Monday, December 6, 2010

Second Monday of Advent

Unrequited Love

ne of the great tragedies of life is finding one, upon whom so much love and kindness has been bestowed, totally unconscious of the gifts that have been so abundantly bestowed upon him.  Sometimes it happens that a wife is untrue to a husband.  She may even be the mother of children, in which case we should expect to find an increase of that love which is so characteristic of womankind, and yet, somehow, the true stream of human affection has become poisoned and love is unrequited.  Passion sometimes takes the place of true love, and where affection should abound hatred and disappointment take its place.

The dictum, corruptio optimi pessima -- "the corruption of the best is the worst," typifies what we mean.  the greatest harm is often done not by those who have no knowledge of the faith, but by those who once were infused with divine goodness and love and then permitted their illumined minds and inspired wills to become perverted and corrupted.

When those who once loved each other in marriage and were two in one flesh decide to separate, the human race loses a partnership and receives a blow that strikes at the very cornerstone of the social structure.  When husband and wife decide that what once was a beautiful romance and an ardent love has now ceased to hold any attraction, not only do they personally suffer a loss, but through them and the solidarity of the human race all mankind suffers.

Unrequited love is the tragedy of our day.  Passion is mistaken for affection and love is confused with lust and sin as though love consisted only of sensual satisfaction and concupiscence.  The Church, wise with the wisdom of the ages, stands as the beacon light in the tempest that surrounds the shipwrecked folly of our age.  The Church proclaims the blessedness of marital union, and while she is thoroughly conscious of the powerful instincts found in every man and woman and entrusted by almighty God for the propagation of the race and for the allaying of concupiscence, wise Mother that she is, she emphasizes the tender affections of the human heart that can be nurtured only on the finer things of the spirit. 

Those who have experienced the conflicts that arise between spouses and who have spent long hours in listening to marital difficulties and in giving advice, tell us that most of the pain that is caused and most of the rifts that occur are occasioned by little things, such as the tone of voice, attitudes, the irate response, the lack of attention, and the many little irritants of daily living.

It is a common fault of human nature, and one of which many of us are frequently guilty, that we fail properly to appreciate the little courtesies that make life easier and our neighbor's lot a trifle less difficult.

Unrequited love is one of the tragedies of  America's divorce courts!  When love of God is unappreciated and not repaid by a creature, life's darkest hour is experienced.  When man, the creature, shows no appreciation for God, the Creator, we have the greatest tragedy possible.

Today, one of Advent's steps to Christmas affords us an opportunity to return gratitude and to make reparation to God, to thank Him for our many blessings and benefits, and to repair the harm we have done by unrequited love.

Christmas affords us an occasion to make a gift of love to God and neighbor by trying to become more aware and conscious of our gifts and opportunities.


Jesus, take our hearts today and purify them in the fire of Your love so that no stain of hatred or enmity may be present in us.  Teach us to be conscious of the insignificant little courtesies of life, that we may ever be grateful for Your love.

Husbands and wives should live peacefully in their union of marriage; they should be mutually edifying to each other, pray for one another, bear patiently with one another’s faults, encourage virtue in one another by good example, and follow the holy and sacred rules of their state, remembering that they are the children of the saints and that, consequently, they ought not to behave like pagans, who have not the happiness of knowing the one true God.
- John Baptiste Marie Vianney, sermon

The wife must love her husband as if there were no other man in the world, in much the same way as the husband should love her as if no other woman existed.
- Robert Bellarmine, letter to his niece, 1614

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