The Things We Do for Love

Bishop Thomas J. Tobin

Perhaps you remember a catchy little song from the 1970s, by the British band 10cc, called “The Things We Do for Love.” The whimsical tune describes some of the crazy, unpredictable things someone will do when they’re in love: “Like walking in the rain and the snow, when there’s nowhere to go . . .”

That tune’s been bouncing around in my brain for a few days now since I received a letter from a couple who explained, very apologetically, why they couldn’t contribute to the Catholic Charity Appeal this year. Their child will be entering a Catholic school for the first time next fall, they wrote, and the extra expense was stretching their finances. “We honestly have nothing to spare. We don’t take vacations or drive a new car,” they said. Providing an excellent Catholic education for their child had now become their top priority.

The things we do for love.

It got me thinking about how often people willingly embrace sacrifices, even great sacrifices, because of love: A devoted wife who exhausts herself to care for her ailing husband; a young woman who undergoes a difficult surgery to donate a kidney to her brother; teachers who use their own limited funds to provide school supplies for their students; the priest who rolls out of bed in the middle the night to run to a hospital to supply “last rites” for a dying parishioner; a high school student who donates his graduation gifts to help others in need. And yes, all of these things have happened.

Mother Teresa famously said: “God has created us so we do small things with great love.” Those who sacrifice their own pleasure or convenience to care for the needs of others understand exactly what Mother Teresa was talking about. Their sacrifice is inspired by love, and nothing else.

Of course the ultimate act of sacrificial love was embodied by Jesus on the Cross. Why did Jesus do what he did? “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life.” (Jn 3:16) It’s a beautiful thing when we too, in imitating Christ, do some crazy and unpredictable things – because of love.

Something to think about: Has there been a time in your life when someone sacrificed their own wants and needs to help you?