Well, I was going to write an awesomely detailed post about the reading for the Gospel on Palm Sunday.
Then Sunday came and went. Quickly, I might add.
So, instead, via promptings from my lovely roommate, I am going to tell you all about how out of all the cheesy and terribly-messaged songs on the radio, Ne-Yo’s “Let Me Love You” is a great example of two things: a song that has a great message and one that could easily be interpreted as Jesus singing to all you lovely ladies (and men too, if you change some pronouns) about how much you deserve His love.
This maybe isn’t the timeliest article, as the song has been out for awhile, and considering Holy Week and Ne-Yo (NeYo? Ne Yo? The internet can’t agree) don’t seem to jive well together.
Let me just reaaal quick prove you wrong.
First of all, here’s the video:
Okay, let’s take premise #1. I will first of all admit that my and my roommate’s conversation about this topic generated from a disagreement with Caitlin, who seemed to think this song was bad. Ohhh, silly Caitlin. How wrong you are. It’s okay, I forgive you.
On a very basic level, this song seems to Ne-Yo singing to some girl (hopefully a girlfriend/wife, but to be honest I’m not going to spend time looking up things about his biography) about however damaged and unworthy she might think she is, he will still love her and support her no matter what.
The chorus goes,
Girl let me love you
And I will love you
Until you learn to love yourself
Girl let me love you
And all your troubles
Don’t be afraid, girl, let me help
Perhaps for just a millisecond, I can see Caitlin’s hesitation with this song through the lyrics “until you learn to love yourself.” But if you think about it, how bad can this be, in reality? He’s not saying he wants to get with her, or make her love him, or do anything forceful of any kind. He’s simply stating that he will love you, girl, until you can also appreciate the same things he sees in her.
Not once in the song does he expect anything back from the girl – he spends the whole time trying to convince her how beautiful and worthy of love she is! He wants to show her “what true love can really do” and wants to be the guy who reminds her “what it really is to smile.” How cute is that, and how realistic (for once in hip-hop’s history)! And isn’t this often how real relationships are? Often times you can get down in the dumps, seeing only your flaws, hurting the person you’re with whether intentionally or not. But they love you through it, no matter that you can’t see what there is to love about you. Ne-Yo does a fantastic job of expressing this through pretty catchy melody.
Translate this same thing to Jesus. Just imagine as if He were singing (dancing, saying, whatever you wish) this to every person in the entire world. Makes sense, doesn’t it? If you look at it this way, Jesus is saying to each and every one of us that He loves us, no matter how full of flaws and mistakes we might be. He knows we get caught up in our own sins, in our flaws and how hard we find it sometimes to live in the way we are called. He says, “You know what, Son or Daughter? I love you through it. I have loved YOU from the beginning. I will love you, no matter how long it takes for you to see the same worth in yourself that I do. I will love you until you learn to love yourself.”
(See what I did there? I made it as if Jesus was singing Ne-Yo’s lyrics. Pretty clever, huh?)
I think everybody struggles with this idea sometimes. It’s easy to see how flawed we are and how far away we pretty much always are from our goals – but Jesus calls us back to His Sacred Heart to tell us truly how much He loves us, no matter how flawed we are, no matter how much we don’t think we deserve His love. He knows we fall, and knows we try ardently to deserve what He gives us, but in reality we can never deserve His infinite love and mercy, because we are finite beings in comparison to an infinite God. So He says to us, over and over again, every time we fall: “I will love you until you learn to love yourself.”
This is always especially important for me to remember during Holy Week. I look on the cross, and meditate on His suffering, and say to myself, “How could I, this weak person who falls time and time again, ever deserve all of this LOVE poured out for me?” And then Jesus says to me, “Child, I love you no matter what you do. I would do this all for you, time and time again. I will always love you.”
Happy Holy Week, everyone, and have a Happy Triduum!