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Official Website of the
Catholic Diocese of Little Rock
Published: April 8, 2023
By Quinton Thomas
Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about my motivations. Obviously, some are better than others. I think love is the best motivation.
Think about a young couple that is madly in love. Each person selflessly gives without limit to the beloved. Challenges bring out the best in them. They wear themselves out doing overtime at work. They spend sleepless nights rocking babies back to sleep. They’re always looking for ways to do something kind for one another.
Now think about a couple whose relationship is based on something less than that true, mad love. Challenges are burdensome. They only make sacrifices begrudgingly. Even a minimum of hours at work, dirty diapers and kindnesses cause resentment. The couple with the crazy, young love is happy, regardless of what life brings them, because love is their motivation in everything.
Some days, I pick the wrong motivation and act more out of fear or self-love. And yet, by God’s grace, some days I am more like someone madly in love. I embrace all the difficulties with joy because they are a beautiful gift I can offer to the one I love through his people whom I also love for his sake.
Believe it or not, being in seminary is somewhat like that. We are in a relationship with the Church that is quite demanding: pushing us to be the best we can be, to work on our problems, to be assiduous in study, devoted in prayer and selfless in ministry. Those challenges bring out the best or the worst in us. They reveal our heart and show whether we’re madly in love or bitter. It isn’t hard to see the difference.
For me, some days are better than others. But every day, I have basically two choices: to live for myself or live for others, by love. Some days, I pick the wrong motivation and act more out of fear or self-love. And yet, by God’s grace, some days I am more like someone madly in love. I embrace all the difficulties with joy because they are a beautiful gift I can offer to the one I love through his people whom I also love for his sake.
Many motivations are available to us for us to do what we have to do. But love is the best motivation. When we love, all is sweet to us. When we love, we gladly accept all, whatever the cost. When we love, burdens become light and difficulties become easy.
Jesus’ love on the cross was this way. He didn’t end up there because anyone forced him. He wasn’t afraid of what would happen if he didn’t, nor did he want to prove anything. No. It was because of pure, selfless love for his Father and for us that he chose to mount the cross and stretch out his arms.
When we look at him, loving us on the cross, we who struggle to love find our conversion. We approach with selfish plans, and the sharpness of our self-worship pierces him through; but his self-emptying also pierces us through in our hardness of heart and pours forth that divine love. He gives us gratitude for his love, gratitude that then yields in generosity.
Do not look at yourself — look at him. How could you not love? When sacrifice is called for, see him in the people the Father has entrusted to you to love. How could you not love? For couples, seminarians, all people called to a vocation of love, doing the right thing is about love — true, mad, young love. Love is the best motivation.