What “the chicken or the egg” can teach us about fidelity

by Faith & Life, Funny, Love and Relationships, Morals & Values, Spiritual Warfare, Vocation

 This short animation, made by Christine Kim and Elaine Wu of Ringling College of Art and Design, tells the story of a pig with a strange addiction to eggs.

When he falls in love with a hen he has to choose which comes first…the chicken or the egg?!

I think this a good opportunity to reflect on the value of fidelity and the demands of authentic love.

Thinking like an apostle

1. True love implies renouncing oneself. Generosity is part of the nature of love: giving without fear or counting the cost and not by halves. Love often implies sacrifice, renouncing one’s own comfort, plans and wishes. That’s not to say that loving is a negative experience which goes against one’s own self, but it is not without the need to overcome our selfish viewpoint and think more about the other person, what they need and what I can give them. It is demanding, especially as we live in a culture of selfishness. The animation made me think about this because the pig has to make a choice which is difficult and painful for him, to renounce his own comfort for something which he recognizes as better: living for someone else and not just himself.

As it happens, on his recent trip to Assisi the Pope spoke to a group of young people about the importance of commitment in our cultural context: ‘Indeed, the society in which you were raised favours individual rights rather than the family — these individual rights. It favours relationships that last until difficulties arise, and this is why it sometimes speaks about relationships between couples, within families and between spouses in a superficial and misleading way. It is enough to watch certain television programs to see these values on display! How many times parish priests — sometimes I myself also heard it — hear a couple that comes to get married say: “But you both know that marriage is for life?” “Ah, we love each other so much, but… we’ll stay together as long as the love lasts. When it ends, we’ll each go our separate way.” This is selfishness: when I feel like it, I’ll end the marriage and forget the “one flesh” that cannot be separated. It is risky to get married: it is risky! It is this egoism which threatens it, because we each have within us this possibility of a dual personality: the one that says, “I am free, I want this …” and the other which says, “I, me, to me, with me, for me …” Selfishness always returns and does not know how to open up to others.’

2. Fidelity sustains all relationships. Love is not limited to the feelings we have in the first euphoric moment, or the initial blinding intensity. An authentic loving relationship is built and maintained over time. This is what fidelity and commitment mean. The “yes” is reiterated over and over again, even when the going gets tough.

Nowadays there is a great fear of commitment. What if I get tired of it? What if I don’t like it? What if one morning I wake up and I’m not in love? Of course, there are always weaknesses and obstacles to overcome, but there is no real impediment to faithfulness. This truth applies to all the relationships in our lives: with God, with oneself, with others.

The Pope continues, mentioning another element of our culture which stifles commitment: ‘The other difficulty is this culture of the temporary: it seems as though nothing is definitive. Everything is provisional. As I said before: love, as long as it lasts. I once heard a seminarian — a good person — say: “I want to become a priest, but for ten years. Then I’ll rethink it.” This is the culture of the temporary, and Jesus didn’t save us temporarily: he saved us definitively!’

Generosity and fidelity: two key elements in understanding authentic love.

Two qualities which are exemplified in God’s love, embodied in his self-giving which led to him even giving his life for us all.

Did you like the video? What else did you find?

Translated from an original article by Álvaro Díaz and first published on our Spanish site.

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