After a long and learned lecture on love, a parishioner said to the priest, “Father, don’t lecture us on love – just love us!” I suppose people expect to hear a lot about love from the pulpit and it has been a favorite preaching topic for centuries. But it is interesting to find that – in quite recent years – the psychologists and psychiatrists have discovered that genuine love, expressed in a human way, is probably the best – and in some cases the only – effective treatment for emotional and even pr physical illness.
Here are a few of the multitude of statements from eminent people in the world of medicine. Dr. Karl Menninger of the Menninger Clinic in Kansas, U.S.A., writes that, “Love is the medicine for the sickness of the world.” He told his staff, including doctors, nurses, orderlies and cleaning people, that the most important thing they can offer the patients is love. He says that when people learn to give and receive love they recover from most of their illnesses whether physical or emotional.
The inability to love
According to Eric Fromm, psychologist and social philosopher, loneliness and the inability to love are the underlying causes of psychic and emotional disorders. And the famous Swiss physician and writer, Paul Tournier believes that people need to remove their masks and discover and be discovered by other people. He says that simple love and honest friendship can bring healing.
The barrier between conscious self & other people
The professor of clinical psychology at the University of Illinois is Dr. Hobart Mowrer. In his opinion, emotional illness results from a barrier between the conscious self and other people, “It is our inability to love and be loved, to have friends and be a friend in any depth that causes much contemporary illness. When honesty and sharing of life begin, healing often follows.”
Everybody who has even dabbed in psychology or counseling has at least heard of Carl Rogers, founder of the famous “nondirective” School of Counselling and author of many books including “Client Centered Therapy.” He says that he cans quickly train for counseling those who have what he, apologetically, terms “love.” He says there is no other word for this quality which makes a good counselor. He adds that, without love no amount of training can make a man or woman a good counselor.
God so loved the world
Is this a new discovery? By no means, “Long time ago in Bethlehem–” the world was given a lesson in love which has never been equaled. It took the experts in human psychology 2000 years to arrive at a rediscovery of this lesson. Christ could have come into this world in any way He wished. He could have been a king or a president or one possessed of limitless wealth and power. Instead, He chose to come in the form of a helpless Babe who had nothing to give but LOVE! The early Christian writer, Tertullian (2nd Century) described the Child in the Crib as “Omnipotence in bonds.” The image of God in swaddling clothes has gripped the attention of the world in every age and in every clime and will continue to do so as long as the world needs love. And if ever the day comes where the world does not need love – there won’t be any more world!