Path #12: Love
Finally, we come to love. I suppose I could have started my list of the 12 steps to the heart of a missionary with Love, just as The Missionary of Wall Street itself begins with that great quote from 1 Corinthians 13:8, “Love never fails.” For without Love, a missionary cannot possibly succeed in her task. The kind of love we are talking about here is what the Greek’s called agape, self-sacrificing love. This is the love that Christ exuded throughout His own missionary journey to Calvary, and which St. Paul defines so beautifully in the passage leading up to “Love never fails” as the love that “endures all things,” that “takes no pleasure in other people’s sins”, that is “always patient and kind”. This perfect love of Christ, this pure, self-sacrificing love, is not completely attainable by us mere mortals. But “with God, all things are possible.” (Mt 19:26) And as the missionary’s relationship with God itself deepens and grows through the journey of the first 11 steps, step 12 happens on its own.
Jesus takes over our hearts.
And it is His love that pours out of us, not ours. That is how our love becomes so real, so powerful. This is the pure love that made the early Christians so different from the Roman Empire, and the love that ultimately conquered it.
It is the same love that will re-conquer our present secular world.
On the streets of New York City, where souls unknowingly seek their Creator by pursuing His things but not Him, true, agape love is in short supply. And when a soul in despair encounters the true love of Christ in a missionary, it is drawn in, captivated. Or as one soul said to us one afternoon after receiving the sacrament of reconciliation for the first time in 62 years, “I don’t want to leave this street corner. There is something special here. I wish I could take you guys with me back to Wisconsin.”
So find the heart of Jesus within you. Then let it pour out on to the streets. “Love them in.” And that same love will come back to you ten-fold. All that much more to give.
Salvador Dali, “Christ on the Hypercube”