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The love of God is not 'soap opera love,' says Pope

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The love of God is not a love that is what might be called "romanticism," but is the love that requires sacrifice, Pope Francis said this morning in his homily for daily Mass at the chapel St. Martha Residence in the Vatican, where he resides. “The love John speaks of is not the love of soap operas! No, it is something else. Christian love has a particular quality: concreteness,” the Pope said, referencing to the words of St. John the Apostle and Evangelist in today's first reading. “We are in God and God is in us: this is the Christian life, not remaining in the spirit of the world, not remaining in superficiality, not remaining in idolatry, not remaining in vanity,” the Pope said, elaborating on the sacred text. “No, no, remaining in the Lord,” reiterated the Pope.“He reciprocates: He abides in us. But He remains in us first. Many times we push Him out and we cannot remain in Him. It is the Spirit that remains.”

“Christian love has a particular quality: concreteness. Christian love is concrete,” the Pope preached, “Jesus Himself, when He speaks of love, speaks to us about concrete things: feeding the hungry, visiting the sick, and many concrete things. And when this concreteness is not there, you can live a Christianity of illusions, because you don’t understand where the center of Jesus' message is.”

“This love does not arrive at concrete being: it is a love of illusions, like the illusions the disciples had when, looking at Jesus, they thought He was a ghost,” the Holy Father said, referring to when the apostles saw Jesus walking on the water and thinking he was a ghost. “If you have a hardened heart, you cannot love, and you think that love is to imagine things. No, love is concrete. The first criterion: to love with deeds, not words. Words are taken away by the wind! They are here today, tomorrow they are not.”

“The second criterion of concreteness is: in love it is more important to give than to receive,” Pope Francis revealed, adding that “the one who loves, gives...Gives things, gives life, gives oneself to God and to others. On the other hand (is) the one who does not love, who is selfish, always seeks to receive, always seeks to have things, to have advantages. Stay with an open heart.”

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