I look at you as I ride the metro, hair shaved down the middle, reading Crime and Punishment, and I want to tell you that I’m also reading Dostoyevsky, and that you are loved.
I walk alongside you in the blustery wind as you yell out random phrases to passerby, and I want to give you an umbrella, and to tell you that you are loved.
I stop next to you on the street corner, and look into your foggy cataract covered eyes, and I begin a conversation with you, but forget to tell you that you are loved.
I want to tell all of you the truth. That you are made in infinite love, to be infinitely loved, meant to return to infinite love.
The world you’ve been born into tells you otherwise. You watch the news and think this cannot be so. You look into the mirror and forget to infinitely love yourself. The people around you fail you, and so you believe you are not meant to be infinitely loved. You settle for tarnished love, overshadowed love, broken love.
Do not settle. You are worthy of the infinite. Your brothers and sisters have forgotten, because they too have experienced diminished love. They’re out of practice. Many have never even seen or felt infinitely loved. Show them.
Remember that you, too, are out of practice. Start practicing. In so doing, you will begin to rouse your brothers and sisters from the slumber of self-defense, indifference, numbness. But you yourself must first awaken. Open your eyes.
This is a vocation we are all called to. If we are called to love humanity as a whole—an easy and inspiring vow we all secretly make—it begins with the person next to you.
Mother Teresa said, “Peace and war begin at home. If we truly want peace in the world, let us begin by loving one another in our own families.”
Home is the hardest to love. Those around you are the hardest to love. They have imperfections, after all, annoying habits, cracks, creases and brokenness. It’s not pretty. It’s much easier to love the orphan in Rwanda, the refugee from Syria, the immigrant from Mexico—in theory. What about the co-worker who talks too much? The parent that nags? The roommate that doesn’t do the dishes? The cab driver that cut you off?
Let us love first those around us so that our love can come to embrace all of humanity.
Let us remind one another of the truth.