You know that the title of this reflection does not match with what I have been sharing with you. The title isn’t finished. It is the beginning of a response from a girl, just eight years old, when she was asked ‘What does love mean?’
I could go on to say that instead of saying ‘I love you’, it would be best to do something to show that you love someone. But Jessica, the eight-year old doesn’t agree. The next phrase of her response is ‘unless you mean it’. You really shouldn’t say ‘I love you’ unless you mean it.’ Quite mature for a little girl, isn’t it?
We say ‘I love you’ or ‘I love it’, or I love pizza, or I love jazz. Do you really mean that you love pizza? It waters down that beautiful emotion, one that Jesus spoke of often and continues to offer us.
Jessica is not finished telling us what love means, though. She continues, ‘But if you mean it, you should say it a lot.’ Now makes sense to me. Something as beautiful, engaging, healing, and joy-filled as LOVE, should be saved for important telling.
Then this wise 8-year-old adds a short phrase that gives you the reason for saying ‘I love you’ a lot. She adds, ‘People forget.’ Even though someone knows you love them, hearing those words polishes what they know, and makes it shine. Not hearing those three little words dulls the finish.
How about your Mom and Dad or cousins and neighbors? How about your spouse or friend or mother-in- law? Have you told them lately that you love them? Could you tell them once again? P. S. “Love ya!” doesn’t do it.
Peace, Joy, and Everything Good,
Oldenburg Franciscan Center
Sisters of St. Francis, Oldenburg