by Father Ray Chase 

Love is an odd thing… so profoundly desired yet seemingly so elusive… until, in a moment of surprise, we recognize it!

I can’t tell you how many of these utterly unique and wondrous moments I’ve witnessed over the years at Catholic Charities. I wish I had written them down so at moments where I doubt the power of love or my own ability to love, I could have one to amaze and inspire me all over again. For when you notice love… when you actually “see” it for what it is… it makes you believe in it and believe that you are actually capable of doing such an extraordinary thing.

So this doesn’t stay abstract, let me share just one of these moments:  I was downtown one evening and stopped in at My Sister’s Place to say “Hi.” A guest came up to me and shook my hand and said, “Thank you!”  I know she didn’t realize I worked for Catholic Charities so her words didn’t come from any place to please but from the genuineness of her heart.  With a wave of her hand over My Sister’s Place dining room –or was it a spiritual magic wand she was waving imparting a blessing of thanksgiving – she said vehemently “This is Thanksgiving!”  And to be sure, she did it once again, “This is Thanksgiving!” In that moment I experienced grace… another word for gift. Ultimately that gift was love. And I was filled with joy and possibility and strength and desire.

This is what love is. This is what love does. It is in every sense divine. It’s reality and divinity found most powerfully for us in Jesus of Nazareth… who could love a seed so much he could see the Kingdom of God in it. This is what fills the days here at Catholic Charities.

(By the way, her name was Hope!)