If you are anything like me, then you love love. You love any way you can express your feelings for the ones dearest to you. Your heart soars when you see couples kiss and public proposals. You love to love and want everyone to love just as much as you do.
One of my favorite books that dives into the importance of love and what it means to love well is the well-renowned The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman. Chapman explains in his work the five ways people show their love for one another—physical touch, quality time, acts of service, words of affirmation, and gift giving—and how crucial these languages are for couples seeking to strengthen their relationships.
As a single Catholic woman who wears her heart on her sleeve and is a hopeless romantic, however, I don’t get to use my wealth of love languages as often as I would like. I want to share all the love bottled up inside me, but I struggle with a lack of a significant other to spend quality time with or perform acts of service for, no one romancing me with gifts or sweet nothings. Luckily for us, faithful women of Christ, we have a Lord who wants to be the Love of our lives, all of us. Chapman urges anyone reading his book that “for love, we will climb mountains, cross seas, traverse desert sands, and endure untold hardships. Without love, mountains become unclimbable, seas uncrossable, deserts unbearable, and hardships our lot in life”—and if that doesn’t sound like our relationship with Jesus Christ, then I don’t know what does (p. 19).
Sending Jesus a Love Letter Back
Our Lord Jesus loves us more than any significant other ever will, but it’s easy to forget this. He is the King of Kings, the Savior of all, the Prince of Peace - but He is also our true and loyal Lover every day of our lives. We don’t need to wait to be in a relationship to love and to love well, especially when Jesus wants to be our Lover no matter our vocation.
“I found him whom my soul loves” (Song of Songs 3:4).
Jesus Christ writes each of us—daughter or mother, consecrated or married life, single or taken—a love letter every day, romancing us in our passions, joys, lessons learned, tears fallen, and especially in the Bible. Captivating: Unveiling the Mystery of a Woman’s Soul by John and Stasi Eldredge delves into how the Lord romances us to Himself: “The Great Love Story the Scriptures are telling us about also reveals a Lover who longs for you. The story of your life is also the story of the long and passionate pursuit of your heart by the One who knows you best and loves you most” (p. 117). If He spends his time doing this, pursuing us, how can we love Him well back? I eventually learned that we can use the five love languages to do so, just like any other relationship.
How Jesus is the Fulfillment of the Love Languages
“Arise, my friend, my beautiful one, and come!” (Song of Songs 2: 10)
The first love language is physical touch. The Lord shares with us a unique way to become one with Him, to be physically close to Him, and that is through the Eucharist. The Eucharist is the Lord’s most beloved gift to us, and receiving Him on Sunday, and if possible, at daily Mass, is our humble present back to Him. In our proclamation of “Amen” and upon consuming the Eucharist, we are telling our Lover that we believe in Him and want to be with Him, to carry Him with us wherever we go. Try to attend daily mass once a month or even once a week as a physical commitment to Christ and to loving Him back.
Another powerful way to show our love for Him is by praying the Stations of the Cross regularly. I have found that going from station to station at my parish, physically walking to Calvary with Jesus, has helped me not only remember the sacrifices He made for us but also spiritually be there with Him at a time many were not to show my love and dedication to Christ.
“I held him and would not let him go” (Song of Songs 3:4).
Prayer is the simplest way we can share quality time with the Lord, but there are some specific forms of prayer that allow that time to be sanctified in love. One is reading His words and practicing lectio divina, a contemplative way to read and pray over Scripture. Another is by visiting the church either after Mass or throughout your week and sitting in His abiding peace and quiet. Sometimes we get so excited to talk to the Lord and tell Him everything that we forget one of the main components of conversation: listening. When reading the Bible and/or praying in silence, we can hear Him better and love Him best by sharing, listening, and then responding.
Mother Teresa once said, “I see Jesus in every human being . . . I serve because I love Jesus.” Being there for those people who need to see the face of Jesus is a great way to love Christ while also meeting Him in those people as well. We can share quality time with Him in every person we meet, for He Himself taught us that “whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me” (Matthew 25: 40). Spend time with your grandmother, reach out to your estranged friend, sit with the homeless and the poor in your community – they are Christ waiting to be loved back by you.
“Draw me after you! Let us run!” (Song of Songs 1:4).
Acts of Service
My best friend gave up her entire life to serve Jesus as a Servant of the Lord and the Virgin of Matará. While sometimes I wish I could love and serve Him as beautifully as she does, you and I are all called to different acts of service as Christian people.
For me, I have always enjoyed taking part in the various ministries at my parish, both at home and at college. Whether it is teaching a class at Vacation Bible School, helping coordinate Community Coffee Sundays, or lectoring at mass, there are so many ministries at any church that could use your time, talents, and treasures to love and serve the Lord and His people. Similar to quality time, volunteering with those faces of Jesus in your community is another loving way to offer yourself and your service to whomever needs it most, and therefore to Christ as well.
“His left hand is under my head and his right arm embraces me” (Song of Songs 2:6).
Words of Affirmation
Words have meaning. A very wise role model of mine shared this expression with me, and her words ring even more true when it comes to love. Words of affirmation are the backbone of praising and worshiping our Lord Jesus Christ. We use words of kindness and humility to tell Him how much we love Him, to honor Him and His glory, to speak of His goodness over all the earth. In addition to praise, we also find ourselves in prayer sharing our gratitude for all He has given us. Remember this week to stop for a moment and to thank Him for your day and the blessings at hand.
Using words of affirmation with the Lord, however, can be difficult. Finding the right words in prayer does not come easily all the time, and maybe you struggle to vocalize this. If this sounds like you, I encourage you to try singing to Him or listening to praise and worship music. No matter how you say it, think it, listen to it, or sing it, Jesus will hear and cherish every word.
“You are beautiful in every way, my friend, there is no flaw in you!” (Song of Songs 4:7).
When Jesus is the truest and best gift we could have ever received, what do we give Him back?
The first thing you can do is follow Jesus’ lead and offer up the gift of yourself. Make a commitment to Him, a weekly promise, that you are His and He is yours, that you will use the upcoming week to love and serve Him well and to be His disciple. Another way to do this is by giving up something for a day or so, offering up your favorite cheesecake or that hour you normally spend on TikTok for prayer instead. Nothing says “I love you” more than sacrificing for Him who once sacrificed everything for us.
Lastly, consider donating to your parish or favorite charity. The Lord loves when we share our treasures and show that our relationship with Him is more important than any dollar sign or bank account.
“We will make pendants of gold for you, and ornaments of silver” (Song of Songs 1:11).
You Were Made for This Kind of Love
The love languages do not have barriers. Love does not have any barriers. Loving Him can look like leading a weekly Bible study or praying a Rosary walk with your family. Be creative, ask for the Holy Spirit’s guidance, and love Christ the way you love best; your relationship with Jesus is meant to be as unique and special as you.
However you decide to love Christ back, do it with your whole heart. The Lord knows when acts of love are performed with kindness and joy for Him, and He relishes them. Strengthen your relationship with Him who wants you for Himself, to love and to hold, in sickness and in health, never parted but reunited by death.
Jesus of my heart’s center,
Be the love of my life, my Savior,
now, and forever, and ever.
Liz Homick is a second-year graduate student pursuing her M.S. in Library and Information Science at the University of Maryland, College Park. When she isn’t writing or studying to be a professional guardian of books, her friends and family can usually find her making puns, reading thirty books at once, or watching Disney movies on repeat. Liz swears by the Oxford comma, Times New Roman font, Old Bay seasoning, and unconditional kindness.