“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
My dears, I would like to talk a little about a subject which is quite interesting for young people: relationships and the way we build a friendship and a future family. This is the way it’s always been and this is the way it is nowadays, except that now the matter is maybe a little more serious: very many boys and very many girls are single. What is happening? Why do they keep being single when they could very well enter a relationship, or at least some of them could.
Mr. Virgiliu Gheorghe says that men nowadays have become effeminate and are no longer the strong responsible men they used to be and one of the causes is the industrialization and the increasing role of technology in our lives. While women, in their pursuit for a career, have become more masculine, taking on the responsibilities of men and becoming more aloof from family life and raising children. The situation is uncomfortable for both sides and neither feels fully fulfilled, on the contrary they go through major depression sometimes.
Men desire very feminine delicate girls who want to be protected and accept their love and protection. Unfortunately though, many girls have nurtured a self-sufficient attitude trying to prove that they are powerful and can manage on their own and that is why their strong dominating personality pushes men away.
Women desire very responsible men who are strong, aware and clearheaded. But unfortunately many guys struggle against bodily passions, they only work with the mouse and keyboard and don’t appear capable of bearing the brunt of a family. Their mind keeps wandering around and they find themselves at the age of 30 not knowing what to do with their lives.
This situation is understandable up to a point, both for girls and boys. Yet I think that out of 1000 single girls and 1000 single boys, at least a quarter of them can become friends and start to build something together.
I know, there is no accounting for taste! Girls wait for an elegant, romantic man, a problem solver, a loving man with a sense of humor who comes home early, etc. And boys wait for a beautiful passionate girl who makes a good housewife and is submissive, etc.
A dear friend of mine told me that she was waiting for the day when “she would fall in love so hard that the pillars of the sky would fall down on me”, paraphrasing Father Nicolae Tanase’s words.
I think that love at first sight and this crazy falling in love with someone is merely a great exception and by no means a rule. It is just a way for God to show us how we should get close to each other hadn’t we fallen into sin.
From my life experience, from talks I had with my friends, from what I’ve seen and heard, I can tell you that I don’t know any couples who met through love at first sight and an extraordinary attraction from the very beginning.
In most cases and this was the instance with the relationship with my wife Iulia, everything was built gradually, little by little, on the basis of a slight physical attraction. No fireworks. No major twists in our relationship. No burning with desire for each other, but slowly, increasingly better and upon an increasingly solid foundation.
Relationships must be built, they don’t come as a ready-made gift. You will never meet the ideal spouse overnight, you will only discover him/her after months or even years together when you will have realized you share the same perspective on life and a certain complementarity between the two of you, namely the key elements a family can be built on. Father Viorel from Chisinau said a few days ago: ”Make the ideal wife out of your woman! Make the ideal husband out of your man. This is what I did and I am married to the ideal wife now.”
But don’t change him/her in your own image and likeness, but according to God’s will. Always show them the mirror of God’s commands and tell them what you expect from them. Don’t try to mold them to your needs (valid or not) but in such a way that they will respond to the Lord Christ’s calling to a new life.
I’ve always pointed out to my friends that it would be a good thing both for boys and girls if they lowered their level of expectation regarding the other and started to build a relationship together. The more that time goes by, the longer the list of prejudice and expectations becomes and you find yourself at the age of 30 with nobody around you who even comes close to your mental picture, your imaginary template.
My dears, let us be more realistic.
Girls, Prince Charming will never come, trust me! I know many girls of a certain age and I can confirm this. Do accept invitations to go out for a juice from boys who don’t meet 100% of the requirements of your dream prince and you will be surprised to discover beautiful people behind your prejudice which surrounds him like a curtain.
Guys, most of the very beautiful girls are already taken and they are not easily accessible, stop dreaming of them or you’ll stay single for the rest of your lives. In addition, this kind of girls usually suffer from self-love, narcissism and one can rarely find a beautiful woman who didn’t make an idol out of her beauty. Turn your attention to girls nearer to you. You will see that you will place spiritual beauty above physical beauty in family life. What good is a beautiful woman who poisons your soul? And how delightful it is to have a simpler girl by your side but who fills your soul with joy every day.
In general, single girls past 25 start to panic, those past 30 become depressed and those past 35 feel like the battle is lost. Do everything you can right now and stop driving away the men/boys that God sends into your lives directly or indirectly.
Guys don’t panic as easily but, although they seem to manage better than girls, they suffer a lot too. In time, if they don’t get married, they fall into dark passions in the attempt to drown the sorrow of their loneliness.
My dears, I see so many single girls under 35 around me and just as many single guys. We keep complaining that God doesn’t send us the right person in our lives, but when someone shows up, we analyze them to pieces and draw the dry conclusion : “She/He is not my type!” and we leave them. After years of such endeavors we cry out to God that He is unjust and doesn’t help us. But we are not perfect and thus cannot claim perfection from others.
If we were humble like the Lord Christ urges us to be, if we saw our own mistakes and selfishness, we would cease to see so many flaws in the other person. Because the ugliness of our soul would make us see how beautiful our neighbor is. If we pursued nothing else but marriage as the purpose of each relationship since we were young, things would be very different.
Try to step out of your comfort zone! Give a chance even to the one you think is not the right person. Always talk to God in your prayer about the boy or the girl who came into your life. God’s logic often contradicts worldly logic and it might just be possible for God to have a spouse planned for you who doesn’t seem right according to your standards at the time, but who will actually prove to be the best choice in time.
Give up your prejudices! Spend time together, give the other a chance! Ask God to soften your petrified heart and be able to love the one next to you.
Theoretically, any man could love any woman provided he is connected to the Godly “source” of love. So any man could marry any woman because we are all called to love one another in a perfect way. I don’t believe in “the other half” concept, I only believe in God Who changes people’s hearts.
Please, do reconsider! There will come a time when you won’t have the same chance you have today to meet people! Overcome all the prejudices you hold against your neighbor and you will see that by changing yourself, the others around you will change as well.
If you truly want to start a family, make a sacrifice for your woman! Show her you are willing to give up a lot for her sake! Conquer her with your willingness! Communicate with her. Be persistent!
Guys, please be persistent! Girls like that. Many of those who are persistent gain time and manage to get a few face-to-face meetings when you can show her your affection.
Girls, please let guys court you. Accept them more easily without resisting them so much.
Bear with each other! We all have flaws. We all need each other.
Find out if you share the same perspective on life, if you can go in the same direction and especially if you can bear with each other’s flaws.
Start a family! Modest, small but lasting. God will come and strengthen your relationship and make it grow and bear fruit.
Get married! Have babies and you will see that the babies, the fruit of your love, will fill those gaps, those shortcomings in your family. With each new baby your family becomes stronger and your relationship more solid.
Start a family through sacrifice, modesty and humility!
Translated by Claudia