"A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another." - John 13:34

This week we had a solemn time of prayer and fasting for seven days. The purpose was to humbly seek God's guidance and favor for personal, family, church, nation and beyond in this new year. As the word of truth said, “Those who believe in God must know that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.” Accordingly like all the others I was expecting to listen God's voice. And I believe with all my heart that God has vividly spoken to me about these two eternal treasures: Love and Truth. Today I will share about Love and next Sunday about Truth.

Love is the central focus of poets, philosophers and spiritual leaders since time immemorial. Shakespeare in A Midsummer Night's Dream said:

"Love looks not with the eyes, but with the mind
And therefore is winged Cupid painted blind.
Nor hath love's mind of any judgement taste;
Wings and no eyes figure unheedy haste.
And therefore is love said to be a child
Because in choice he is so oft beguiled."

Cupid is the Greek god of love. The point here is love is capable of ignoring external appearance and appreciate the true value of a person. However my focus is not to contemplate only on what Shakespeare has said but more on my own personal experience.

Last Thursday was the birthday of Jesus Christ for Oriental Orthodox and Eastern Catholic Christians. And it totally slipped my mind to send a "Happy Christmas" text message to my family back at home. The following day while I was in the church prayer meeting I had a strong conviction to send that message. Previously I used to understand it as a merely good wish message. But this time I realized that it is no more a good wish but a love message. I am sending my own heart in flesh and blood to that person. I do not know if that make sense to anyone but for me it is a life time discovery. Love is to literally give oneself.

Dr. Victor Frankl a holocaust survivor in his book Man's Search for Meaning said: "A thought transfixed me: for the first time in my life I saw the truth as it is set into song by so many poets, proclaimed as the final wisdom by so many thinkers. The truth — that love is the ultimate and the highest goal to which man can aspire. Then I grasped the meaning of the greatest secret that human poetry and human thought and belief have to impart: The salvation of man is through love and in love. I understood how a man who has nothing left in this world still may know bliss, be it only for a brief moment, in the contemplation of his beloved. In a position of utter desolation, when man cannot express himself in positive action, when his only achievement may consist in enduring his sufferings in the right way — an honorable way — in such a position man can, through loving contemplation of the image he carries of his beloved, achieve fulfillment. For the first time in my life I was able to understand the meaning of the words, "The angels are lost in perpetual contemplation of an infinite glory."

Dr. Victor Frankl found this eternal truth while he was contemplating about his wife as he was marching to a work site in Auschwitz concentration camp.

What is love for you?

Love and blessings

Brehane-meskel Araya