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A Leaven In The World… Love Is Holy Because God Is Love

May 13, 2020 Our Catholic Faith No Comments

By FR. KEVIN M. CUSICK

Our Lady’s month of May is a popular month also for weddings. The “flowers of the fairest” about which we sing when using them to crown our Lady in traditional May devotions are also sought for nuptial festivities, as are all things bright and beautiful. If you grew up with parents who got married in May as I did, then you inevitably think of May as a marriage month.
May is also a time when the weather begins to become more pleasant for outdoor activities. Although this year on Mother’s Day weekend in my locale, the temperatures dipped back down into the thirties for a few nights after tantalizing us with highs in the fifties.
My niece and her fiancé had a May wedding planned. She’s a nurse and has been working with COVID patients and so is in the thick of the pandemic, the reaction to which has upended her plans and those of many others.
We are hoping to celebrate the ceremony at my parish on time but, of course, much pared down to conform to health restrictions. They are planning another Mass and the reception for family and friends later in the summer. The two are intentional Catholics and desire the sacrament most of all. Their love for each other includes the Lord.
It is often said that “God is love.” Many do not as often take the next step and say also what is true, that love is “holy.” Love is holy because God is holy.
My niece was taught from a young age that Sundays are for Mass with the family. She was homeschooled until high school as were her siblings and thus, unlike even with many conventional Catholic schools, the faith and the Lord were woven into the scholastic subject matter across the board. God was not treated as outside reality and thus all of reality was brought conceptually into the holiness of God.
It’s much harder to have to re-learn later that all of life is God’s gift and thus none of it should exclude Him through sin.
Weaving the faith into all aspects of life, so that all life is seen as called to holiness, is a specifically Catholic approach to aid us in living the faith. Hence the May crownings that traditionally involved the participation of the young people, with a May court and a girl chosen as an honor to crown our Lady. Virtue was prized as all sought to be children of Mary our Queen, loving and serving her Son by imitating her holiness, obedience, and humility.
These traditions are returning to practice and the young people getting married today are foremost among those seeking to replant these in parishes everywhere, to the delight of faithful priests.
Often at weddings the new bride, sometimes accompanied by the groom, will place flowers at our Lady’s altar after the exchange of vows while a Marian anthem is sung. This too powerfully speaks of the role of our Lady as an example for the married woman and mother, called to a love like that of Mary as wife of Joseph and Mother of our Lord.
The little things of everyday life in the home are rescued from the merely humdrum when imbued with the opportunity to love and serve our Lord through others. Mary teaches that truth to all of us. She knows about these things and we can entrust them to her help and intercession as do many young brides on their wedding day.
Family life is not without its crosses. One cannot love others without also shouldering the burden of suffering which is part of every human life. We don’t truly love others if we check out of relationships on the bad days. Love embraces the whole of the other: “in good times and in bad, in sickness and in health, until death.” The Church insists on these words in the marriage vows because this is the truth about love.
We need only look to our Lord on the cross, with our Mother Mary standing by Him in bad times as well as in good, until death, to see the most excellent example of the truth about love. Mary stands with her Son, accompanying Him to the culmination of His perfect gift of Self.
We, too, authentically, love one another when we give of ourselves without holding back. My niece in her care for patients is a wonderful example of compassion, buying a book with her own funds, for example, to help relieve the tedium suffered by a patient under her care. This kind of empathy, the virtue of “suffering with” another, is Mary’s lesson for all of us, that love is holy because God is love.
Why does the world pull away from the full picture about love? Why do so many willingly and happily say “God is love” but stop short of the truth that to be like God’s love ours must be holy like His? The reasons are as many as the persons, and that’s quite a few. But, even more, to delve more deeply into God, to discover His love more fully and to live it is more than a soundbite. In a culture that wants things quickly and with little effort, the full truth about God, and the role of suffering in it, gets short shrift.
It’s not for nothing that the crucifix often had a place of honor over the bed of the married couple. They die to themselves in the marital embrace that brings new life into the world. They must selflessly care for and nurture the children with which God may bless them.
The joy of loving is found in every cross because love is always about the “other,” the joys and sorrows, the health and the sickness, all that life brings must be embraced if love is to be true to its source in the God-Man whose embrace of all humanity is completed only by His total gift of Self in dying.
Even dying is an opportunity to call others to love which saves. The love of marriage which can be ended only by death is the privileged expression of Christ’s love for His Church. Husbands and wives show the holiness of loving by their daily embrace of living the truth about love which is inseparable from faith.
There is more than only what we can see. The cross brings life everlasting into the world now as it did 2,000 years ago. Christ is present dying and living once again in the man and woman whose commitment to loving one another is as open and as wide as the arms of the Lord upon the cross who leads them unfailingly to life through life.
Love is holy because God is love. The holiness of the Sacrifice of Love Himself on the cross is ours today if we make our daily lives a “yes” of love in return, which only finds its fulfillment with the unending joy of Eternal Life.
Thank you for reading and praised be Jesus Christ, now and forever.

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