When they were teenagers, Tim and Jill fell in love. They would phone each other often and have long conversations. At the end of any conversation, when it was time to hang up, they would each take a turn declaring, “Love you.”
Tim worked part time at a home-improvement store when he was not taking college courses. One busy day, his boss, Frank, phoned him to discuss a question about work. As the conversation was ending, distracted Tim said to his boss. “Love you,” to which his boss replied, “Don’t go there!”
It was a silly mistake, resulting from habit and fatigue; every time I remember the incident, I have to chuckle. However, I did start thinking about how habit can somewhat detract from the meaning or essence of a reality. For example, at Mass, the celebrant says several times, “The Lord be with you,” and we respond, “And with your spirit.” Do we ever think about of what that means? The priest could be reminding us of the Lord’s presence, or he could be prompting us to intentionally invite the Lord into our celebration.
Someone often responds to that with, “God bless you!” Is that a real mini-prayer for blessing or is it just a habitual response to a slightly disrupting sound?
As we come to the close of the season of Advent, let’s take a few moments to think about our prayers of love to the Lord. We tell the Lord we love Him, but are we really paying attention to what that means? That word, love, is tossed around a lot: we love that food, we love to go surfing, we love that story. We read that God so loved the world.
I suggest that as Christmas draws near we pray some love prayers that are very persona:
I love you, Jesus, and thank you especially today for….
I love you, Savior, and today I will make a special effort to be tolerant and forgiving of……..
I love you, God, who came to set us free, and I will work, in your precious name, to free someone of a challenge or problem.
I love you, Lamb of God, and I will gently share your message of salvation to another person today.
I love you, babe who slept in a manger, and I will spend a few minutes in attentive silence today and allow you to speak to me.
Redeemer of mankind, Love you!