WITHOUT EXPECTING ANYTHING
Why do so many people secretly live unsatisfied? Why do so many men and women find life monotonous, trivial, insipid? Why are they so bored in the midst of their well-being? What are they lacking in order to once again find the joy of living?
Maybe the existence of many would change and acquire a different color and another life, simply if they would learn to freely love someone. Whether they want to or not, human beings are called to love disinterestedly; and if they don’t do it, there opens in their lives an emptiness that no one or nothing can fill. It’s not naive to hear in Jesus’ words – «Do the good…without expecting anything» – the secret of life. Something that could give us back the joy of living.
It’s easy to end up not really loving anyone freely. I don’t harm anyone. I don’t get involved in others’ problems. I respect others’ rights. I live my life. I already have enough to keep me busy with myself and my things.
But this – is it life? To go about unconcerned about everything, reduced to my work, my profession or my role, untouched by others’ problems, far from people’s sufferings, closed up in my «bubble»?
We live in a society where it’s hard to learn to love freely. We almost always ask ourselves: What is this for? Is it useful? What do I gain from this? We calculate and measure everything. We’ve gotten used to the idea that everything is bought: food, clothes, housing, transport, entertainment… And thus we run the risk of converting all our relationships into a pure exchange of services.
But love, friendship, hospitality, solidarity, nearness, trust, fight for the weak, hope, inner joy…can’t be bought with money. Gratuitous, they are offered without expecting anything in return, unless it’s growth and life for another.
The first Christians, when they speak of love, use the word «agape», precisely in order to underline even more this dimension of gratuitousness, instead of the love understood only as «eros» and which had for many a resonance of interest and selfishness.
Among us are people who only can receive a free love, since they don’t have anything at all to be able to return to whoever wants to get close to them. Lonely people, abused by life, misunderstood by almost everyone, impoverished by society, without any way out in their life.
That great prophet Helder Camara reminds us of Jesus’ invitation with these words: «To free yourself of yourself, cast a bridge beyond the abyss that your selfishness has created. Try to see beyond yourself. Try to listen to someone else, and above all, try to force yourself to love instead of only loving yourself».
José Antonio Pagola
Translator: Fr. Jay VonHandorf