Armodoxy for Today: Melting Love
When we were kids, one of our favorite fairy tales was “The Frog Prince,” rendered by the Brothers Grimm. My sister and I would listen to an old phonograph record which told the story of a spoiled princess who reluctantly befriended a frog. The friendship was the frog’s request as his reward for retrieving her golden ball. She was irritated that she, a beautiful princess, would have to hold, or just be in close proximity, of this old repulsive waddler. But the frog kept pushing his friendship on the princess. Little did she know that he was a prince who had a spell cast upon him and was trapped in the body of the frog.
Our phonograph record would play with the pops and hisses that we were accustomed to hear when playing the black vinyl, and we’d listen to the old froggy voice beg for the princess’ love. In his reptilian voice, he spelled it out, “Love could melt the heart of stone!”
As children those words were very powerful. A stone heart melting through the power of love! It was many years later that as a seminarian I heard similar words, not from the raspy mouth of a frog but from the golden hymn of Nersess Shnorhali, “Jesus, by name love, may your love crush my heart of stone.” Ser anoun Hisus, sirov kov jmlya sir dim kareghen. Yes, indeed, the power of love is so great that it can crush the heart of stone.
There are many images that are exaggerated as a matter of romantic reflection, whether in a fairy tale, or in a hymn. Heaven knows how many poems and songs have been penned with images touting the magical powers of love.
And certainly, the entire Gospel message, is one of Jesus instructing us to repay evil with love and he even demonstrates this on the Cross. The Resurrection itself is the victory of Love over the ultimate evil.
So today we ask, at what point did we stop believing in the power of love? When did we lose the faith in love’s power to melt or crush a heart of stone? When did we give up on love? When did we stop answering evil with the power of love?
As children we tend to take things literally. When the coach says, “Keep your eye on the ball, we may awkwardly walk up to the ball and place it under our eye until we realize that it is merely an expression to pay attention. There is a naivete that is characteristic of childhood and as we grow older we come to understand expressions in place of the literal meanings.
In the case of Jesus and his expression of love, he took it to the end exactly as he expressed it throughout his ministry. The Creed of the Armenian Church saw, “Jesus Christ, yesterday and today, the same for eternity.” Armodoxy attests that Jesus is Love incarnate, and therefore love, is the same yesterday, today and for eternity.
So we must conclude that Love has always been powerful. Love can indeed melt or crush the heart of stone. It is us that need to retrain and revert to our initial understanding of Love, literally as the means by which we overcome evil. It is on us, then, to seek and find, Love and as it was given to us through the Babe in a manger, to bring peace on earth and good will toward one another.
We pray today, “Lord Jesus Christ. God is love. Your name is love. Love exists in the eternal present. Rekindle in me the flames of love that were present in my childhood, when I believed the power of love could overcome the worst of the worst. Direct my path in the direction of my childhood dreams, where goodness and love are my strengths and my protection. Amen.”