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Wednesday, April 24, 2024
The Observer

Love is always worth it

If humans were programmed like artificial intelligence, our code would be based on love. We are built for love.

As I was deciding what to write for this column, I knew it had to be something I could write quickly and easily, because it’s due soon and I’m busy. I decided to write about love, because love is the best thing. Who wouldn’t want more love in their life?

First of all, what is love?

I like to follow St. Thomas Aquinas’ definition: “to love is to will the good of another.” In other words, when we love someone, we want them to be happy and healthy. Love is not merely an emotion or a passion, but a decision we make to will the good of another.

Love is good, beautiful and true. I agree with St. John the Apostle that God is love. God created the world and each of us out of love. That means God loves us. How great is that! God, the almighty creator, desires our goodness. 

God calls us to love one another as He loves us. That means following His model of mercy, forgiveness and self-sacrifice. I’ll admit, this can sometimes be challenging. But it is also rewarding.

Love can be challenging for several reasons. First, love requires a degree of vulnerability and uncertainty. When we love other people, whether that be family members, friends, romantic partners or our neighbors, we open ourselves up to the possibility that our love will not turn out as planned. Maybe our love and our acts of kindness will go unnoticed, unreturned and unrequited.

Secondly, love leads to our transformation, and we cannot control how love will change our lives. This should not be a cause for fear but rather for hope, because if we strive to love with authenticity, we can trust that God is with us and will form us into the good and beautiful people we are destined to be.

Finally, when we love other people, our goodness becomes inextricably linked with the goodness of the other. That is, when the friend we love is happy, we are also happy. But when the friend we love is sad, we are also sad. 

So, why should we open ourselves to the emotional roller coaster that is love? Personally, I enjoy roller coasters. They’re exciting and exhilarating. And so is love. Once we start loving — truly loving every person unconditionally — our lives become an awesome adventure. And along this journey of love, we will also discover peace, joy and hope. Everything we could ever hope for and more flows from the fountain of love.

To be honest, I think our culture has the wrong idea of love. I asked ChatGPT (an unbiased reflection of our culture), “What is love?” The answer was lacking.

“In general, love can be described as a strong feeling of affection and connection that we have for others, whether it be romantic partners, family members, friends or even pets,” the A.I. said.

But love is not just a feeling! Feelings come and go; love is eternal. Feelings are self-centered; love is other-centered. Love is more than a feeling. It’s an act of kindness, of compassion.

Many times, when we love other people, we will indeed experience strong feelings of affection or connection. But we are called to love every person, even people we may not like. Furthermore, if we are in relationships of love, in our friendships or in our families, we must learn to love, even when doing so may be difficult.

Anything that is worth doing will be difficult. So, too, with love. Once we begin to love unconditionally, as God loves us, we enter into a divine journey. We give up some control, yes, but we allow ourselves to be shaped according to the perfect principles of love, so we will become kind, compassionate and forgiving. Moreover, as we learn to love, we will discover the peace, joy and hope that stems from love, and love will grant us the strength to withstand any hardship.

I love you for reading this. I hope that this column helps you to uncover this hidden treasure, this great pearl. It is worth it. You are worth it.

Joey Jegier is a senior at Notre Dame studying philosophy, ESS and German. He enjoys coffee, conversation and taking time to be still (when possible). Areas of interests include mysticism, education and discernment. Joey loves the city of South Bend and regularly visits the farmers market, his only source of milk and eggs. He would love to chat about anything and can be reached at jjegier2@nd.edu.

The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.