True love involves some suffering

| Deacon Matthew Quail | August 19, 2016 | 0 Comments

I once had a priest tell me, “If you want good friends, you first have to be a good friend.” Since I heard this, I have tried to be a good friend when my friends call on me. That has included staying up late with friends who are going through a difficult time, dropping everything I’m doing to pick up someone who went walking and then got caught in the rain, and being vulnerable and asking for forgiveness when I have done something to offend a friend.

In these experiences and more, I’ve learned that love suffers. In order for love to be real, deep and life-changing, some suffering is inevitable, if only it be feeling uncomfortable.

Similarly, parents know what it is to suffer for love. Waking up eight times a night with a newborn, shuttling kids around to their various activities and listening patiently to all the troubles of growing up are just some examples of their sacrifices for love. They are willing to suffer for love because they know their children, and they are willing to do anything for them. These are glimpses of the Father’s love for us.

The readings this week speak of God offering love and redemption to all, though not everyone will receive it or reciprocate.

First, Isaiah speaks of God gathering all the tribes of Israel to himself. The letter to the Hebrews speaks of God teaching those he has called how to love as a kind of “disciplining.” Jesus in the Gospel speaks of entering the master’s house through the narrow gate. Many will try, but few will enter. The only way to the master’s house, which is the Father’s house, is through Jesus Christ. And, to follow Jesus Christ means to follow the path of love, which inevitably includes suffering. That’s what the cross shows us. Jesus Christ reveals that the Father is willing to give us everything, including his only son. And, how much do we return to the Lord with our whole hearts?

We can only enter and stay on this narrow path when we fall in love with Jesus Christ. When we know how he has loved us, we learn what love looks like and how it behaves. Praying, regularly receiving the sacraments and reading Scripture reveal his love for us, and only then are we willing to love him and love others like he does.

Real, deep, life-changing love involves a little suffering, and few dare to stay on the path of Christ-like love because it can be uncomfortable. But, it is the only way.

Deacon Quail is in formation for the priesthood at the St. Paul Seminary School of Divinity for the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis. His teaching parish is
St. Bartholomew in Wayzata, and his home parish is Nativity of Our Lord in St. Paul.

Sunday, Aug. 21
Twenty-first Sunday in Ordinary Time


  • Is 66:18-21
  • Heb 12:5-7, 11-13
  • Lk 13:22-30

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Category: Focus on Faith