The power of love

by Mary Ann McGivern

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Loretto Sr. Carina Vetter, who died last year in her 90s, made a little prayer card some years back that read, "When the power of love overcomes the love of power, the world will know peace."

Carina gave that card out to everywhere, asking only that the recipient pray for an increase in the power of love. She didn't know where the quote had come from and was intrigued to learn that it was Jimi Hendrix. Carina read Hendrix's biography and watched his documentary with a couple of her great-nephews (who grew in their esteem of her). She was eager to learn about Jimi's thinking, was matter-of-fact about his drug use and love affairs, and she became a true fan of his music as well as his commitment to the power of love.

It's easy to dismiss cute nun stories and wisdom attributed to rock stars. But this is important. The power of love is the only thing that will support us the next four years as we resist cuts in health care, attacks on women, racist structures, deportations, and more.

I am trying very hard not to imagine President-elect Donald Trump's worst possible actions or replay his worst threats and denigrations. But I am trying to mobilize my resources for resistance. And I woke up this morning, a few days before Christmas, thinking about the power of love and another nun story.

Loretto Sr. Ann Manganaro, who died when she was only 47, was a pediatrician. During her residence rotation in the neonatal intensive care, she spent many hours of her off-duty time holding a dying premature infant no bigger than her hand. Her dear Jesuit friend, John Kavanaugh, also deceased, asked her why. She said, "He has the power to make me love him."

The infant Jesus has that power to make us love him. Our infants, born to our own families, have that power. It's their gift to us. Now it's our task to share that power with the world.

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