“Love bears all things, it has faith for all things, it hopes in all things, it endures in all things. Love never falls in ruins.” (1 Corinthians 13 – Saint Paul the Apostle)
That is indeed true. What a great sacrament the Lord has given us, He Who is Love has endowed us with love. What beauty, what joy as Paul the Apostle says in the same epistle: “and now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.” Whoever has never known love? That feeling when your heart bursts with joy and happiness.
By God’s design, the man and the woman become one flesh, they are drawn to each other, they live together in harmony and their hearts are full of spiritual love, of true love, that is Christ lives within us.
By God’s perfect work, we are meant to be a couple, to live in love and docility.
Nothing simpler, we might say. Yes, if we knew how to give. We should give each other love the same way God has given us life. Our Savior said: “It is more blessed to give than to receive.”
Saint John Chrysostom said: “Giving to others seems a difficult thing but love makes it easy. Receiving from others seems enjoyable but love makes it infamous.”
The same saint says: “Anger gives a wild satisfaction but not to the man of love because he knows no anger. If his neighbor upsets him, he doesn’t get angry, instead he bursts into tears, prayer and beseeching… The peace and comfort felt by those who cry for the ones they love are not felt by those who laugh.”
Thusly we can see that when a beloved person makes a mistake, we bear with them, we indulge them, we put up with them and cry because we love them, that is what sacrifice means. Suffering for the other is the path to salvation. “Those who plant in tears shall harvest with shouts of joy.” (Psalm 125)
In order to see love, we must be obedient like the man born blind and have faith and hope in God because only this way our spiritual eyes will open through the power of the Holy Spirit.
The whole work of love must be blessed by the Lord, interceded by the presence of the Comforter, the Holy Spirit that indwells our hearts when we are free of passions, when we observe the commandments by doing God’s will.
Father Arsenie Boca said: “Whom have you brought to Jesus?… You have nobody to bring to Jesus, maybe you intend to bring yourself because unless you bring yourself, you can’t bring someone else.”
The battle between our two natures takes place inside each one of us, the spirit of self-love on the one hand and the spirit of love and sacrifice for our neighbor on the other. Thusly, we must have the awareness of God’s presence, we must feel and live His presence in our lives for He is everywhere, we must turn our eyes to our Heavenly Father.
When both the man and the woman find Christ, when Christ has resurrected in the hearts of each of us, the Lord works in a mysterious way within each of us, He co-operates with us and everything is blessed by the One Who gives us everything: “Thine own of Thine own.”
Love is so beautiful, it follows us everywhere but we often ignore it. In the same manner, Jesus follows us everywhere but we ignore and neglect Him.
Saint John Chrysostom beautifully says: “Perhaps you will ask me: Doesn’t any kind of love even abstract bring joy? No, it doesn’t. It is only true love that brings pure and healthy joy. And true love is not worldly infamous love, which contains malice and vice, but Christian spiritual love, the one Saint Paul the Apostle requires of us, the one that looks after the neighbor’s interest. It was this kind of love that the apostle had when he said: Who is weak without my feeling that weakness? Who is made to stumble and I do not burn with indignation?” (2 Corinthians)
In this manner, through love we can assume our neighbor’s weaknesses and God will soothe our wounds and strengthen our weaknesses.
That is why we must pray to the Lord that our hearts are cleansed of passions and hatred and due to faith and sincerity the Lord will bestow his blessing upon the two, the man and the woman.
Translated by Claudia