Ignatius of Loyola, the 16th Century priest who founded the Jesuit order and whose Spiritual Exercises have guided people, for centuries now, into a deeper and more richly imaginative praying of the Scriptures, wrote these fine words about love:
Many people think love is best expressed in eloquent words, but love is meant to be a muscle. Love is best put into action, not words. Love is a relationship between two people who care about each other. Love is also a dialogue rather than a monologue. Love is a sharing, not a selfish acquisition. Because I love you, I want to give you what you need, if I have it, and because you love me, you want to give me what I need, if you have it. That is love.
So it is. And so may it be among us. (from Spiritual Exercises, translated by Carmen Acevedo Butcher in Following Christ, Paraclete Press, 2010)
One wise person said to the other,
"If you love me you will help me to earn what I need. And in your time when you have need I will help you to earn what you need.
Both of us will live our days and walk with honor and self-respect, as well as with love."
"Love is a muscle."
The Early Christians were recorded to have been "earnestly praying to God" for Peter's release from jail. The original Greek translation is from 'ektenos', which is a medical term describing "the stretching of a muscle to its limits".
Beautiful thoughts, Guy. Thanks for sharing!