“Wo ai ni”. What would you feel if a person that matters to you said these words to you with a serious and profound look? What a joy, right? “Not too much”, you’ll say to me, “because I don’t have the faintest idea what it means!” What to do? Either learn Chinese, that is the language in question, or your friend has to speak to you in English.
Relationships are founded on communication. If we don’t understand each other we can’t grow in friendship or knowledge of each other. Knowing the language of the other person, therefore, is the secret of communication. This is a fundamental secret when the sentence in question is “I love you” and the other person is trying to tell you how much you are important to them. How many times we have experienced the joy of the love and friendship of other human beings! Knowing that someone loves us is the source of great happiness. And how many times, on the other hand, have we lived with the problem of miscommunication, incomprehension, when we love each other but it seems impossible to express it and a wall prevents us from seeing what should unite us.
“See, he always says that he loves me, but he’s only good at using words, because when I need a hand in practical things he’s never there!”. “Yes, she’s a good wife and keeps the house marvelously, but then she doesn’t ever tell me that I’m important to her, that I do things well for the family!”. Here is a common example of difference of language. I can announce my love a thousand times to my loved one, but if I don’t use their language they won’t understand! Therefore, a great sign of attention and delicateness is our effort to learn the language of the other. How many difficulties would disappear; how many tangles would melt away like snow in the sun.
We have a splendid example in He who, more than any other, is capable to speak the language of the person He loves. Perhaps we don’t stop ourselves enough to consider the biggest marvel worked by God: the Incarnation. God came among us, spoke in a comprehensible way to His little children. His mystery didn’t remain hidden in the distant and inaccessible, but was made visible. His Word was made flesh, His face shined before our eyes. God was made man. This is the sign of an infinite love, unmatchable, attentive, true. How can we doubt? God truly desires to enter in relation with us, make Himself known, make the current of His love flow into our life.
Yet even with Him, who is Love, we often construct walls that block communication: “Who knows if God loves me; He seems distant from my life, from my problems; He’s surely not happy with me and will punish me for what I did…”
and so on, in a series of incomprehension that does nothing other than collect between us and Him and end in creating in us a distorted image of our Father.
God has spoken and continues to speak our language, with great clarity and simplicity. He continues to tell us in many ways: “I love you”. He does it through the sacraments, the Bible, the teachings of the Church, the Christian community… Why don’t we understand? Perhaps because we don’t really listen! Recall the passage of Martha and Mary (Lk 10: 38-42). Mary seats herself at the feet of Jesus, and Martha “suggests” to Jesus what He should say (“Tell her that she should help me”). Think: how many times do we want to “box up” Jesus, dictating the conditions of what He has to say to us and what, according to us, He should work in our life? Perhaps more often than we think! Jesus scolds Martha precisely because she lost the dimension of listening, an availability of heart. Taken by many things, she forgot what was fundamental. Let us learn anew to listen to God who speaks to us. Let us meditate on His Word, welcome it, make it our own: we will discover that God speaks to us in every moment and we will marvel at how much easier it becomes to understand it.
Our Lady is the most perfect example of availablity in listening to God. Let us ask her, in a particular way during this month in which we celebrate the solemnity of the Assumption, for the grace of a free and attentive heart, full of a great desire to learn the language of Love.