Sunday, June 26, 2011

What Love Is... And What It Is Not...

Love is not happiness. Love is joy.

Joy has an interesting quality to it. It doesn't just have a simple relational aspect, like emotions such as happiness. Joy lives outside of both the emotional and rational spheres. It speaks to heart and head simply because it can. It speaks because true joy has Hope wrapped in it. Yet, "Hope that sees is not hope at all," so, it must also has Faith contained therein. Even more, if Faith has not works—works of charity—then Faith is dead. Therefore, too, Joy has Love, True Love contained therein.

However, the interesting thing about Love is that it requires the depths of sacrifice and self-giving with purpose. It must have an ordered purpose, or else it flies off the tracks of life into ruin. It becomes a fiery chariot racing towards the Sun, only to make its fiery crash to the depths of the earth, a fiery demise. This demise is seen everyday as "normal" and acceptable. Nothing could be further from the Truth.

If there is anything that I can learn from this experience of witnessing fiery demises on a personal level, of being a product of a fiery demise, I would stress the need for authenticity of hearts. I pray for those entering the marital arena. How much do we need the Domestic Church!

And what about Marriage? Why should we be worried on how we define it?

Because our very existence as a People depend on it. We do not exist without it.

Love does not seek quick fixes, does not quit at the first at bat, does not throw in the towel when it gets uncomfortable. Love does not fail the Other. Authentic Love requires a vow. It cannot exist outside a vow. It must subsist in a vow because, without it, love is merely a shadow of its meaning. It is icing without the cake.

This is what is strange about our society today, from our secular to church society. It demands all these things: quick fixes, no-fault verdicts, dissoluble definitions, dissoluble unions, dissoluble meanings of what a vow is. It is not quick fix. Love is not a quick fix.

Love is not merely a promise, and therefore marriage is not just a promise. It is a lifetime choice. A vow gives the love its permanence, its value as a currency. "I love you until death do us part," has a lot more permanence than "I love you until I no longer feel love for you." That, my friends, is crackle of Confederate money, a false currency. It cannot subsist on itself. It dies a ignoble death in the dark, cold and alone. Love does not burn out. It sets the world afire.

The difference between a vow and a promise is just that, promises are made to broken. Vows, on the other hand, cannot. They are the bonds, the marks of the One who gives breath to us all. We cannot escape our vows when the going gets rough. We cannot escape True Love.

Why then do priests who are given strong crosses to bear become Black Sheep Dogs or abusive priests muddy the waters of the Priesthood? Why do men and women forsake their avowed Vocations? Why do husbands cheat on their wives? Because they know not the depth of the vows to which they previously assented to. They do not mean the Yes that they spoke at the Beginning.

We are told by Christ: "Let your 'Yes' mean 'Yes,' and your 'No' mean 'No.' Anything more is from the evil one." (Matthew 5:37) "Anything more" is what we have today. It is not love; it is an excuse for love.

It's saddening, but it is not the final answer. It is not the end.

The Domestic Church and the Priesthood both require a sacrifice that the World today doesn't recognize. The World would rather redefine both to a temporary nature, ones that live on whims. Whims do not last; they have no continence. They die.

True Love never dies.

Both marriage and the priesthood require sacrifice. Both require the Other in inseparable ways, one for the Witness of earthly union and the other of Divine. Neither can be divorced from the other. Both require True Love. Both require the Cross.

That is the meaning of "I do."

Friday, June 24, 2011

A Reflection on the Eternal

Something caught my attention one Sunday morning at Mass, and I found myself seeing a little more into a moment, as I am wont to do. My sightline during the consecration passed through two friends praying together as a couple. And I cannot stress how significant I say "as a couple."

As the Mass is the representation of His Sacrifice at Calvary, I have seen before St. John and the Blessed Mother at the Cross before as in a historical flash of vision. However, here, I had seen something unique to this graced view to extrapolate it to something equally relevant: to seeing it in our times. All of this, as though it is dramatizing the Word given to us and giving us a dramatization of Gospel through the representation of the Mass.

As I mentioned, "as a couple" for me brings a significance to this grace I was given to see. For in this grace, they were an unwitting witness to hope. And, though they might not have understood the personal significance of this to me, my gratitude for this moment is present even until now.

Furthermore, the scene even now speaks of something greater being intertwined in a synergy I cannot even fathom to fully describe on earth. Yet, this has a great significance, because even as the priest is in persona Christi, we are inasmuch "in persona" to others as well, and this is certainly very good.

Indeed, we can say "Lord, it is very good to be here"... and say we ought to set a tent here and never leave. Yet, we do leave... not out of lack of love but because of an even deeper love! And again, I rest on those words "as a couple" because it is important to see it not as a degradation of a better gift, but a unique one in itself to reflect His love "in persona" in other, but no less valuable, ways—through, with and in His Sacred Heart.

That grace given me is, in part, a prayer for both of them on their journey ahead. I pray that His grace remains present ahead, even in the struggle as much as the strength of building together a new life as one.

As iron sharpens iron, I pray for unceasingly for the blessed race ahead. It makes an unspoken "Yes" more present through a witness that is a reflection of the Eternal. Deo gratias.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

L'Angelus: Lac Bijou

I am wholly convinced if the world listened to and lived by this song, all of the world's problems would melt away. Then again, I am quite possibly a perennial optimist... or a melancholic who is a lazy perfectionist, a morning person if it weren't for morning. You see, since this song is, by definition, in music form I, a lazy perfectionist, would strive to put it simply to words alone, and still I would be up until morning (coffee-fueled jitters an all) trying to place each musical movement to words. Yet, this is the beauty of music... it means another whole world from one person to the next. It is the universal language.

And the strange thing is... I still try.

L'Angelus - Lac Bijou

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Rush Upon Me

O distant dream, O rushing current,
Spirit of the Lord rush upon me...
That each of us do see the gifts given,
The Love in opening our eyes to see
The Vocation given to each of us to be.

We shared a dance or two that night before
With music of angels, of joy, of life below...
Awakening our hearts a joy from before,
Opening our hearts to wisdom, to joy, to love bestowed.

O distant dream, O rushing current,
Spirit of the Lord, rush upon me...
Let me see the Vocation to be given to me.
Spirit of the Lord, rush upon me.

Give me the strength to be;
Give me the strength I need.
Spirit of the Lord, rush upon me.