ONE Magazine

The official publication of
Catholic Near East Welfare Association

Celebrating 50 years | God • World • Human Family • Church

Lover’s Leap

From the Secretary General

A traditional story element in romance novels is the lover’s leap. Many a tale features a wounded or frustrated lover deciding to end his or her life by leaping to death from a cliff or precipice.

Even though the death may be depicted with great sentimentality as a heroic decision, it is, of course, nothing more than suicide. Further, these leaps are chosen for selfish reasons – the lover’s inability to endure rejection or frustration of not possessing the heart’s desire.

Actually, it’s a somewhat contradictory image of love. Usually love is something you leap into, rather than away from.

Here’s what I mean: Once, while serving as a priest in an inner-city neighborhood, I went for a walk in a park. There I saw a young father playing with his little son. He would place the tottering tot on the back of a park bench and then stand in front of him with open arms.

The little boy would leap forward into the air, unafraid, with a smile on his face and a cry of delight. His father would then swoop him up in his arms before he hit the ground. Again and again, the boy begged to jump. It was a wonderful game for him.

This is my favorite image for God – the loving father who stands before us with open arms as we totter on the brink of so many and such great falls in our lives – the loving father who swoops us up in his arms lest we dash our lives to the ground.

Alas, we adults have lost the innocent and unreflective confidence of little children. It’s not so easy to abandon all our life securities and leap into the unknown – it’s not so easy trusting and leaping into the invisible arms of God.

Jesus taught us the greatest commandment is “You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your soul and with all your mind.” St. John, in his First Letter, challenges us with the question, How do we love God whom we do not see?

Loving God is not about seeing. Seeing and insight are matters of the head, not of the heart. Seeing is how we reach out and bring the real world to ourselves.

Loving is a matter of the heart, not the head. Loving is how we reach out and give ourselves to the world and entrust ourselves to God.

How do we love God? We do it best by leaping into his love – by surrendering all our securities and certainties – by letting go of all our dearest possessions, be they tangible or intangible – by leaping into the fearful unknown with our eyes of faith fixed on him.

Whatever tottering place I find myself in, I’m there because his providence put me there. In him, and in his love, I live and move and have my being. I can’t maintain the uneasy balance of my life unaided. But why worry? The love that placed me there will catch me lest I fall. By loving we make that supreme leap of faith and trust – we hurl ourselves with a smile on our faces and a cry of delight into the arms of Love himself.

I hope the ongoing story of your life always includes a lover’s leap.

Msgr. Archimandrite Robert L. Stern, Secretary General of CNEWA

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