There comes a point—especially for those of us in vows to God (religious or marital)—when love, loosing its emotional force, ceases to be a wind in our sails but a barge to be tugged. It is now a decision to be made, a vow to be fulfilled, a commandment to be followed and most importantly, a person to be embraced.
Love's like that. It has to be. By its nature love entails sacrifice. It demands that we look beyond the slope of our nose into the situation, the scenario or the face beyond it. It is outward-flowing. It must always be outward-flowing. Love, in so long as it is love, will flow out of itself upon its object; it is life-giving; it is fruitful.
Sometimes we approach vows saying, at last I will have someone to love me for the rest of my life, yet this thinking will only engender disappointment. It is better to approach vows with the understanding that you are making a commitment to love outwardly and freely regardless of what is given to you. You are decidedly loving the other and will do so for better or for worse until the day you die. Vows bind us not to feeling loved but to the ability to love regardless of how we may feel.
Yes, it is the best when our decided actions are empowered by emotions felt, that is to say, when the circumstance demands love and we desire to give it. That’s the ideal, but its not always the case, is it? The wind comes and goes and it isn’t only a matter of staying the course but of hauling the burden of love to the haven of salvation.
+ Br. Joseph Michael Fino, CFR
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