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  • Writer's pictureElpidio Pezzella

Being Vulnerable in Love

"... but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal."

(1 Corinthians 13:1 NKJV)

"To love means, in every case, to be vulnerable. Whatever you hold dear, your heart will sooner or later have to suffer because of it, and perhaps even break. If you want to be sure that it will remain intact, do not give it to anyone, not even to an animal. Protect it by carefully wrapping it with pastimes and small luxuries; avoid any kind of involvement; padlock it in the casket, or coffin, of your selfishness. But in that casket (safe, in the dark, motionless, under vacuum) it will change: it will not break; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable [...] The only place, apart from heaven, where [your heart] can be perfectly safe from all the dangers and perturbations of love is hell." This is how C.S. Lewis expressed himself in his The Four Loves, manifesting the risk and fear of suffering associated with loving. And it is this that holds back many and makes others unable to give themselves completely, considering love a source from which to draw and never a well into which to pour. Undoubtedly, each person's approach to this divine feeling also remains the result of his or her own experiencing.

There is a story I tell often that may be relevant to our reflection. A man went to his father and said, "I can't stand my wife anymore, I want to kill her, but I'm afraid it will be discovered. Can you help me?""Of course," replied the father, who added, "There is a problem. You have to make sure that no one suspects you." "How will I do it then?" asked the son. "You will have to take care of her, be kind, grateful, patient, loving, less selfish, give her more listening and attention." Then handing him a vial he added, "Every day you will pour some of this poison into her food. Thus she will die slowly." After a short time, the man returned distraught to his father, "I no longer want my wife to die. I realized that I love her. How do I do now since I poisoned her?" "Don't worry, it was just rice powder. She won't die. The poison was inside you, and you were dying." When one harbors grudges, one dies slowly without realizing it. One is gnawed by an evil that dwells deep within us. The heart incapable of love is the one that is sick and in need of care. We must first make peace with ourselves (and God); only then will we be able to make peace with others. If you are experiencing relationship difficulties, I hope this is the right balm. Before it is too late, let us take the initiative to love, to give, to help and especially to taste the joy of forgiveness. Let us not be afraid to appear vulnerable or to show our weaknesses.

Our love can only grow in the Lord's example and in taking up His invitation, "Abide in my love" (John 15:9). We can learn by looking to Him, for "we love Him because He first loved us" (1 John 4:19). God is love, which purifies and transforms. Love cannot be defined; it is like a prism reflecting light in rainbow colors. Patience, goodness, generosity, humility, kindness, dedication, tolerance, naiveté and sincerity make it up. Despite all the efforts, willpower will not be enough to change human beings; even time cannot change human beings. Only love is able to transform him. As a believer first and a humble minister of the gospel later, I find myself in the words of the apostle Paul when he declared that "without love we are a resonant cymbal" (1 Corinthians 13:1). The phrases "resonant bronze" and "ringing cymbal" are not a dislike of music, but indicate a more or less deafening and disconnected noise, such as might have occurred in some pagan rituals in which these instruments were employed: a tinkling without harmony, a distant relative noise of a melody. To create a harmonious melody we need others to effuse sounds along with us.


Weekly Bible Reading Plan #24

June 05, 2 Chronicles 23-24; John 15

June 06, 2 Chronicles 25-27; John 16

June 07, 2 Chronicles 28-29; John 17

June 08, 2 Chronicles 30-31; John 18:1-18

June 09, 2 Chronicles 32-33; John 18:19-40

June 10, 2 Chronicles 34-36; John 19:1-22

June 11, Ezra 1-2; John 19:23-42

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