Monday, May 16, 2011

Love…True Love

“You have ravished my heart, my sister, my bride; you have ravished my heart with one glance of your eyes, with one bead of your necklace. How beautiful is your love, my sister, my bride, how much more delightful is your love than wine…your lips drip honey my bride…” Song of Songs 4: 9-10a, 11a

After reading those verses above does anyone think the Bible is way more cool than you originally thought? And guess what? There’s more from where that came from. Seriously. I think sometimes we assume the Bible, or God or the Church doesn’t hold much weight for romantic love; that perhaps love between Christians is meant to be more like a contract or business agreement—a decision without any feelings. But this couldn’t be further from the truth. Of course it is true that real love is a decision to do whatever is best for the other, no matter if you feel like it or not. But does this mean that feelings have no place at all in love?

When I married my bride 18 years ago this month, I certainly was filled with LOTS of different feelings. And when I read the Song of Songs, I see those feelings echoed in the words of Scripture. I felt gratitude and humility as I watched her walk down the aisle of the Church towards me that wedding morning. I felt chills as she said “yes” to me forever. I felt emotional when I tried to say my vows to her. I felt a holy desire for her. We did not come together in a contract of love, but a covenant of love. Yes, feelings were very much a part of that day and they are still very much a part of our love for each other today.

Do I base my love for my wife on my feelings? No. Because there are times when I don’t feel like loving her. It is in those moments that the depth of my love is given the opportunity to reveal itself by doing the loving thing even when my feelings don’t want to. And I can tell you for certainly, that there are times when my wife does not feel love for me. But she still chooses to love me in those instances.

We need to understand that God does not have a kind of contractual love for us either. He feels His love for us deeply. He is filled with passion when He thinks of you and me (which of course is at every moment). In fact, it was this very passion that led Him to THE Passion. The Song of Songs is written about the love between a man and his wife, but it is also a sign of the passionate love that God the Father, Son and Spirit has for us—His covenant of love with us. You may not always feel worthy of this kind of love, but it is the kind of love that God pours out on you every second nonetheless and it was this love that motivated Him to die for you.

And when we imitate God, we are choosing to love as He loves. So don’t base your love on feelings or make judgments by trusting your feelings, but when you have discerned that your vocation is marriage and God brings you to that place where you meet and fall in love with your best friend, the one God had intended for you from all of eternity, then yes, at that point there should be some feelings involved, wouldn’t you say? While my wife and I choose to love each other each day regardless of our feelings, I can tell you from the depth of my being that even after 18 years she can ravish my heart with one glance, that she is more delightful than wine and that her lips are still sweeter than honey. Who wouldn’t want that?

Dear Jesus, thank You for Your passionate love. Thank You for giving us feelings that can motivate us for greatness. Help us to allow our feelings to be part of our lives without basing decisions on them. Help us to love as You love us. Amen.

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