love of God within us. Without the Holy Spirit, it is not possible.

This is why when we receive the Holy Spirit, not only in Baptism, but even more powerfully in Confirmation, He gives us His seven gifts.

Jesus calls the Holy Spirit the "power of God." . . . God is all powerful, He can create and destroy. But according to God Himself, that's not His greatest power. His greatest power is love.

These seven gifts that the Holy Spirit gives are necessary to love. . . .

But what does love look like? When it's active, when it's real?

First Corinthians, chapter thirteen. Saint Paul gives you a clear definition of love.

Love is patient. Are you patient? I'm not saying, are you patient enough. Love is always patient. Always.

Love is kind. Are you kind?

Love is not jealous. Do you ever get jealous?

Love is not pompous. Prideful, it doesn't think itself better than others. Is that you?

Love is not inflated. It doesn't think more of its qualities and abilities than is true.

Love is not rude.

It does not seek its own interests. It's selfless. It seeks the good, the interests of others.

It is not quick-tempered. It's selfless. That's probably a big one for a lot of people. Are you quick-tempered? Love isn't.

It does not brood over injury. This is a very important one. Do you still hold on to past injuries, things other people committed against you. Do you constantly bring it to mind, bring it up to them. Does it lead you to resentment? Love doesn't do this.

Love does not rejoice over wrong-doing. Should be fairly obvious.

It rejoices with the Truth. Do you rejoice when you hear the truth?

Love bears all things. Not some things, and not most things. Love bears all things.

It believes all things. It's not always doubting others, questioning.

It hopes all things. All possible goods, love hopes for.

Love endures all things. Any suffering, any cross that comes your way. Love endures. Patiently.

Love never fails.


If there is any humility in us whatsoever, we have to admit that we don't love like this. Not completely, not yet. There's any number of way I do not love to that degree.

You have to realize that even though you may have the Holy Spirit through the grace of Jesus Christ and the Sacraments, the reason you're not loving the right way - I mean, God's love is alive in you - is because you can actually limit that love. You limit it with your own mind and heart. Your intellect, your will - my intellect, my will - can limit the power of God, the gifts of the Holy Spirit, from functioning in certain areas.


So how do I fix this? Do I just get on my knees and pray? Well, yes, please. But that's not enough.

First you have to diagnose the problem before you can apply the right medicine. Healing a soul is very much like working on a body. You can diagnose it. If you know what love should look like, then you know - because you do it - where you fail.

So you say: ok, I'm not patient, at least in these situations. Once you've diagnosed the specific problem, you go to the gifts of the Holy Spirit and you say in which of these gifts can I find help? In what area of these gifts of the Spirit do I still need to grow? ... Try to hone it down to something precise. What is leading to my impatience in those situations? .... You have to be aware of what you're actually thinking.

Most of us don't grow in virtue because we don't do the work.


Acts 2:1-11; 1 Cor 12:3b-7, 12-13; Jn 20:19-23


Homily begns at 20:10


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