Love one another, as I have loved you (John 15:12)
Love is a word widely used, and widely abused. It refers to a rush of emotion. A stirring of urges. A blinding of reason and a driving passion. Love is powerful, and it is dangerous. It can drive people to madness, or murder. It inspires jealousy. It too often leads to heartache and tears.
Well, so you would think from watching popular dramas, or reading literature. So you would think from reading inside the newspaper where the more interesting human stories are told.
But of course, this is not the love which Jesus speaks of.
Why not? Well it is not because Christian love is unrealistic or idealised. Quite the opposite: it is the idealised, one-sided kind of love which leads to pain and anguish.
The love of God is real, realistic, because it is not one-sided, or deluded, but because it is mutual, it is shared - love one another as I have loved you. It is not the obsession or infatuation of one person for another, but a sharing of lives, of commitment. It is giving and receiving. It is not about choosing, but about being chosen. This is the love that bears fruit - because this is the love that will last.
And in this month of May, we celebrate the one who loved Christ into the world, and in the world. The one who loved him before the world ever knew him. The one who fed him and nursed him and hugged him and gave him up, to embrace him again in his death and resurrection. We celebrate she who in loving him, loves us too, and cares for us, and prays for us as our Mother.
When we sing our praises of Mary, we sing the praises of the Love that chose her, to go out and bear fruit, the fruit of her womb, fruit that lasts for eternity.