Updated: Mar 25, 2020
In the last analysis, there is nothing quite like hearing the words “I love you” from a close, intimate friend, a spouse or even a parent. At thirty-two years old, it still means a great deal to me to hear those words from my parents and to be able to say them back.
It is not cliché to say that love conquers all. In almost all Eastern Catholic and Eastern Orthodox churches, there is some version of the Christ Pantokrator, or “Christ Almighty.” One of my favorite renderings of this, however, is in the Roman Catholic basilica in Washington, DC. I was there about two months ago and I took this photo of the huge mosaic along the back of the church. The reason I love this portrayal so much is because it shows better than any I’ve seen the conquering nature of Christ’s love. It shows in the wounds in His hands that He holds up for all to see in a very priestly gesture. It shows in the triumphant expression on His face. Not only can love conquer all, but it, in fact, already has.
What the challenge for us is, however, is humbling ourselves enough so that we can be conquered by that love. Only then can we, in turn, carry that out to the world so that others can enjoy the peace that is the fruit of love. But this kind of love is not mere trite sentimentality; true love involves humility and suffering. We must be willing to accept that suffering along with the profound joy that comes with true, transcendent love.
So let’s pray that people, including (perhaps especially) ourselves, will be open to the all-powerful love that Christ offers to all who are willing to, in Christ’s own words, “take up your cross and follow me.”