“Let your religion be less of a theory and more of a love affair.” ~ G.K. Chesterton
Technique is so important in any area of life. If you want to be a great ball player, you have to have technique. If you want to be a great actor, technique. If you want to be a great surgeon, technique. You have to “have the moves.”
In many professions, though, it’s not solely about technique, it’s also about heart. When I saw today’s quote, the first thing that came to my mind was figure skating. I have been a fan of figure skating since I have been quite young. My mother and I, with rapt fascination, would watch the skating portion of the Olympics.
When a couple absolutely nailed a performance, it was because they were not only flawless in technique, they were also flawless in heart. You could feel something as you watched them. There was a beauty that would shine through their performance that left you speechless, or crying, or emotionally moved in some other way.
Chesterton is speaking to an important facet of the faith: it has to be more than intellectual. We might all know people that can cite Bible verses, cite Church teaching, perform corporal and spiritual works of mercy and other things but who appear to be hollow and lifeless inside. All the knowledge of the faith that they quote doesn’t appear to amount to much.
We might also know people who are paragons of the lived faith. We see them reaching out to others, we hear them singing religious songs in church, at home, or on the street, and we see other signs of someone who would be called faithful. When we see them, as opposed to the examples of the previous paragraph, we believe that we are seeing the faith unfold in front of us. We might even be able to say that we see Jesus in them.
While they were still living, people used to say that about Mother Teresa of Calcutta and about Pope John Paul II. So many claimed that they were living saints. Their ways were simple and humble but their influence on others was deeply profound. Their religion, in Chesterton’s terms, was a love affair, a love affair with God. Because they were so deeply in love with God, everyone around them received a heaping share of love as well.
I wonder if you realize that we are all supposed to be that way and not just occasionally. We are supposed to be that way each and every day of our lives. In doing so, our love for God grows and the lives of people we encounter will be blessed and edified.
FAITH ACTION: Be not afraid to love God deeply and profoundly and to share that love with all you encounter.