Love is often misunderstood. Some see it as a feeling, others see it is a conscious decision made after careful thought and consideration. Some people base their love on physical attraction alone, or shared interest and "having fun" with the other person you "love".
So what is love?
It is true that physical attraction often plays a part when we meet someone we fall in love with; but this is not always the case and is not the most important factor in a lasting relationship.
Perhaps the main component of true love is caring. Caring for the other person no matter what happens. Caring in the good times as well as the bad.
Caring love is not confined to just couples but is also true between parents and offspring and vice-versa; or caring love towards other relatives or friends; or even complete strangers.
There are many examples of caring love:
Maximilian Maria Kolbe, (8 January 1894 – 14 August 1941), was a Polish Catholic priest who volunteered to die in place of a man named Franciszek Gajowaniczek, in the German death camp of Auschwitz.
Mother Teresa of Calcutta spent her life looking after and caring for the poor and destitute.
Father Damien De Veuster is known for his works amongst the lepers on the island of Molokai.
I am sure you can think of many other examples of caring love not just amongst couples and people who know each other, but also caring love to complete strangers.
However, the best known instance of eternal caring love is, "For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life." John 3:16
This was well considered and pre-planned caring love from God towards humanity. God loved His creations so much that even though we erred and distanced ourselves from Him, He decided to send us Jesus knowing full well that we would rebel and kill Him.
And Jesus, knowing full well what is to come and happen to Him, accepted this mission in pure obedience of His Father and in true caring love for us.
So where does that leave us?
How can we return this caring love to God and Jesus? How can we possibly "care" for them? They don't need us, or our care, in the sense that God will be in any way diminished if we don't love Him in return, or if we turn our backs on Him.
We may say glibly that we love God; or we love Jesus. But how do we show this love?
Some would argue that we show this love by obeying God and by following His teachings and commandments. This is certainly true; however, most important; that obedience of ours should not be motivated by fear. We do not love God for fear of the consequences. We love Him as a conscious, well-considered decision, based on respect and on the honest desire to respond to His love, knowing full well that there is nothing we can possibly do to repay His love for us.
We love God, (and Jesus), because we "care" for what they have done for us and we respond to their love through our genuine gratitude.
As they have loved us, we in turn strive to share that love with one another.