A Recipe For Life

15 Feb

“Intense love does not measure, it just gives.” ~ St. Teresa of Calcutta

My grandmother lived to the ripe old age of one hundred and two. In all of those years, she touched our lives in innumerable ways.  She loved with an intensity that was unmatched and she did for every one of us.  She used to crochet.  All of us have afghans that she made for us. All through college and graduate school I wore house slippers and gloves that she crocheted for me.  She used to cook up a storm as well.  Her meat and pasta dishes would match any great cook and her breads and buns, well, they were simply “to die for.”

When she was getting to the point that baking and cooking was becoming too hard for her, we realized that we had a dilemma on our hands.  None of us knew how to make her things because there were no recipes.  She did everything from scratch, from heart, from texture, and from taste. So, we would get her in the kitchen and have her make one of her famous things. We would watch and, after she threw what ingredients would be needed in the pot or bowl, we would measure that ingredient so that we would have a chance at recreating her recipe.  For her, though, nothing was exactly measured.  She just threw things in until it was enough.

St. Teresa of Calcutta must have met my grandmother because she explains her recipe for Christian living: don’t measure, just throw things in until it is enough. It really is that simple. Some people attempt to deal with situations in life by using just the right amount.  Love refuses to be measured, though.  It simply gives.  It pours itself out until it fills every crack, every space, and every gap. And then it pours a little bit more until it overflows.  Once something overflows with love, love says, “That’s enough.”

That is the way we are to look at our lives.  We are at the beginning of Lent.  We might ask ourselves, “What do I need to do to make this Lent a success.”  The answer, quite simply, is “Everything.”  Don’t just make one or two feeble attempts at something.  Don’t just say, “I’m going to add an extra prayer or two to my daily or weekly schedule” and think that is enough.  Pour yourself entirely into Lent because that is what God is doing for us.  His grace is literally pouring into our souls until they overflow.

Why not give some of it back to Him by loving: intensely, completely, and overwhelmingly.  Sin and evil can face many things and can often come out victorious.  But against love, sin and evil cannot possibly stand.  If we want to wipe sin out of our lives and become closer to God, we just need to use the magic ingredient: love.  No measuring cup is necessary.  Just pour until it is enough.

And then, like my grandma, add a pinch more to make it even better.

FAITH ACTION:  Do everything today out of pure love and watch the difference it can make in people’s lives.