This morning's "meditation" from the Magnificat clarified and expanded my own recent thoughts on the character of true love, as well as on my personal failure to understand how to love properly. It was a passage by the late Mother Mary Francis, who was the abbess of the Poor Clare Monastery of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Roswell, New Mexico. For others who might benefit from the insights of this blessed soul:
As love grows stronger, so does the desire to praise increase. It is always a sign of the weakening of love when we have less taste for praising a loved one. This is a good point of spiritual examen. If our love for God is growing less fervent and ardent, we have an inbuilt barometer to warn us. It registers less concern for praising him. No, it is definitely not a rather bleak activity for all eternity, simply to praise. For one thing, the more we love a human being, and certainly the more we grow in love of God, the more we do see praise.
The person who loves very little does not see much to praise in the other. Again, this is a test of our charity. If we do not observe much to praise in our neighbor, one thing is certain: we do not know him well enough, love him well enough. If we come to love him more, we shall have our own reward of seeing more and more to praise. The heart that loves little always sees little or perhaps nothing to praise. The heart that loves much will see something to praise where others may not. But there are qualities and characteristics of praise.
Praise is always humble. This is prominently its very first attribute, because in praising another we in some way situate ourselves below that person. Praise of its nature exalts the one praised, sets this respected person or this dear God or this loved friend above the one praising. By the mere act of praising, we assume a position of humility. We take a willing stance beneath another person.
Pride: it not only "goeth before the fall," it is the greatest obstacle to love. In order to love truly and well, you must find a way to overcome it. And when I say "you," I mean "me."