In my last post, I briefly mentioned the physicality of the Catholic faith, including receiving the sacraments. This reminded me of all the ways we show love with the 5 Love Languages – physical touch being only one of them.
So this week I thought I’d lay out some ways we can give and receive love from God following the 5 Love Languages.
What are the 5 Love Languages?
If you haven’t already heard of them, the 5 Love Languages are an idea from the best-selling book by Dr. Gary Chapman.
It says that there are 5 ways we can give and receive love from those we love, and most people have one or two primary ones that they give or receive the best.
These 5 Love Languages are:
- Words of Affirmation
- Gift Giving
- Acts of Service
- Physical Touch
- Quality Time
What I didn’t realize is that Chapman’s franchise of The Love Languages has already adapted his book to this topic with The Love Languages of God, but I haven’t read it.
I’d imagine we will have some differing ideas because Dr. Chapman is not Catholic; however, I think Catholics have the benefit of being able to show and experience God’s love through the liturgy and the sacraments.
Either way, I thought it’d be good to reflect on each love language with an example of how we can show love to God, and how we can receive His love better in our lives.
Words of Affirmation
Giving Words of Affirmation
Affirmation and Praise
Another way to say “words of affirmation” could be to give praise.
There are many ways to give praise to God because he can always hear you. Some like to sing praise, as in praise and worship music. Others may be content praising Him in their own quiet prayer.
Pray the Psalms
Whether singing, or in our minds, there is no doubt that giving praise to God is highly encouraged in the book of Psalms.
“Shout with joy to the Lord all the Earth, break into song, sing praise”Psalm 98:4 NAB
According to Bible Gateway the Bible (RSVCE) uses the word praise 365 times! One for each day of the year!
Of those 365 times, 150 are in the book of Psalms (roughly once per psalm!). So praying the Psalms is my number one choice for giving God affirmation.
Here are some Psalms that are particularly known as Psalms of Praise: 8, 40, 65, 98, 145, 146, or 150.
Receiving Words of Affirmation
I wrote an earlier article titled How Can I Hear God? 7 Ways He Speaks to Us.
Check it out!
Giving Gifts to God
Many Christians have some kind of tithing in order to support the Church. As Catholics, we are obligated to “assist with the material
needs of the Church, each according to his own ability.“ (CCC 2043).
While the amount of giving is left up to individual interpretation and circumstances, maybe giving gifts to God could be going beyond and striving to give more.
Beyond finances, we can also bring our lives and intentions to God as gifts during the Offertory at Mass.
Receiving God’s Gifts
God’s gifts to us are seen everywhere! Every natural beauty is made by Him for you.
To receive it, we only have to be intentional about appreciating that gift once in a while.
Take a hike!
Acts of Service
Acts of service done for others can be a way to give an offering to God. However, the local parish also might be a way to serve God.
By doing acts of service for the Body of Christ in the Church, we are serving Christ.
Some ideas to serve in your parish can be:
- Volunteer at an event
- Ask if they need any help on maintenance (lawn mowing, cleaning, etc.)
- Teach CCD / formation classes
Receiving Acts of Service
Some of us have an easier time giving than receiving, especially when it comes to service.
Letting others serve you can feel odd, but sometimes you just have to be grateful and say thank you.
When someone does something nice for you, consider that you are helping them too (Like I mentioned in this article).
By accepting service graciously, you can help them serve God through you and get closer to Him. You also can remember to thank God for putting those people in your life and give them your prayer in return.
To Touch God
The physicality of the faith is what inspired this article in the first place.
All of the sacraments include physical signs that bring us closer to God: baptism has water, marriage has rings, and so on. Some of these sacraments we can only experience once, but communion and reconciliation allow us to receive that love more regularly!
We are incomprehensibly fortunate to have Jesus, physically present, in the Eucharist.
If the Church is the Bride of Christ and he is the Bridegroom, reception of the Eucharist is where they are unified and become one (CCC 1617, 1621). This intimacy is shown and received by faithfully receiving Christ.
Other Physical Devotions
Other devotions where we can physically show affection for God include:
- Veneration of the Cross
- Kneeling to pray
- Veneration of relics
Plus, have you ever prayed, and felt an immediate sense of peace?
Giving God Your Time
More than our obligation to go to Mass, we could all probably give God a little more of our time in prayer. Either through a quick prayer while driving or at the office, a stop at the chapel, or Eucharistic adoration, there are many ways to spend quality time with God.
If we love God above all else and he is always drawing close to us (CCC 1), we can recognize God’s presence at any moment and invite Him to be with us while we work, drive, or relax.
If we really want to spend eternity with God, it would make sense to show Him often that we actually want to spend time together, right?
In the end, the highest quality time anyone could ever hope for is Heaven. Forever is a lot of time, and forever with the God we love will be the greatest gift we could receive.
It might be helpful to reflect on the ways we feel loved by the 5 Love Languages as well as the ways we can love those around us, including God, each day.
I am sure I missed something, so what other ways do you love or feel loved by God?