We often think of love as the tenderness, warmth, deep affection, or devotion for another expressed in innumerable physical ways: a hammering heart, a racing pulse, butterflies in the stomach, a soulful glow, a gleeful glance across the room, wanting to lean in and touch the other, getting tongue-tangled, or obsessively checking for text messages from the beloved. The story of the taming of Gubbio’s wolf, however, suggests the nature of love that leads to peace is something very different. It begins with a commitment to self-knowledge: I know who I am vis-à-vis the other person; I am a member of the same family. It continues with the decision to detach from the ego with its fears, need for attachments and control, and its sense of entitlement. I clear an interior space and focus my attention on the other. It matures into a fearless vulnerability that is willing courageously to confront the other without cruelty and brutality. It is the promise and pledge to put myself in the other’s shoes, experience the same situation, and then have it resolved with the appropriate social changes that ensure justice for all. No wonder Paul writes, “And now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; and the greatest of these is love” (1 Corinthians 13:13).
—from the book Soul Training with the Peace Prayer of Saint Francis
by Albert Haase, OFM