Every human heart longs to find love, to live in love, and to die having felt loved. As much as we may denigrate love or deny its existence, we always seem to dream about that place where we can find it.
Man cannot live without believing in love, and our constant search for it has led us to seek evidence of its existence and to ask others to give us irrefutable evidence of its reality. Love not an illusion, nor a fleeting intestinal emotion that time knows how to finish. But unfortunately, we often search in others that which we should be nourishing within ourselves.
That’s the first big mistake: looking for love in others but not inside oneself or in one’s own conviction. We believe that it is up to others to convince us that this is not a fantasy, and only when they make this tangible do we come to the conclusion that we are not just living in some wonderful fairy tale. We often deny a very simple truth: love exists in everyone who believes in it, because that in itself a sign of its presence. Formation, guidance, and the onset of emotional maturity are needed in order to turn an exaltation of the senses and emotions into a conscious decision to seek the good of another – a decision which nothing or nobody can change in one’s heart. When you truly love, and when that love is the product of conviction, there is no human power that can make us regress into seeking only what we want for ourselves. In that sense, love cannot be conditional (“If you’ll love me, I’ll love you” or “I’ll treat you as you treat me”). Regardless of the sorrow that exists to some extent within each person, when true love blossoms, it is able to remain in spite of adversity; he who loves does not allow external factors to affect the quality of that which he offers.
But what of those who, in their desire to test the power of a love given to them, demand “evidence” of it? A few points:
There are no such things as tests of love, for what one can do for somebody today might not be repeatable tomorrow.
Any requested “test” of love is nothing more than a veiled form of manipulation.
“If you give a mouse a cookie, he’s going to ask for a glass of milk.” There will always be more and more demands for shows of love. It’s never enough.
When the requested test is sexual in nature, women should remember that ease of her response comes at the expense of becoming an “easy girl.” The same “test of love” becomes a test of your integrity.
Even within the context of true love, one can say “yes or no” and not feel obliged to acquiesce to immoral or unreasonable demands. In this, sincerity and a desire for the good of the other is what counts.
To love is the vocation of every human being, and it is for love that we are created; it is our beginning, our middle, and our end, but because of that endless desire to experience love, we can fall into the trap of believing that anything is valid in order to attain it, including trampling on others. One does not build a life on the ashes of another. Whoever denies others the right to love denies himself, for love does not exist in a vacuum.
It is essential to understand that love consists of the mutual buildup of one person to another, and each becomes a means to reach the purpose of their existence (the other half is not mine; I am a medium for him). It is no longer just about not doing to others what we would not want them to do to us, but rather, “do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” In order to exist, love must go beyond pure sentiment and emotion; it must rise above the challenges and upsets we face each day.
Only love can give orientation to our lives, spare us from a sterile existence, fulfill our inmost being, and eternalize us in time. Whoever wishes to be must love, for he who loves becomes a reflection of God.