Tomorrow, I am going to a wedding. It’s not a Catholic wedding. They aren’t believers. Most of my friends aren’t. I’m the odd one, the aberration. The thoroughly modern, normal, fun, super super religious friend. That one. You might be, too.
I’m not only the rare faithful Catholic—I’m the rare believer. I get called on for questions about basically any facet of understanding transformative belief at all. The one occasion I can usually point to is a wedding.
Love changes us. Public declaration of that love is the closest thing to a Sacrament most secular folks can understand. I have heard it time and time again: “We’ve been together so long. We were basically married already. We live together. I was already doing all the things a spouse does—holidays and supporting them through hard times. We moved to a new city together.” Then the second part: “But our wedding day was different. I felt changed. When I saw her walk down the aisle, everything changed. I realized the wedding made our relationship something new.”
These moments of distilled love change us. Our secular friends understand that. Jesus’ love for us changes us in the same way. “Love one another as I have loved you.” (John 15:17) This commandment is incredible. Can I love like Christ loves? Can every moment of my life be one as full of love as a wedding day? Can the complexity and completeness of union with Christ transform me and how I love?
It’s wild to think about loving like this. Even if we aren’t called to martyrdom in the physical sense, radical love asks us to lay down our lives for our friends in real ways everyday. We pour out what we have in love so that others might live more fully. Jesus us calls us all His friends.
In friendship with Him, all of humanity becomes our friends as well. Little sacrifices of self—letting that car in ahead of us in traffic, not one-upping someone else’s bad day with complaints of our own, taking the call when you don’t feel like talking—teach us slowly how to lay down our lives for one another fully.
Love changes us. Love changes our relationships. Love changes the world. Let us love one another as Christ loves us. Wildly, deeply, completely.
Brigid Hogan is a high school English and ESL teacher who lives in northeast DC. She is passionate about Catholic social teaching and tries to live it out daily in her relationships and community. Most of her pleasures are guilty ones like television, burritos, and Twitter. Find out more about her here.