If there is a saint of our time who understood the importance of loving each other well, it was Pope John Paul II. This incredible saint dedicated his life to encouraging and inspiring people of the faith. In his talks and encyclicals he reached out to families, the young, and single people alike.
Like all of the saints quotes that we turn to, the voice of Pope John Paul II rings loud and clear even now after his passing. Through his deep spirituality, we are forever blessed by a teacher who will always be teaching us how to love better.
His driving force was that of love. He truly believed that if we knew how to love Christ properly, we could love others well. His words were so rich in wisdom, that even when reading them now, it feels as though he is still here.
Pope John Paul II taught all people, but especially Catholic singles that, “What really matters in life is that we are loved by Christ and that we love Him in return. In comparison to the love of Jesus, everything else is secondary. And, without the love of Jesus, everything else is useless.”
When looking for love as a single person, if you need guidance, look to this great saint for advice and inspiration. He laid the foundation for love out so very clearly, we need only to listen and follow.
Develop a genuine love
Unlike the counterfeit love of the world, love that is rooted in Christ is genuine. Thus, in order to love each other properly, we must know and love Christ first. Then, we can reciprocate to others an authentic love.
It may be demanding, but its beauty makes it worth it. Pope John Paul II taught us that in order to demand love from others, we must first demand it from ourselves. If you are not willing to work on yourself, you cannot expect others to rise to your expectations either.
A genuine love does not give love in return for something else. It loves simply because it accepts one as they are.
“Only those able to make demands on themselves in the name of love can then demand them from others,” he wrote.
“There is no place for selfishness and no place for fear! Do not be afraid then when love makes demands. Do not be afraid when love requires sacrifice.” Saints quotes like these help reveal the truths that the greats like Pope John Paul II were trying to teach us.
Pope John Paul II was a huge proponent of sacrificial love. He taught us, much like Mother Theresa did, that when we give of ourselves, we receive. He left a legacy of treating people as objects of love, not as objects of use.
In today’s society, that concept is completely moot. We live in a world where selfish love is admired and praised. But look where it has led us.
If we engage in the type of love that is only self giving, we are always let down. We are unfulfilled and lonely.
If, however, we pour ourselves selflessly into others, the love that we so crave will flow freely, without being forced. It is the love that Christ gave to us and the love that he so desperately wishes for us to return to him. Once we can do that, we are then free to offer the same unselfish love to others.
Recognize love as a gift
Some of the most beautiful saints quotes passed down to us are those spoken by our beloved John Paul II. Like when he talks about the human body’s capacity for love. “It includes right from the beginning, the capacity of expressing love in which the person becomes a gift and by means of this gift, fulfills his existence.”
If we truly understand Pope John Paul II, we know that he believed that love is always a gift. It is not something to be expected or demanded. It is freely given, even when it is not deserved.
We have only to look at Jesus to realize this truth. The savior of the world hung on a cross for our sins out of a love we did not deserve. If we look at the way Jesus loves, we can model our own love in the same way.
“Do not forget that true love sets no conditions, it does not calculate or complain, but simply loves.”
The beloved pope. The man who drew crowds from across the world and filled stadiums with young people simply because they loved him. Why? What was his appeal?
Perhaps that he loved everyone and loved them well. There was no one Pope John Paul II looked down upon or didn’t take the time for.
He loved families and singles. The rich and the poor. The old and the young. He loved everyone.
To find the kind of love that we desire, we must be able to love all of those that God puts in our path. We have to be able to reciprocate the love of Christ to those in every walk of life.
Pope John Paul II loved both friends and enemies and in return they loved him back. He reminded the world that each of us is a creation of God, meant to be loved and venerated.
Let go of bitterness
Pope John Paul II describes hatred as a potent word, though many of us carry seeds of it in our hearts. We all have resentments and bitterness which keep our hearts hardened more than they should be. Pope John Paul II always preached the necessity of letting go of grudges, anger and resentment by offering mercy.
By extending mercy to those who have hurt or wounded us in some way, we actually impart mercy upon ourselves. Our choosing to forgive allows us to love. In another one of our favorite saints quotes he tells us, “Darkness can only be scattered by light, and hatred can only be conquered by love.”
Sometimes we make things too complicated. We make lists and put limits on who we can and can’t love. Often maybe, we don’t even realize we have done so. By understanding the way that Pope John Paul II loved without limits at all, we are able to begin a journey into loving people better ourselves.
Families, Catholic singles, and people in all walks of life have the ability to love as Jesus loved and experience that same great love in return. May we follow in the footsteps of the great saint who taught us as a world how to love again.
“Do not forget that true love sets no conditions. It does not calculate or complain, but simply loves.”