Amoris Laetitia 118: Love Endures All Things

amoris laetitia memeWhen I read of endurance in this context, I think of sport. Not necessarily in the contest with others, but the demands placed on the self for distance running. Pope Francis suggests also a readiness for challenges as they approach or envelop us.

118. Panta hypoménei. This means that love bears every trial with a positive attitude. It stands firm in hostile surroundings. This “endurance” involves not only the ability to tolerate certain aggravations, but something greater: a constant readiness to confront any challenge. It is a love that never gives up, even in the darkest hour. It shows a certain dogged heroism, a power to resist every negative current, an irrepressible commitment to goodness.

The heroism our culture knows, or at least views, through the devotion of many to superheroes. One need not be “super” in the sense of personal powers, but turning to saints, one can discern what is often needed:

Here I think of the words of Martin Luther King, who met every kind of trial and tribulation with fraternal love: “The person who hates you most has some good in him; even the nation that hates you most has some good in it; even the race that hates you most has some good in it. And when you come to the point that you look in the face of every man and see deep down within him what religion calls ‘the image of God’, you begin to love him in spite of [everything]. No matter what he does, you see God’s image there. There is an element of goodness that he can never sluff off… Another way that you love your enemy is this: when the opportunity presents itself for you to defeat your enemy, that is the time which you must not do it… When you rise to the level of love, of its great beauty and power, you seek only to defeat evil systems. Individuals who happen to be caught up in that system, you love, but you seek to defeat the system… Hate for hate only intensifies the existence of hate and evil in the universe. If I hit you and you hit me and I hit you back and you hit me back and so on, you see, that goes on ad infinitum. It just never ends. Somewhere somebody must have a little sense, and that’s the strong person. The strong person is the person who can cut off the chain of hate, the chain of evil… Somebody must have religion enough and morality enough to cut it off and inject within the very structure of the universe that strong and powerful element of love”.(Martin Luther King Jr., Sermon delivered at Dexter Avenue Baptist Church, Montgomery, Alabama, 17 November 1957)

Surprised by this reference? Any comments on it, or on the notion of endurance in love?

For your reference, Amoris Laetitia is online here.

About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in the Pacific Northwest, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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