All You Need is Love
Back in 1967, The Beatles were supposedly asked to come up with a song with a message easily understood by everyone. According to Brian Epstein, the band’s manager then, “It was an inspired song and they really wanted to give the world a message. The nice thing about it is that it cannot be misinterpreted. It is a clear message saying that love is everything.”
Almost 50 years have passed since the song “All You Need is Love” was first performed and released as a single, but its universal theme transcends time.
It was, after all, Christ, himself, who started it all. When asked what was the greatest commandment (Matthew 22:37-40), Jesus replied: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it, you shall love your neighbour as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the law and the prophets.”
Thus, I find it quite fitting that Valentine’s Day (almost) always comes before Lent. We celebrate love in all its forms for the people in our lives – spouses, children, relatives, and friends – to help us prepare ourselves commemorate the greatest love of all. That is, God the Father gave us his only begotten son, who gave up his life for our salvation.
How can we, mere humans, return that love? To the best of our ability, to continuously strive to do so.
When in love, don’t we want to spend as much time as we can with the person we are in love with: see each other as often as we can; talk to them on the phone for hours on end; frequently exchange text messages; and chat online whenever we are able to.
Jesus is inside the Tabernacle and his sacrifice is commemorated at the altar every time a Mass is held. Receiving the Eucharist allows us to have him physically a part of us. So why only hear Mass on Sundays (if at all)? If we can hear Mass more often, the more time we get to spend with Jesus. Daily Mass can be quite a challenge, but not impossible, even for those who go to school or work. For those with schedules that make it quite difficult, starting small by regularly hearing Mass on Sundays (or the Saturday Vigil Mass) would be the first step. For others, add one more day, be it a weekday or Saturday morning.
Anyone we truly care about, when we offend them, our hearts are not at ease until we’ve patched things up with them. Whether or not we believe we were the ones at fault. We say sorry and mean it. We are forgiven and all is right again in the world.
The same goes for our relationship with God. We commit sin – we all do, whether we acknowledge it or not – and thus, need to ask his forgiveness. Although Church law only requires us to go to Confession once a year, it would be best to actually receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation frequently. We shouldn’t, after all, apologise to our loved ones for offending them by accumulating first all offenses and waiting for a particular time of the year to do so. We say we’re sorry as soon as possible. The same goes for confessing our sins. If we only go once a year, how will we even remember them all? How can we continue to spend time in church, receive Communion, when we have not yet asked for God’s forgiveness? Yes, the Mass includes the Penitential Rite at the beginning, but such is meant for venial sins (not grave/mortal ones). If we can try to go to Confession at least once a quarter, such would be good start, then monthly. If we can go more often and regularly (It is not too much for a person to go to Confession fortnightly or weekly, but rather, a recommended spiritual practice.), we can grow in love with God, in humility. Having sorrow for sins is, after all, considered a personal encounter with Jesus, who is the source of God’s grace, help, and forgiveness.
Pope Pius XII said this practise “was introduced into the Church by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.” Confession of everyday faults is “strongly recommended by the Church”, according to the Catechism of the Catholic Church 1458. Blessed Pope John Paul VI also noted that frequent confession is “of great value.”
We all want to be with the people we love most and even make promises of “forever”. God wants us to be with him eternally in heaven. Let us work on that.
As The Beatles sang, “All you need is love (All together now!). All you need is love (Everybody!). All you need is love, love. Love is all you need (Love