St. Paul’s Ode to Love ~ How do we measure up?

 

Many of us are thinking of our Valentine’s these days — our lovers,  intend-eds, spouses, classmates, mothers and also spouses remembering their deceased loved ones.

Hallmark would encourage us to “send the very best.”   And marketeers would like to get their greedy fingers on our credit cards for this one-day holiday, wouldn’t they?

So let’s go a little deeper here. What is true love, really?

I’ve officiated at the marriages of many young couples who have chosen St. Paul’s Ode to Love for their wedding Mass.

It has got to be one of the most glorious pieces of prose of all time.

Take the time to take it in and see how you measure up.

. . . . If I speak in human and angelic tongues but do not have love,                  

I am a resounding gong or a clashing cymbal.

And if I have the gift of prophecy and comprehend all mysteries and all knowledge;

if I have all faith so as to move mountains but do not have love, I am nothing.

If I give away everything I own, and if I hand my body over so that I may boast but do not have love, I gain nothing.

Love is patient,

love is kind.

It is not jealous,

Love is not pompous,

it is not inflated,

it is not rude,

it does not seek its own interests,

it is not quick-tempered,

it does not brood over injury,

it does not rejoice over wrongdoing but rejoices with the truth.

It bears all things,

believes all things,

hopes all things,

endures all things.

Love never fails.

So faith, hope, love remain, these three; but the greatest of these is Love.

~ I Corinthians 13 

Dearest God,

You are Love itself.

We give you thanks for the people in our lives who have loved-us-into-the-Persons-we-have-become.

We rejoice in them and remember them in love.

But so many of us are wounded because we’ve not experienced the parental love that would allow us to know how to love.

Help us take your apostle Paul’s words to heart that we may truly know the true meaning of love.

May we have a heart open to all persons, all of life, all of the universe.

To You Lord, be glory and praise, now and forever.

Amen!

Before  you go, take a moment to listen to Bette Midler’s “The Rose” Click here. It’s a song  I’ve always favored ~ one of my generation. I think it sets the tone for what I want to say here.   Be sure to turn up your speakers and enter full screen and have a great day!  It’s a song I’ve always attributed to Our Lady.

 I’ll be publishing two more Valentine’s blogs trying to unpack the meaning of St. Paul’s Ode to Love before Valentine’s Day.

With love,

Bob Traupman

contemplative writer

St. Paul’s Ode to Love ~ How do we measure up?

 

 

Many of us are thinking of our Valentine’s these days — our lovers,  intend-eds, spouses, classmates, mothers and also spouses remembering their deceased loved ones.

Hallmark would encourage us to “send the very best.”   And marketeers would like to get their greedy fingers on our credit cards for this one-day holiday, wouldn’t they?

There’s a bit of a damper on this “holiday” this year as February 14 is also Ash Wednesday. For many Christian  it’s  the beginning of Lent and is a day of fasting and abstinence for us Catholics.

So let’s go a little deeper here. What is true love, really?

I’ve officiated at the marriages of many young couples during my years as a priest have chosen  St. Paul’s Ode to Love for their wedding Mass.

It has got to be one of the most glorious pieces of prose of all time.

Take the time to take it in and see how you measure up.

. . . . If I speak in human and angelic tongues but do not have love,                  

I am a resounding gong or a clashing cymbal.

And if I have the gift of prophecy and comprehend all mysteries and all knowledge;

if I have all faith so as to move mountains but do not have love, I am nothing.

If I give away everything I own, and if I hand my body over so that I may boast but do not have love, I gain nothing.

Love is patient,

love is kind.

It is not jealous,

Love is not pompous,

it is not inflated,

it is not rude,

it does not seek its own interests,

it is not quick-tempered,

it does not brood over injury,

it does not rejoice over wrongdoing but rejoices with the truth.

It bears all things,

believes all things,

hopes all things,

endures all things.

Love never fails.

So faith, hope, love remain, these three; but the greatest of these is Love.

~ I Corinthians 13 

Dearest God,

You are Love itself.

We give you thanks for the people in our lives who have loved-us-into-the-Persons-we-have-become.

We rejoice in them and remember them in love.

But so many of us are wounded because we have not experienced the parental love that would allow us to know how to love.

Help us take your apostle Paul’s words to heart that we may truly know the true meaning of love.

May we have a heart open to all persons, all of life, all of the universe.

To You Lord, be glory and praise, now and forever.

Amen!

Before  you go, take a moment to listen to Bette Midler’s “The Rose” Click Here. It’s a song  I’ve always favored ~ one of my generation. I think it sets the tone for what I want to say here.   Be sure to turn up your speakers and enter full screen and have a great day!  It’s a song I’ve always attributed to Our Lady.

 I’ll be publishing two more Valentine’s blogs trying to unpack the meaning of St. Paul’s Ode to Love this week and then on Monday we’ll have some fun on Carnival! from Rio and get ready for Ash Wednesday and the  Holy Lenten Season.

With love,

Bob Traupman

contemplative writer

Love transforms us

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Dear Friends,

We’ve been talking about St. Paul’s Ode to Love (1 Corinthians 13) ~ the awesome love that transforms.

But many of us don’t know how to love in a way that transforms because we’re more interested in getting love than giving it.

So, let’s think about that for a moment.

Many young folks in our society have not experienced the love that transforms, even from their own parents or their spouses. Very often, their relationships center on their own needs, even when they’re “giving” to their significant other.

But in order to love in a transforming way, we have to loved in a way that frees us.

So I ask you ~

Who are the people in your life who were able to recognize the YOU inside you? 

       Who-knew-who-you-were behind the mask you present to the world each day?

Who are the people who recognized-your-gifts and called-them-forth-from-the-deep-within-you? 

       Who-drew-forth-the-goodness-they-saw-in-you when what you were presenting to the world you thought wasn’t very good at all?

That’s love that transforms! That heals.  That gets us going again.  That moves us down the road a bit.

At this moment I want to name one such man who has had an enormous influence on my life.  He is Father Eugene Walsh.  We used to call him Gino. He was the rector of my seminary the year I was preparing for ordination. He was a Father-figure for me and a mentor; I learned most of what I know about the sacred liturgy from him.

I had the good fortunate to get on his short list to have him as my spiritual director.  He had a way of listening deeply below the level of my words.

I remember one night in his study.  We were sitting across from each  other in two easy chairs.  I was always intrigued that the wall behind him was bright orange with a large abstract painting on it.  I was struggling that night about whether I would proceed toward ordination.

Of a sudden, he sprung from his chair, hugged me and whispered in my ear my name ~ Bob ~ and I heard it resonate for the longest time.  His voice found me ~ some place deep within and called me forth.

I can still hear him calling me ~ right now.  At that moment, his deep, resonating love ~ transformed me.  Affirmed me, confirmed me.  (I’ll start writing very soon about my priesthood and my bipolar journey and I will tell the story of this wonderful man and the many others who influenced and shaped my life over the years; there are many; and I am grateful to each and every one.)

More than any other person, there is Jesus; I try to be like him.  He was so human.  He teaches me how to be a human being, above all.  To be a simple, decent, human being.  And to be human, most of all, is to be capable of loving and receiving love.  The same was true of Father Walsh.

And that’s what I’ve always taught:  Sin is the refusal Of love, the refusal To love, as well as the refusal to grow and the refusal to give thanks.

So ask yourself:  Who are the people who really knew who you were on the inside, accepted you as you are–the good and the bad–and called you forth to be the best person you could be?

Why don’t you reflect on this  through the day — while you’re driving, sitting on the john  or doing the dishes.  Give thanks for them.  And maybe give them a call.  Not an email; a phone call.

And finally, I want to honor the two-love birds in the picture above.  They are John and Betsy Walders of Sebastian, Florida. John passed away in November 2015. They were  married for sixty-six years and were as much in love as the day they met in childhood.  (Take note that they’re both wearing denim in this picture I took of them a couple of years ago.)   In their eighties they went on a serendipitying  wonder trip around the country, quite oblivious to the fact that they weren’t teenagers anymore!  The joy and memory of all those years sustains Betsy as she witnessed her beloved withdraw into Alzheimer’s.  Asked if they ever considered a divorce, she thought a moment and said, “Divorce, no, murder, yes!”

I love them dearly and miss visiting, but Betsy and I talk and have many a laugh on the phone every couple of weeks. She’s now 91 and I pray every night ~ as I do for some other friends ~ to alleviate her loneliness.

But spouses who’ve lost their loved ones still remember them on Valentine’s Day, don’t they?

Beloved,

let us love one another because love is of God;

everyone who is begotten of God has knowledge of God.  

No one has ever seen God.

Yet if we love one another

God dwells in us, and his love is brought to perfection in us.  (1 Jn 4:7, 12)

Dear Friends, see if you can make this prayer your own ~

Good and gracious God,

You are the One most of all who has loved me into wholeness,

who is calling me forth to be the best person I can be,

calling me not so much to want to be loved as to love.

I thank you for sending people into my life who, even for a brief moment,

have touched me deep within and helped to transform me into a more deeply loving person.

Help me always to be a person who is capable of transforming love.

And now, before you go, here’s a hymn based on St. Paul’s Ode to Love: Click Here.  It’s soft and lovely, so be sure to turn up your speakers and enter full screen.

With love,

Bob Traupman

contemplative writer  

 

St. Paul’s Ode to Love ~ How do we measure up?

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Many of us are thinking of our Valentine’s these days — our lovers,  intend-eds, spouses, classmates, mothers and also spouses remembering their deceased loved ones.

Hallmark would encourage us to “send the very best.”   And the marketeers would like to get their greedy fingers on our credit cards for this one-day holiday, wouldn’t they?

But let’s go a little deeper here. What is true love, really?

I’ve officiated at the marriages of many young couples during my years as a priest who’ve chosen  St. Paul’s Ode to Love for their wedding Mass.

It has got to be one of the most glorious pieces of prose of all time.

Take the time to take it in and see how you measure up.

. . . . If I speak in human and angelic tongues but do not have love,                  

I am a resounding gong or a clashing cymbal.

And if I have the gift of prophecy and comprehend all mysteries and all knowledge;

if I have all faith so as to move mountains but do not have love, I am nothing.

If I give away everything I own, and if I hand my body over so that I may boast but do not have love, I gain nothing.

Love is patient,

love is kind.

It is not jealous,

Love is not pompous,

it is not inflated,

it is not rude,

it does not seek its own interests,

it is not quick-tempered,

it does not brood over injury,

it does not rejoice over wrongdoing but rejoices with the truth.

It bears all things,

believes all things,

hopes all things,

endures all things.

Love never fails.

So faith, hope, love remain, these three; but the greatest of these is Love.

~ I Corinthians 13

 

Dearest God,

You are Love itself.

We give you thanks for the people in our lives who have loved-us-into-the-Persons-we-have-become.

We rejoice in them and remember them in love.

But so many of us are wounded because we have not experienced the parental love that would allow us to know how to love.

Help us take your apostle Paul’s words to heart that we may understand the true meaning of love.

May we have a heart open to all persons, all of life, all of the universe.

To You Lord, be glory and praise, now and forever.

Amen!

Before  you go, take a moment to listen to Bette Midler’s “The Rose”. Click here. Turn up your speakers and be sure to enter full screen and have a great day!  It’s a song I’ve always attributed to Our Lady.

 I’ll be publishing four more Valentine’s blogs trying to unpack the meaning of St. Paul’s Ode to Love. Valentine’s Day, is on the 14th, next Tuesday.

With love,

Bob Traupman

contemplative writer

Love Transforms Us

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Dear Friends,

We’ve been talking about St. Paul’s Ode to Love (1 Corinthians 13) ~ the awesome love that transforms.

But many of us don’t know how to love in a way that transforms because we’re more interested in getting love than giving it.

So, let’s think about that for a moment.

Many young folks in our society have not experienced the love that transforms, even from their own parents or their spouses. Very often, their relationships center on their own needs, even when they’re “giving” to their significant other.

But in order to love in a transforming way, we have to love in a way that frees us.

So I ask you . . . .

Who are the people in your life who were able to recognize the YOU inside you?

       Who-knew-who-you-were behind the mask you present to the world each day?

Who are the people who recognized your gifts and called them forth from-the-deep-within-you?

       Who drew forth the goodness they-saw-in-you when what you were presenting to the world you thought wasn’t very good at all?

That’s love that transforms! That heals.  That gets us going again.  That moves us down the road a bit.

At this moment I’d like to name one such man who has had an enormous influence on my life.  He is Father Eugene Walsh.  We used to call him Gino. He was the rector of my seminary the year I was preparing for ordination. He was a Father-figure for me and a mentor; and I also learned most of what I know about the sacred liturgy from him.

I had the good fortunate to get on his short list to have him as my spiritual director.  He had a way of listening deeply below the level of my words.

I remember one night in his study.  We were sitting across from each  other in two easy chairs.  I was always intrigued that the wall behind him was bright orange with a large abstract painting on it.  I was struggling that night about whether I would go on to be ordained a priest.

Of a sudden, he sprung from his chair, hugged me and whispered in my ear my name ~ Bob.  And I heard it resonate for the longest time His voice found me ~ some place deep within and called me forth.

I can still hear him calling me ~ right now.  At that moment, his deep, resonating love ~ transformed me.  Affirmed me, confirmed me.

More than any other person, there is  Jesus; I have tried to be like him.  He was so human.  He has ~ he is teaching me how to be a human being, above all.  A simple, decent, human being.  And to be human, most of all, is to be capable of loving and receiving love.  The same was true of Father Walsh.

So ask yourself:  Who are the people who really knew who you were on the inside, accepted you as you are ~ the good and the bad ~ and called you forth to be the best person you could be?

Why don’t you reflect on this  through the day ~ while you’re driving, sitting on the john  or doing the dishes.  Give thanks for them.  And maybe give them a call.  Not an email ~ a phone call.

And finally, I want to honor the two-love birds in the picture above.  They are John and Betsy Walders of Sebastian, Florida.  They will be married sixty-six years next week  (February 19, 2015) and are as much in love as the day they met as teens. (Take note that there  both still wearing denim.)   In their early eighties they went on a serendipitying around the country, quite oblivious to the fact that they weren’t teenagers anymore!  The joy and memory of all those years sustains Betsy as she witnesses her beloved withdraw into Alzheimer’s. They’re both in their nineties.

Asked if they ever considered a divorce, she thought a moment and said, “Divorce, no, murder, yes!”

I love them dearly and miss visiting, but Betsy and I talk and have many a laugh on the phone every couple of weeks.

Dear Friends, see if you can make this prayer your own . . . .

Good and gracious God,

You are the One most of all who has loved me into wholeness,

who is calling me forth to be the best person I can be,

calling me not so much to want to be loved as to love.

I thank you for sending people into my life who, even for a brief moment,

have touched me deep within and helped to transform me into a more deeply loving person.

Help me always to be a person who is capable of transforming love.

And now, before you go, here’s Joan Baez’ Forever Young Click here.  Turn up your speakers.  Be sure to enter full screen; it’s a song I’ve always enjoyed!

With love,

Bob Traupman

contemplative writer  

 

Jilted lovers

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mesa verde national park of southern colorado / march 2008 / bob traupman. 

Dear Sisters and Brothers,

Our society finds it quite acceptable for people to hop into one relationship after another or just satisfy their needs by”hooking up”.

How many times have young people thought that this was the person of their dreams and been dumped by a rude text message ~ or done the dumping themselves?

How many marriages have ended when one spouse shows up in the kitchen and announces, “I want a divorce!”  No discussion.  No attempt to work out problems.  No mercy.  No forgiveness.   It’s over.  Done.

And what happens is that we may add one unsuccessful relationship on top of another.  As a result, our heart can become more and more wounded. And less and less trusting, less and less capable of loving .  . . unless we somehow find a way to believe again, to hope again.

So, let’s take a deeper look at the truth and the transforming power of St. Paul’s words in I Corinthians 13 that we’re reflecting on in this series “What is Love?”

LOVE . . .

. . .  it is not rude,                                                                                                                     it does not seek its own interests,

it is not quick-tempered,                                                                                                                                 it does not brood over injury,

it does not rejoice over wrongdoing but rejoices with the truth.

it bears all things.                                                                                                                                                 believes all things,                                                                                                                                           hopes all things.                                                                                                                                                   endures all things.

Love never fails.

We just have to learn to love anyway.

At least, that’s what St. Paul is getting at “Love does not brood over injuries.”

In the Art of Loving, psychoanalyst Erich Fromm’s classic book written in 1956, consider his statement that will blow most of us out of the water:

“Love is not primarily a relationship to a specific person:  it is an attitude, an orientation of character which determines the relatedness of a person to the world as a whole, not toward one “object” of love.  If a person loves only one person and is indifferent to the rest of his fellow men, his love is not love but a symbiotic attachment  or an enlarged egotism . . . If I truly love one person I love all persons, I love the world; I love life.  If I can say to somebody else, “I love you,” I must be able to say”I love in you everybody.   I love through you the world, I love in you also myself” (emphasis mine)~ p. 39.)

This is, of course, is the heart of Jesus’ message, but many, if not most of us who say we’re his followers, still don’t get it.

 As tech opportunities for “communication” proliferate, the less we communicate.  We communicate more and more on a superficial level.  You can’t really know someone through texting or on Facebook or in an email.  A person can present a false persona. The only real way to communicate with someone is to be in their presence using all our senses.

We need to learn, once again how to come to true intimacy ~ the coming together of two or more persons who have the courage to open ourselves to the transformative power of love.

If you are one who seeks that, I’m with you.   That’s what my writing is about.

In tomorrow’s blog in this series, I’ll turn this subject around to consider “The Transformative Power of Love.”

Good and gracious God,

we ask you to heal the hearts that are broken.

Help us to see even in the midst of our brokenness the depth of Your Love for us.

And may we see Your brokenness when we reject Your love.

We may feel we cannot take the risk to open our hearts once more.

Give us the courage and strength to stop destructive patterns that lead only to more pain.

Give us hope, Lord.

Instead of seeking to find our true love,

let us simply become persons who love ~

. . . whomever we’re with,

. . . to grow in our capacity to love that we can hold the whole world in our embrace

as You do at every moment,

in every time and place.

To You, God of our understanding,

we give You praise, now and forever.

AMEN!

Now one more time, look at that tree at the top of the page, weathering the mountaintop at 8000 feet.  It has been jilted by the weather.  But it still stands nobly and proudly ~ broken, gnarled and twisted ~ but a fine lesson to us of the meaning of life.

And here is the entire text of St. Paul’s Ode to Love (I Corinthians 13) once again.   Savor each phrase and see how you measure up . . . 

If I speak in human and angelic tongues but do not have love, I am a resounding gong or a clashing cymbal.   And if I have the gift of prophecy and comprehend all mysteries and all knowledge; if I have all faith so as to move mountains  but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give away everything I own, and if I hand my body over so that I may boast but do not have love, I gain nothing. Love is patient, love is kind. It is not jealous. Love is not pompous, it is not inflated,it is not rude, it does not seek its own interests, it is not quick-tempered,  does not brood over injury,it does not rejoice over wrongdoing but rejoices with the truth.It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.  Love never fails.  So faith, hope love remain, these, but the greatest of these is love.  1 Corinthians 13

Now, before you go, here’s Paul Mc Cartney singing “All my loving” Click here.

With Love, 

Bob Traupman 

Contemplative Writer

Ode to Love

IMG_1177Quantcast

Many of us are thinking of our Valentine’s these days — our lovers,  “intendeds.” spouses, classmates, mothers . . .  At least Hallmark would have us “send the very best.”

So, what is love?

I’ve officiated at the marriages of many young couples  over the 45 years of my priesthood who’ve chosen  St. Paul’s Ode to Love for their wedding Mass.

It has got to be one of the most glorious pieces of prose of all time.

Take the time to take it in and see how you measure up.

If I speak in human and angelic tongues but do not have love,                                                                                                                  I am a resounding gong or a clashing cymbal.

And if I have the gift of prophecy and comprehend all mysteries and all knowledge;

if I have all faith so as to move mountains but do not have love, I am nothing.

If I give away everything I own, and if I hand my body over so that I may boast but do not have love, I gain nothing.

Love is patient,

love is kind.

It is not jealous,

Love is not pompous,

it is not inflated,

it is not rude,

it does not seek its own interests,

it is not quick-tempered,

it does not brood over injury,

it does not rejoice over wrongdoing but rejoices with the truth.

It bears all things,

believes all things,

hopes all things,

endures all things.

Love never fails.

So faith, hope, love remain, these three; but the greatest of these is Love.

I Corinthians 13


Dearest God,

You are Love itself.

We give you thanks for the people in our lives who have loved-us-into-the-Persons-we-are.

We rejoice in them and remember them in love.

But so many of us are wounded because we have not experienced the parental love

that would allow us to know and experience how to love.

Help us take your apostle Paul’s words to heart that we may understand the true meaning of love.

May we have a heart that is open to all persons, all of life, all of the universe.

To You Lord, be glory and praise, now and forever.

Amen!


Before  you go, take a moment to listen to Bette Midler’s The Rose. Click here. Turn up your speakers and be sure to enter full screen and have a great day!


With love,

Bob Traupman

contemplative writer

Love Transforms Us

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Dear Friends,

We’ve been talking about St. Paul’s Ode to Love (1 Corinthians 13) ~ the awesome love that transforms.

But many of us don’t know how to love in a way that transforms because we’re more interested in getting love than giving it.

So, let’s think about that for a moment.

Many young folks in our society have not experienced the love that transforms, even from their own parents or their spouses. Very often, their relationships center on their own needs, even when they’re “giving” to their significant other.

But in order to love in a transforming way, we have to love in a way that frees us.

So I ask you . . . .

Who are the people in your life who were able to recognize the YOU inside you?

       Who-knew-who-you-were behind the mask you present to the world each day?

Who are the people who recognized your gifts and called them forth from-the-deep-within-you?

       Who drew forth the goodness they-saw-in-you when what you were presenting to the world you thought wasn’t very   good at all?

That’s love that transforms! That heals.  That gets us going again.  That moves us down the road a bit.

At this moment I want to name one such man who has had an enormous influence on my life.  He is Father Eugene Walsh.  We used to call him Gino. He was the rector of my seminary the year I was preparing for ordination. He was a Father-figure for me and a mentor; and I also learned most of what I know about the sacred liturgy from him.

I had the good fortunate to get on his short list to have him as my spiritual director.  He had a way of listening deeply below the level of my words.

I remember one night in his study.  We were sitting across from each  other in two easy chairs.  I was always intrigued that the wall behind him was bright orange with a large abstract painting on it.  I was struggling that night about whether I would proceed toward ordination.

Of a sudden, he sprung from his chair, hugged me and whispered in my ear my name ~ Bob ~ and I heard it resonate for the longest time His voice found me ~ some place deep within and called me forth.

I can still hear him calling me ~ right now.  At that moment, his deep, resonating love ~ transformed me.  Affirmed me, confirmed me.

More than any other person, there there is  Jesus; I have tried to be like him.  He was so human.  He taught me how to be a human being, above all.  A simple, decent, human being.  And to be human, most of all, is to be capable of loving and receiving love.  The same was true of Father Walsh.

So ask yourself:  Who are the people who really knew who you were on the inside, accepted you as you are ~ the good and the bad ~ and called you forth to be the best person you could be?

Why don’t you reflect on this  through the day ~ while you’re driving, sitting on the john  or doing the dishes.  Give thanks for them.  And maybe give them a call.  Not an email ~ a phone call.

And finally, I want to honor the two-love birds in the picture above.  They are John and Betsy Walders of Sebastian, Florida.  They will be married sixty five years next week  (February 19, 2014) and are as much in love as the day they met as teens. (Take note that there  both still wearing denim.)   In their early eighties they went on a serendipitying around the country, quite oblivious to the fact that they weren’t teenagers anymore!  The joy and memory of all those years sustains Betsy as she witnesses her beloved withdraw into Alzheimers. He just celebrated his 90th birthday.

Asked if they ever considered a divorce, she thought a moment and said, “Divorce, no, murder, yes!”

I love them dearly and miss visiting, but Betsy and I talk and have many a laugh on the phone every couple of weeks.

Dear Friends, see if you can make this prayer your own . . . .

Good and gracious God,

You are the One most of all who has loved me into wholeness,

who is calling me forth to be the best person I can be,

calling me not so much to want to be loved as to love.

I thank you for sending people into my life who, even for a brief moment,

have touched me deep within and helped to transform me into a more deeply loving person.

Help me always to be a person who is capable of transforming love.

And now, before you go, here’s Joan Baez’ Forever Young Click here.  Turn up your speakers.  Be sure to enter full screen and have a great Valentine’s Day tomorrow!

With love,

Bob Traupman

contemplative writer  

 

Love transforms us

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Dear Friends,

HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY!

We’ve been talking about St. Paul’s Ode to Love (1 Corinthians 13) ~ the awesome love that transforms.

But many of us don’t know how to love in a way that transforms because we’re more interested in getting love than giving it.

So, let’s think about that for a moment.

Many young folks in our society have not experienced the love that transforms, even from their own parents or their spouses. Very often, their relationships center on their own needs, even when they’re “giving” to their significant other.

But in order to love in a transforming way, we have to loved in a way that frees us.

So I ask you ~

Who are the people in your life who were able to recognize the YOU inside you? 

       Who-knew-who-you-were behind the mask you present to the world each day?

Who are the people who recognized-your-gifts and called-them-forth-from-the-deep-within-you? 

       Who-drew-forth-the-goodness-they-saw-in-you when what you were presenting to the world you thought wasn’t very   good at all?

That’s love that transforms! That heals.  That gets us going again.  That moves us down the road a bit.

At this moment I want to name one such man who has had an enormous influence on my life.  He is Father Eugene Walsh.  We used to call him Gino. He was the rector of my seminary the year I was preparing for ordination. He was a Father-figure for me and a mentor; I learned most of what I know about the sacred liturgy from him.

I had the good fortunate to get on his short list to have him as my spiritual director.  He had a way of listening deeply below the level of my words.

I remember one night in his study.  We were sitting across from each  other in two easy chairs.  I was always intrigued that the wall behind him was bright orange with a large abstract painting on it.  I was struggling that night about whether I would procede toward ordination.

Of a sudden, he sprung from his chair, hugged me and whispered in my ear my name ~ Bob ~ and I heard it resonate for the longest time.  His voice found me ~ some place deep within and called me forth.

I can still hear him calling me ~ right now.  At that moment, his deep, resonating love ~ transformed me.  Affirmed me, confirmed me.  (I’ll start writing very soon about my priesthood and my bipolar journey and I will tell the story of this wonderful man and the many others who influenced and shaped my life over the years; there are many; and I am grateful to each and every one.)

More than any other person, there there is  Jesus; I have tried to be like him.  He was so human.  He taught me how to be a human being, above all.  A simple, decent, human being.  And to be human, most of all, is to be capable of loving and receiving love.  The same was true of Father Walsh.

And that’s what I’ve always taught:  Sin is the refusal Of love, the refusal To love, as well as the refusal to grow and the refusal to give thanks.

So ask yourself:  Who are the people who really knew who you were on the inside, accepted you as you are–the good and the bad–and called you forth to be the best person you could be?

Why don’t you reflect on this  through the day — while you’re driving, sitting on the john  or doing the dishes.  Give thanks for them.  And maybe give them a call.  Not an email; a phone call.

And finally, I want to honor the two-love birds in the picture above.  They are John and Betsy Walders of Sebastian, Florida.  They will be married sixty four years next week  (February 19, 2013) and are as much in love as the day they met as teens. (Take note that there  both still wearing denim.)   In their eighties they went on a serendipitying around the country, quite oblivious to the fact that they weren’t teenagers anymore!  The joy and memory of all those years sustains Betsy as she witnesses her beloved withdraw into Alzheimers.

Asked if they ever considered a divorce, she thought a moment and said, “Divorce, no, murder, yes!”

I love them dearly and miss visiting, but Betsy and I talk and have many a laugh on the phone every couple of weeks.

Dear Friends, see if you can make this prayer your own ~

Good and gracious God,

You are the One most of all who has loved me into wholeness,

who is calling me forth to be the best person I can be,

calling me not so much to want to be loved as to love.

I thank you for sending people into my life who, even for a brief moment,

have touched me deep within and helped to transform me into a more deeply loving person.

Help me always to be a person who is capable of transforming love.

 

And now, before you go, here’s Joan Baez’ Forever Young Click here.  Turn up your speakers.  Be sure to enter full screen and have a great Valentine’s Day!

With love,

Bob Traupman

contemplative writer  

 

True Love

Love is as delicate as a flower



Many of us are thinking of our Valentine’s these days — our lovers,  intendeds, spouses, classmates, mothers, etc.,etc.

So, what is love?

I have officiated at the marriages of many young couples  over the 40 years of my priesthood who have chosen  St. Paul’s Ode to Love for their wedding Mass.

It has got to be one of the most awesome pieces of prose of all time.

Take the time to take it in and see how you (we) measure up.

If I speak in human and angelic tongues but do not have love, I am a resounding gong or a clashing cymbal.

And if I have the gift of prophecy and comprehend all mysteries and all knowledge;

if I have all faith so as to move mountains

but do not have love, I am nothing.

If I give away everything I own, and if I hand my body over so that I may boast

but do not have love, I gain nothing. Love is patient, love is kind. It is not jealous,

Love is not pompous, it is not inflated, it is not rude,

it is not quick-tempered,

it does not brood over injury, It bears all things,

believes all things,

hopes all things,

endures all things. Love never fails. So faith, hope, love remain, these three;

but the greatest of these is love.

– I Corinthians 13

Dearest God,

You are LOVE itself.

We give you thanks for the people in our life who have loved-us-into the persons we are.

We rejoice in them and remember them in love.

But so many of us are wounded because we have not experienced the parental love

that would allow us to know and experience how to love.

Help us take your servant Paul’s words to heart that we may understand the true meaning of love.

May we have a heart that is open to all persons, all of life, all of the universe.

To You Lord, be glory and praise, now and forever.

Amen!

Now for your listening pleasure, here are two Youtube versions of Bette Midler’s THE ROSE  (1) with great photograpy OR (and) with lyrics displayed.

(I have always have thought of Mary, Jesus’ mother, when I listen to the beautiful poetry of this song by Janis Joplin.)

With love,

Bob Traupman

priest / writer