October 25, 2018 // Diocese
‘To love is to will the good of the other’
Couples blessed at jubilee Mass
Couples celebrating their 25th, 50th and 60th wedding anniversaries were recognized at a wedding jubilee Mass celebrated by Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades on Sunday, Oct. 21, at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Fort Wayne. Dozens of couples filled the pews to receive a blessing from the bishop for fulfilling their calling to marriage and for God’s love and grace to continue flowing in their lives.
Following the Gospel reading, Bishop Rhoades preached about the true meaning of marriage. He congratulated the couples, calling them “witnesses to all of us of God’s love and fidelity.” Then, he asked them to recall their wedding day.
“On that day, you freely accepted your vocation to follow Christ and serve the kingdom of God in the married state. You placed your trust in God, not knowing the future or how your lives together would unfold. But you stepped out in faith,” he said. “The Lord has been with you through the years with His grace, helping you in good times and in bad, in sickness and in health, to persevere with love.”
Contrasting two different types of love, he said romantic love is “subjective.” “But there is another side of love that I imagine you have learned through the years. We can call it the objective aspect of love,” he said, stressing that objective is “absolutely essential in a marriage no matter how strong or weak your emotions and desires may be.”
He compared objective love to the Italian phrase, “ti voglio bene,” which means “I wish you good” or “I want what is good for you.”
“This Italian expression gets at the deeper, objective aspect of love because authentic love is more than good feelings and emotion, more than romance …” he said. “True love is looking outward toward one’s beloved and seeking what is best for that person.”
Bishop Rhoades drew a parallel between this kind of love and St. Thomas Aquinas’ definition of love, found in the Catechism of the Catholic Church: “To love is to will the good of the other.”
“So, it’s more than having powerful feelings for another person. It’s about being committed to them and their good.” He used the example of a husband and wife in a Christian marriage, noting that they “unite themselves to [the] common aim of helping each other grow in holiness and deepening their own union and raising children.”
Marriage, he continued, “includes sacrificing one’s own preferences and desires. It includes serving one each other.” Calling to mind the Gospel reading, he quoted Mark 10:43: “… whoever wishes to be the first among you will be your servant.”
Having described objective love in detail, Bishop Rhoades directly compared subjective and objective love. “In most marriages,” he said, “those earlier romantic and subjective feelings will fade. But their love hopefully will not diminish, but grow.” He said that “true love is not merely about one’s experience of good feelings in a marriage, but the commitment to seek what is best for the other person, even when those feelings are not there.”
St. John Paul II gave insight to this sacrificial type of love, he noted. “He wrote that married love is much more than attraction and desire … It is two people who give themselves to each other. It involves surrendering oneself to the other. In self-giving love, men and women recognize in a profound way that their life is not their own.” The bishop said the pope’s ideas on love are “counter-cultural — limiting one’s own freedom and committing oneself to someone else in this radical way.” However, “from a Christian perspective, life is not about doing whatever I want. It is about fulfilling my relationships with God and with the people God has placed in my life. This is how we will really find fulfillment in our life, not in self-getting, but in self-giving!”
All marriages have challenges, he acknowledged, emphasizing the importance of forgiveness and apologies.
“Isn’t this the way God loves us? Despite our many sins and failures, God remains committed to us. He looks at us patiently and mercifully. He loves us even when we do things that hurt our relationship with Him … we see this radical divine love most powerfully in the Holy Eucharist,” where “Jesus gives Himself to us, His very Body and Blood.
“He receives us as we are, with all our weaknesses. This is what the sacrament of marriage is about: giving and receiving. Every husband and wife is called to see the other as a gift, a gift from God. And to love the other as he or she is, with all the imperfections. This is how God loves us.
“May God bless our anniversary couples today and every day,” he concluded. “May He continue to bestow upon them His love and grace! And may the Blessed Virgin Mary and St. Joseph intercede for them always!”
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