Love until it hurts

Jesus and Mary

“The language of the cross remains nonsense for those who are lost.  Yet for us who are saved, it is the power of God” (1Cor. 1:18).

Sometime in the past in one of my conversations with my friends, we talked about our “dream-age of marriage”. Each one joyously expressed their desires: one said it was at the age of 23, another at 25.  For me it was in my 28th year.  Dreaming of one’s future goals in life is great indeed.  They are something to which we look forward. That “dream-age of marriage” was just an amusing part of our discussion.  Aiming for a higher goal, such as a profession or completing studies, takes so much more to achieve in the future.  It is a treasure that one can receive from one’s parents or anyone else who has helped to finance one’s studies and/or one’s journey towards the chosen profession.

My friends and I successfully finished our studies and we were blessed to get a job.  Years later, some got married while others remained single.  Surprisingly, as I look at the age at which I entered the religious life,  I found that it matched my “dream-age of marriage’ that I had shared with my friends all those years ago.  Yet, it is a marriage of not of what we thought, but one of being espoused to God in a consecrated life.

God called me to the religious life and I followed Him with such joy and gratitude.  When my colleagues heard about my vocation to the religious life they said in our Filipino language “sayang” or “what a pity”.  They thought it would be better to embrace the other vocation which is married life. Entering the religious life was the best decision I ever made in my life.  A life in which I can love and serve Jesus until the end of my days, like Christ who offered Himself on the cross for all of us.  Yes, a life that offers a purity and depth of love for Him and others, until it hurts.  Having just celebrated Valentine’s Day last week, we recall that St. Valentine was a Catholic priest who helped young lovers get married – and for this he was executed.  He became a martyr for love.

Falling in love with Christ is a gift – a grace from God.  Each day that love has to be nourished in many ways such as meditating upon His words, participating in the Eucharistic celebration, personal prayer, etc.  Each of us is loved by God in different ways and we have to respond to Him with all our will and love.

We gaze upon God and see how He calls each one of us in our respective vocation, whether it be to married life, single blessedness or priesthood / religious life.  We realize these vocations are gifts from God. We, on our part, need to be humble and grateful that God has called us to that vocation.

We rejoice in God, the One who loved us unconditionally all the way up to the cross.  He offered Himself for our salvation.  As God’s children we too, should strive to love like Him.  That begins in our family, community, nation and the whole world – loving and serving others without reserve.  May our Blessed Mother Mary be our constant companion in our journey towards her Son Jesus.  Amen.

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