Posted by Ronan Scully in Features.

Must we have a reason to love someone? Is there a set of criteria by which we can judge those we all love and those we should exclude from our love? Are some people more worthy of our love than others?

Maybe we can only love those who are like us. Maybe we should close our lives to those who are different from us or unlikeable for whatever reason.

But what if we laid aside our prejudices and opened our hearts to those we would like to dismiss? Perhaps, we might just find them to be God’s blessings.

God has given each one of us a heart to love with. This gift is something we must extend to everyone, regardless of our natural inclination or prejudices. We must extend hospitality, compassion and love tho those who are easy for us to ignore or dismiss. Love does not need a reason.

Nearly 25 Years Loving

As many of you know for close on 25 years, I have been a humanitarian worker in many parts of Africa and Asia. I suppose you could say that the developing world and Africa are in my blood.

Well a number of years ago while working in Angolia, I buried a street child, called Cantora at the age of 15. Cantora and I knew one another for about three years and I believe that God brought him into my life. He was a street child who attended one of our nightly feeding stations on the streets of Luanda, the capital city of Angola.

Cantora, and many of the other 2,000 street children that we fed, taught me to love life. Cantora taught me to be thankful for life even though, at times, it is hard to do so.
Life for Cantora was never easy but he never gave up on God or life. He always found the faith to believe and the will and tenacity to live amid the challenges of his life—be it homelessness, addiction, prison and even AIDS, from which he eventually died.

Shortly before he died, he made a passing lament that he did not have anyone to love him. I said, “Cantora, for whatever it’s worth, I fed you each night through the help of donations from Ireland for three years and I want to say I love you.”

It is surprising that Cantora and I clicked so well because we were poles apart in terms of life experience, background, race and even language. Were it not for God who brought us together, Cantora and I probably would never have met.

But despite our differences, God blessed me by introducing me to this child. I hope that I made some difference in his life, as he did in mine.

Thought for the Week

As your thought for the week, remember that God’s blessings come in gift packages that are not often attractive to us. May God bless you with discomfort, so that you may live deep within your heart. May God Bless you with anger at injustice, oppression and exploitation, so that you may work for justice, freedom and peace. May God bless you with tears for those who suffer from pain, rejection, starvation and war, so that you may reach out your hand to comfort them and turn their pain into joy. And may God bless you with enough foolishness to believe that you can make a difference in this world, so that you can do what others claim cannot be done. Wishing you all real love this Valentine’s!