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How Catholics Show Love Based on the Five Love Languages

The New York Times best-seller, “The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love That Lasts” by Gary Chapman has become popular over the years by helping couples identify and speak each other’s love language. Christian couples may have come across this book in marriage preparation or therapy.

The five love languages listed in the book are acts of service, quality time, gifts, physical touch, and words of affirmation. And while these love languages are primarily meant for couples, it’s also an opportunity for us to reflect on the ways we show love to God.

As Catholics, there are many ways we express our love for God and our church. And many of them follow the same love languages as expressed in Chapman’s book. Some actions, such as praying and singing hymns, we do without a second thought. But these acts of love are the ways we bring God’s goodness into the world.

Read on to learn how Catholics show love based on the five love languages.

Acts of Service

  • Volunteer. Whether it’s a couple of hours or a monthly commitment, volunteering is one of the best ways we can express God’s love to others. In addition to its many health benefits, volunteering gives us community, helps us foster empathy, and helps people in need.
  • Being involved with a ministry. Sing in the choir. Become a catechist for youth ministry. Help register parishioners to vote. You can find more ways to get involved by reading your church bulletin.
  • Do the corporal works of mercy. Every charitable act is an example of how we should treat others.
  • Be a sponsor for Confirmation. Support candidates as they continue their journey with God.
  • Serving the church through a vocation. Whether you are single, married, a priest, deacon or religious sister, you are serving the church in a special role. Be an example of the light of Christ, as many others are considering the same vocation.

Quality Time

  • Go to Mass. As Catholics, we are required to go to Mass every Sunday and the Holy Days of Obligation.
  • Spending time with Christ in Eucharistic Adoration. Find a local parish with hours for Adoration or attend a Eucharist revival.
  • Prayer. The best way to spend time with God is through prayer. Say your own from the heart or be inspired by this list of prayers. You can also pray using a prayer journal.
  • Attend Bible study. Join your parish group or one online to learn more about God.

Gifts

  • Donate to local and global charities. This can be financial contributions or physical donations like hygiene products and gifts for expecting families. Society of St. Vincent de Paul donations help the poor in your community.
  • Give your weekly offering. Support the ministries of your parish and needed renovations.
  • Share your God-given talents. If you know numbers, join your parish finance council. Know how to make eye-catching graphics? Join the parish communications team to make graphics for social media, the church bulletin and website.

Physical Touch

  • Hold hands during “Our Father” prayer. This is a time of love where we pray together as a community.
  • Give hugs to one another. While this usually happens during the sign of peace at Mass, hugs have many health benefits. Consider giving a loved one a hug today.
  • Shake hands. Whether it’s welcoming a church visitor, offering congratulations to a graduate or expressing gratitude, shaking hands is a great way to convey trust and show respect.

IMPORTANT: If you experience abuse by clergy or religious at a parish, contact your local authorities and report the incident to your diocesan reporting hotline. If done by a bishop, visit reportbishopabuse.org or call (800) 276-1562.

Words of Affirmation

  • Say, “Peace Be With You.” When someone says it to you during Mass, respond with, “And with your spirit.”
  • Offer encouragement for young people involved in church. Young people are looking to older generations for support and encouragement when they participate in church. Tell them “good job” when they lector at Mass. Clap for the youth choir after a song. Congratulate them when they receive a sacrament. Living their faith must be important at home and in their church community.
  • Recite The Nicene Creed. This is a succinct profession of faith we say at each Mass.
  • Sing hymns and Gospel songs. Have you heard the phrase, “The one who sings prays twice?” Whether it’s your talent or not, don’t be afraid to sing your favorite hymns during Mass or at home.
  • Thank God for your blessings. Studies have shown that gratitude helps you live longer. Make it a daily practice versus one you do just at Thanksgiving. There are so many blessings you can thank God for today.

These are just some of the many ways we share God’s love with others and affirm our love for God. Reflect on the ways you show love. Which love language is the easiest for you to do? Which is the most challenging? Which love language would you like to improve? Consider making a change for 30 days or during the Lenten season.

Each love language sits with us differently. May your love language with God help you on your spiritual journey.

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