When you love, you are acting according to your deepest being, your deepest truth, your true self.

We all have experienced it, lived it and share it. It is universal to all of humanity. It is the most powerful, most needed, and most essential instruction. It is Love. Love is our foundation and our destiny. It is where we come from and where we are headed. As St. Paul famously says, “Faith, hope, and love will remain, but the greatest of these is love” (1 Corinthians 13:13).

Love… How can it be that our greatest pain and greatest joy come from the same place? Although I do not fully understand it, I know it is true. Love is the source of it all. Both joy and pain pour from an ever flowing stream of eternal love. The Most Essential Thing in all of life is always and forever love. The most wonderful thing in life is love and the most painful thing in life is love. LOVE, LOVE, LOVE… As the Beatles say “All we need is love”.

Neither St. Paul nor the Beatles are implying faith and hope are un-important. Rather, I think they are implying faith and hope are rooted in love. We have faith because we are divinely loved and I believe our hope finds it source from the experience of love.

My hope in writing this is to help clear away any impediments to receiving, allowing, trusting, and participating in our foundation of Love. Our creator God’s love is planted inside each of us. Love is essentially what and who we are. When you do not live according to love, you are outside of your true being. You are basically not real or true to yourself. When you love, you are acting according to your deepest being, your deepest truth, your true self. You are operating according to your divine dignity and DNA. Your DNA is love. All I can do is remind you of what you already know deep within your “True Self” and invite you to live connected to this life-giving source.

The Judeo-Christian creation story says that we were created in the very “image and likeness” of God—who by definition is infinite love (Genesis 1:26- 27). Out of the Trinity’s generative and infinitely flowing relationship, all of creation takes form, mirroring its Creator in its deepest identity. We have heard this phrase so often that we do not understand the existential shock of what “created in the image and likeness of God” is saying about us. If we are created in the image of God, then our image is love and our family of origin is divine love. This truth is saying that we were created by a loving God who invites us to experience and express infinite love.

Because of the painful reality of death, many reading this are currently expressing love in its most painful form, profound grief. The painful memories of deceased family and friends is love. The yearning we have inside of us to see them again is love. Until we experience the death of someone dearly loved, we have no idea the depth of pain love can bring. We often throw ourselves into loving relationships not knowing how much love could hurt. Today as much love hurts, we continue to trust that love is real and benevolent. May we trust that love is the source of all beauty and joy in this world. The faith we have is rooted in love, and the hope that sustains us is founded in love.

May we embrace grief knowing it is the painful reality of love that we are expressing. And may we have faith in the endurance and perseverance of love and hope in the promise of love that is eternal. May we express both the pain and joy of love as we remember and honor the loved ones who are so special to each of us. Grief is the last act of love we can give to those we loved. Where there is deep grief, there is great love.

Cornerstone of Hope Cleveland Office’s Spiritual Care Coordinator/Clinician