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Pope in Santa Marta: Concrete love can't be concocted in a lab

Pope Francis spoke about love in his homily at Casa Santa Marta. He said loving concretely means dirtying one's hands in works of love.

“If a person says, 'I, to be clean, to be very clean, only drink distilled water,' you'll die, eh? That's not what life requires. True love is not distilled water. It's the water of everyday, with its problems, its affections, with love and with hate. It's this: To love the concrete. Concrete love can't be concocted in a lab.”

Pope Francis said indifference is a way of not loving God and others. He said this must be avoided because love is made manifest in concrete acts of charity.

(Source: Vatican News)

First of all, the Pope explained, is the fact that “we love God because He loved us first.” Love, he continued, stems from Him: “I begin to love, or I can begin to love because I know that He loved me first.” He added, “If He had not loved us we certainly could not love. If a newborn child could speak, he would certainly express the fact that he feels loved by his parents. Parents love their child just as God loves us. He loved us first. This gives birth to and increases our capacity to love,” he said.

The second thing the apostle says is that “If one says, 'I love God' but hates his brother, he is a liar.” John, he pointed out, does not describe such a person as ‘rude’ or someone ‘who is wrong.’ He calls him a ‘liar.’

He went on to analyze the word ‘liar’ which, he said, is clearly defined in the Bible as “the devil’s way of being, ‘the Great Liar,’ as the New Testament tells us, ‘the father of lies.’ So, the Pope said, “if you say you love God but hate your brother, you are on the other side: you are a liar. There are no concessions to this.”

Many, Pope Francis continued, find justifications for not loving: “Some say ‘I don't hate, Father, but there are many people who hurt me, or people I can't accept because they are rude or crude.”

He underscored the concrete nature of love indicated by John when he writes “whoever does not love a brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. If you are not capable of loving people, from the closest to the furthest away, you cannot tell us that you love God: you are a liar,” he said.

Pope Francis then reflected on another aspect that can stop people from loving: their wish not “to meddle” in the lives of others. This too, he said is not good, because love “expresses itself by doing good.” True love, he explained, is expressed in everyday live, with its problems, its feelings of affection and dislike.

Remember, the Pope said quoting from St. Albert Hurtado, ‘It is good not to do evil, but it is bad not to do good.’ True love, he said “must lead you to do good, to dirty your hands in works of love.” It is not easy, Pope Francis admitted, but through faith there is the possibility of prevailing over a mentality “that prevents us from loving.”

“May the Lord teach us these truths: the knowledge of having been loved first and the courage to love our brothers.”

Claudia Torres