- Faith and Worship
- How Do I...
A Treasury of Arkansas Writers Discussing the Catholic Faith
Official Website of the
Catholic Diocese of Little Rock
Published: June 18, 2022
By Lou Ann Gieringer
Former Campus Minister, Mount St. Mary Academy
When I was a little girl, I knew that I was loved. My mom, dad, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins and friends of my parents all loved me. I knew the people around me would care for me and help me. I was blessed with a network of people that cared about me and wanted me to succeed.
I felt secure enough to ask questions and take advice from this extended family. I felt like I was a capable little girl that could do almost anything. In first grade, I had an amazing teacher who made each of us feel special. One day, she had to go to the doctor for a checkup during lunch break.
We are called to love one another. That means more than not doing anything wrong. It means supporting and respecting all people, learning about the people we meet, and sharing our likes and dislikes, family traditions and feelings.
She came back late, so another teacher down the hall came to check on us. Our class wanted to make our teacher proud, so we behaved well. I decided to sharpen my crayon in the pencil sharpener, yikes! You know what happened — my crayon got stuck and made a huge mess.
The teacher from down the hall came in. She quickly assessed the situation and decided on a game plan. She came over to the pencil sharpener, put her hands on her hips and said, “Everyone knows you can’t put a crayon in a pencil sharpener. Your teacher is going to be very upset when she comes back.”
I was so embarrassed. I was scared that I had broken the pencil sharpener and that my teacher would be mad at me. When my teacher came back, she saw that I was teary. She called me up to her desk and asked why I was crying. I told her the whole horrible story. She smiled softly and hugged me.
She said, “Oh, everyone has done that sometimes.” I felt her love pour over me in those few words. And then she said, “Let’s see if we can fix it.” And we did. That story took place so many years ago, yet it is fresh in my heart. I vividly remember how I felt. I remember how the other kids looked at me.
They wanted to help but didn’t know what to do or say without having the hatefulness turn on them. Love is so very powerful. It truly changes things and changes people. We ask ourselves — What have I done to hurt someone? We don’t always know when we are hurting someone because we don’t honor the views of others.
We are called to love one another. That means more than not doing anything wrong. It means supporting and respecting all people, learning about the people we meet, and sharing our likes and dislikes, family traditions and feelings. It means owning the past things we have done to hurt others, whether by accident or on purpose.
It means changing how we look at others and working on getting to know each other. It means asking for forgiveness for not understanding that some things we acted upon were because of our lack of knowledge or disrespect for others. The New Testament is filled with examples of love.
In fact, in Matthew 22:34-40, a Pharisee asked Jesus, “Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?” Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the law and the prophets hang on these two commandments.”
This is the blueprint we are to follow — love. Love God. Love others. Simple and direct. I must admit it is not always easy. Not everyone is loveable. No escape clause says, “Love everyone, except those you disagree with, or those who treat you badly or break the law, etc.”
We are called to love because love can cause change. It changes us, and it changes others.