To fall in love with someone is a beautiful thing, but I have found that falling in Love is even greater. Yes, that is, falling in capital L, Love with the One who is Love (1 John 4:8).
As I have grown in my faith the last few years I have frequently found myself in a state of searching. I have wondered why placing my trust in God and His will for my life would still leave me longing for more. The answer came to me while reflecting on my vocation, which is merely to love in the present moment.
St. Therese of Lisieux made this simple, yet seemingly profound discovery, “My vocation is love.” As I have searched to maintain a sense of peace in my life–a peace that will leave me fulfilled–God has gently reminded me that it will be nothing without love (1 Corinthians 13:2). I can love a lot of things in my life; however, it is not until I fall in Love and remain in that Love, that I will find fulfillment in my vocation. This ONE Love will decide everything. Father Pedro Arrupe described it as such: “Nothing is more practical than finding God. That is, than falling in 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.”
How beautiful it is that this Love can be so perfect and true that it transforms the way we live our lives. The apostle John tells us “There is no fear in love, but perfect love drives out fear.” (1 John 4:18) If we truly live our lives through this ONE, perfect, all-encompassing Love, we have nothing to fear. It is at the heart of everything we do, casting out any troubles along the way. It transforms our will to spread this love from our deepest roots. In St. Therese’s reflections she shares, “To spread love, we must begin by knowing it; we must begin by believing in it; we must begin by being filled with it; we must begin by living it.”
So now, I have found that no matter where God’s plan leads me, no matter the changes and struggles thrown at me, each day I have the opportunity to live out my vocation—to simply love in all things. The challenge—to stay in love.
Every time I begin to fall into the complacency of a restless life without Love, my heart and soul no longer feel satisfied. Thus, I pray for the strength and perseverance to stay in Love; to let it be the final, absolute and perfect Love that casts out all fear in my life; to let it continually decide all that is good and pleasing to my Beloved; to believe in this Love, to be constantly filled with this Love, and to live out this Love.
Allyson Cooney is a high school math teacher and lover of Jesus, coffee, beauty, and all things sports.