Power of Love

Antonio, P. Pueyo
May 15, 2005
Reproduced with Permission

What do these have in common? Spiderman, Superman, Harry Potter, the Ring, Voltes V, Ninja Turtles? Of course, they have extraordinary power.

Contemporary movies, tv series, and comic magazines are into fantasy stories. Usually these are fantasies of power. Such power may be gained from a magic word, a thing, a technology, or inherited from others. Even if some people claim to be scientific and modern, they fantasize about possessing extraordinary physical, mental, or spiritual powers obtained from incantations, amulets, powerful people, or secret potions.

The history of humanity may be described as a search for more power. Stone age man discovered that a rock-headed stick increased his power. Such power tools evolved to the point that we can snuff out our perceived enemies' lives and our own many times over. People have been searching for the magic elixir that would prolong life and retain youth. Beside researches in the empirical field, there are continuing attempts to go into the paranormal and psychic areas in order to develop the power of the mind over matter.

We have always desired to increase our power, whether physical, mental, psychic, economic, and political. We have developed our muscles in the gym, sharpened our intellect in school, tried to increase psychic energies by meditation and esoteric practices, amassed wealth, and gained influence. We have tried gadgets to speed up our cars. With the oil crisis, we have stored the sun's energy into solar cells and we have experimented with alternative fuels like alcogas. Somebody even claimed to have used water instead of gasoline to run his car.

For good or for ill, we have harnessed the power of the wind, the sun, and water. We have harnessed the energy hidden under the earth and in rocks and plants. We have tried to plug into various sources of power.

How about the power of the Spirit? Have we plugged into it?

On the day the Holy Spirit came down on the apostles they were filled with power so that they spoke in different tongues and they were filled with courage to come out from hiding and preach (Acts 2:1-11). It is this same Spirit who unified the community and gave each one gifts for service in the community (1 Cor, 12:3-7). It is by the power of the Holy Spirit that the apostles were given the power to forgive sins (Jn. 20:23).

St. Paul enumerates the different powers or gifts that come from the spirit: wisdom, knowledge, faith, healing, working, miracles, prophecy, discernment of spirits, speaking in tongues, interpretation of tongues (1 Cor. 12:7-11). Then St. Paul advises, "earnestly desire the higher gifts" (v. 31). This higher gift is love. St. Paul devotes a whole chapter describing the power of love (1 Cor. 13). He perorates, "Love never ends... so faith, hope, love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love."

To paraphrase St. Paul, we may have tapped the power of the wind, the power of water, the power of the various elements and minerals within the earth and under the seas, but if we do not have love, we are nothing. For what is power if it does not serve the common good. What is the gift if it does not benefit the community? Love overflows. Love is for others.

Here is one power that has lots of potentials, that has an endless source, and that is still largely untapped -- the power of love.

By love we do not mean just the sentimental, romantic, kind. We mean the love that seeks to do justice, that sacrifices oneself that others may live, that perseveres day in and day out, that seeks the unloved and unlovable, that does the impossible. This kind of love is what has driven saints before us to take care of the sick, the abandoned, and the unwanted. This is the love that has started schools, hospitals, and orphanages. This is the love that inspired Fr. Damien to live among the lepers in Molokai. This is the love that led Mother Alphonsa (Rose Hawthorne, Nathaniel Hawthorne's youngest daughter), to found the Servants of Relief for Incurable Cancer. This is the love of martyrs.

There is one source of this kind of active love. This is the love that comes from the Holy Spirit. It is free. It is a gift.

Ask for this gift, ask for this power. Ask for the Holy Spirit and pray, "Come Holy Spirit fill the hearts of your faithful, and enkindle in them the fire of your love."