There are two foundations that can never be separated: love and memory. Just as a true disciple never forgets the first hour when the master touched his heart: “It was about four o’clock in the afternoon” (Jn 1:39) – and, as Pope Francis says, a believer is essentially “one who remembers“– so the same could be said for love and marriage.
Today’s video, as all the videos that we post on Catholic-link, is beautiful to watch but is even more beautiful to share. Be it in the social networks, in the classroom, or in your family, countless numbers desperately need hope: hope for love, hope for a faithful “yes”, hope that marriage is possible, hope that marriage is worth the obstacles that at times seem terrifying. They need someone to remind them that not only is love possible, but that we are made for love.
Memory keeps us tied to reality, to our own reality. It allows us to answer the question, “Who am I.” Yet memory can also be deceiving if we don’t know how to use it or train it. If I am in a relationship of any kind –including the relationship with ourselves–, I have the choice to remember certain events more than others. Often, when we find ourselves poor in love, it’s because we are capricious in what we remember.
It is easy to remember the faults, defects and offenses. In addition to the emotional scar or mark they might leave in us, remembering them gives us a great excuse to be lazy, and feel justified in doing so. “Well, she looked at me like that the other day so….” Or, “He corrects me for doing this, but he has done it 20 times last week!” And so on and so on.
What if we decided –because it is a decision– to remember more the good, and to forgive and forget – at least in so far as it is possible– the bad. What if that first spark of love, if fanned each day with tender care, could truly become an eternal flame?
Healthy realism reminds us that some days, loving the other requires more effort. Perhaps the loved one is going through a trying time: anxiety, depression, sickness, lack of motivation, etc. Things are effectively really tough and one feels like he or she is giving 100% while the others gives nothing in return. Even on an affective level, sometimes you might feel like you are running on an empty tank. Impossible to go forward? Isn’t it time to give up? No, because that’s where memory comes in. Memory is the backup in the “Cloud”, the reinforcements that drop in for that vital support. Mary had it right when she learned to keep all things in her heart (Lk 2:51).
What’s more, as Christians, we are urged to never forget who we are. For we were created by God who is Communion of Love, who created us in and for loving communion. Rupture, conflict, divorce are NOT NATURAL for man, rather unity, communion, and love. And no matter how much the daily trials might seek to convince us otherwise, we must never cease to enter into our interiors, to intensify our relationship with God, and ask him to remind us who we are.
This changes everything. In considering the difficulties in the relationship, the starting point is that of communion and love. Conflicts are no longer merely problems, they are deformations of a more beautiful, more human communion that must be reconciled in order to reach what we were made for. Awareness of our natural call can sharpen the pain of rupture, yet it also gives us the strength and vision to renew what has been lost.
“God calls you to make definitive choices, and he has a plan for each of you: to discover that plan and to respond to your vocation is to move forward toward personal fulfillment. God calls each of us to be holy, to live his life, but he has a particular path for each one of us. Some are called to holiness through family life in the sacrament of Marriage. Today, there are those who say that marriage is out of fashion. Is it out of fashion? In a culture of relativism and the ephemeral, many preach the importance of ‘enjoying’ the moment. They say that it is not worth making a life-long commitment, making a definitive decision, ‘for ever’, because we do not know what tomorrow will bring. I ask you, instead, to be revolutionaries, I ask you to swim against the tide; yes, I am asking you to rebel against this culture that sees everything as temporary and that ultimately believes you are incapable of responsibility, that believes you are incapable of true love. I have confidence in you and I pray for you. Have the courage ‘to swim against the tide’. And also have the courage to be happy.” – Pope Francis
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