Understanding Our Church

A Treasury of Arkansas Writers Discussing the Catholic Faith

Be an example of God’s love this Advent

Published: December 18, 2021

By Lou Ann Gieringer
Campus Minister, Mount St. Mary Academy

My favorite time for morning prayer is on my way to work. I usually start with my traditional petitions: family, friends, people that have asked for prayer, my thank yous and my personal requests, but some days after the usual, I start a rambling conversation with God that will sometimes take me to the most blessed of places.

There is something special for me about praying in the car. I can pray out loud and not disturb anyone. I can laugh, cry and even question my thoughts while talking to God. It becomes extremely personal. Recently, I was on my way to work, and so many thoughts and needs were filling my prayer. I felt like I was overpowered with specific petitions for people I love.

And then those petitions led to praying for the needs in our world, praying for people I don’t know, praying for all the anger in our world right now. I finally heard myself ask, “Help me to be an example of your love.”

I believe with all my heart that what Jesus would do in any situation would be love, love to all. We don’t have to like the behavior or even the personality of someone to show them love.

That phrase was so powerful that I wrote it down when I got to work. I have looked at it so many times since that day. Of course, I already knew that we are all supposed to be an example of God’s love. But for some reason, saying it aloud in a very intimate and vocal conversation with God was different from reading it or hearing it in a teaching.

It came from the depths of my soul. I want to do this. I want to live it. We are the hands and feet of Christ. What does this all mean? Remember the WWJD (What Would Jesus Do?) craze that was going around several years ago? Many people wore this slogan on bracelets and threw it out in conversation.

I believe with all my heart that what Jesus would do in any situation would be love, love to all. We don’t have to like the behavior or even the personality of someone to show them love. How do we show love to others? Do we confront them and tell them that what they are doing is wrong?

Do we tell them they are going to hell? Do we isolate ourselves from them? Do we judge everything they do? Do we even see them as one of God’s beloved? God loves all of us. Jesus died for the innocent baby and the death row convict. And as hard as it is for us to understand, he will always love them.

When we show love and human kindness to everyone, when we are open to a conversation without anger or judgment, we will begin to glimpse the person God loves. How can we say angry, unkind words about groups of people that we don’t even know, especially when we know how much God loves them?

He loves them like he loves you and me. God is love. And if we are to be his hands and feet on earth, and do what he would do, then we must live love. Not just the easy love, but the love that will be hard to accomplish without God’s help.

My Advent prayer for us all is to ask God to pour his love out to us and help us share that love with everyone.