Love has no alibi

Yesterday the worldwide Sacred Heart family celebrated the feast of St Philippine Duchesne, our great-hearted first missionary, who wanted only to spend her life in the service of the poor and marginalised of her time. Today the worldwide Church keeps the first-ever World Day of the Poor, in which we are exhorted by the Pope to love, not with words but with deeds. I'm sure that Philippine will be delighted to cede her festivities in favour of the poor, vulnerable and marginalised, and would encourage us, as the Pope does, to turn our gaze to all those who stretch out their hands and plead for our help and solidarity. 

Reading through the Pope's letter for this Day I was especially struck by one very short sentence in the first paragraph: Love has no alibi. And of course it's true. Love does not - simply cannot - say Not yet... or I'll start loving when the conditions are right and favourable... or Of course, when she loves me and is nice to me, then I'll love her back... Love simply loves, with no half-measures, no alibi, no diversionary or delaying tactic, no expectation of reward.

And in this Philippine can lead us by example: she who, as a young woman ministering to the sick and dying poor of Grenoble, told her over-concerned relatives to Let me alone; it is my happiness and glory to serve my divine Saviour in the person of the unfortunate and the poor. For Philippine love most surely had no alibi, or any conditions or restraint. May she, today and every day, help us to serve the poor with a great-hearted love which has no alibis, and which shows itself in deeds and not just words.