On the L word. (LOVE, that is.)

Monday, December 15, 2008

Repost from Multiply (03.09.08)

Anyway, while I was at the Manila Polo Club last Saturday waiting for my breakfast to arrive, I was reading the newspaper, particularly the Philippine Star. I was intrigued by the column of Fr. Reuter, because of its title i think (but i can't remember the title now.) haha. He was relating this story in his column:

There was a girl who wanted to enter the convent. However, she was not accepted by the Mother Superior because of an unknown reason.

There was a boy who wanted to enter the seminary. He was declined by the rector because of his health. He was too frail to be able to accomplish his task well when he became a priest.

The two people were so unhappy with the outcome of their, um endeavors. (Forgive me, I am just re-telling, rather, re-writing the story from memory.) Anyway, to cut it short, they saw each other one day and fell in love. It was love at first sight but the girl did not view it that way. Rather, she wrote in her diary that she was"divinely illuminated" that this was the man she was supposed to marry (even without meeting him first!). So they met, got married and after their wedding, they, uh.. made vows of celibacy. You read right. They vowed to be virgins.

Anyway nine months later, (no she did not give birth - yet) they realized that they would "glorify God more" if they had children. And so they went to a priest, had their vows removed and had err, 9 children. Five of them were girls while the other four were men. All five became nuns (out of their own will might I add, not coerced by their parents) and the four men, well, I don't know what happened to them. One of their five daughters is St. Therese of Lisieux (whose relics are incidentally here, it will remain at the Manila Cathedral until tomorrow, as Ate Rose had said. This was why Fr. Reuter wrote about her parents' love story).

What inspires me the most about this story is that the love of this two people are centered in God. Loving with Love as the center (God = Love) diba? It is so inspiring to read about this love story. Wala lang, ako nainspire, sana ikaw din.

I'd like to add something else. My brother always relates this story to me. It's about Therese's (of Lisieux) father. He had said (in his lifetime): If I had one more daughter to give, I'd gladly give her to the Lord. What a very very devout man. I hope he becomes a Saint (with the capital S) if he is not yet one (along with his wife and his whole family). He is truly an inspiration of whole-hearted giving for the glory of God.

One more love story. In our Humanities class, we were asked y our teacher to read the book Man's Search for Meaning. Of the entire collection of Victor Frankl's (the author) experiences in the concentration camp during Hitler's Regime, there was one account that struck me the most. And I quote: (this is a bit lengthy but I think it will help illustrate my point further.)

We stumbled on in the darkness, over big stones and through large puddles, along the one road running through the camp. The accompanying guards kept shouting at us and driving us with the butts of their rifles. Anyone with very sore feet supported himself on his neighbor's arm. Hardly a word was spoken; the icy wind did not encourage talk. Hiding his hand behind his upturned collar, the man marching next to me whispered suddenly: "If our wives could see us now! I do hope they are better off in their camps and don't know what is happening to us."

That brought thoughts of my own wife to mind. And as we stumbled on for miles, slipping on icy spots, supporting each other time and again, dragging one another on and upward, nothing was said, but we both knew: each of us was thinking of his wife. Occasionally I looked at the sky, where the stars were fading and the pink light of the morning was beginning to spread behind a dark bank of clouds. But my mind clung to my wife's image, imagining it with an uncanny acuteness. I heard her answering me, saw her smile, her frank and encouraging look. Real or not, her look then was more luminous than the sun which was beginning to rise.

A thought transfixed me: for the first time in my life I saw the truth as it is set into song by so many poets, proclaimed as the final wisdom by so many thinkers. The truth--that love is the ultimate and the highest goal to which man can aspire. Then I grasped the meaning of the greatest secret that human poetry and human thought and belief have to impart: The salvation of man is through love and in love. I understood how a man who has nothing left in this world may still know bliss, be it only for a brief moment, in the contemplation of his beloved. In a position of utter desolation, when a man cannot express himself in positive action, when his only achievement may consist in enduring his sufferings in the right way--an honorable way--in such a position man can, through loving contemplation of the image he carries of his beloved, achieve fulfillment. For the first time in my life, I was able to understand the words, "The angels are lost in perpetual contemplation of an infinite glory."

It is sad to know that he never saw his wife again. I think that about a year after they were hauled into separate concentration camps, his wife died.

I think i have mentioned this in a previous blog (if not, well, read on): we have been created because of love, in love, to love. In Mark 12:30, Jesus, when asked about the commandments, rephrased it saying "love God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind. In the next verse He says: Love your neighbors as yourself. There is no greater than these.

You see, in the end, it's all about love, not just romantic love, but love love. It really is hard to explain what love is all about. Most of the time, our notion of love is just the romantic type of love, but as Fr. Manny had said in his interview, there are many kinds of love...and love is not just an overnight affair, it is built throughout the years. (for the whole article, access it here.)

PS, bravo to the new look of stpeteronline.com!


Missy said...

na inspire naman ako!!!

i've to agree with fr.manny's take on love.. that there are many kinds and it's not an overnight affair, it is built throughout the years...



paulalaflower♥ said...

Hello missy! ahaha. natuwa nanaman ako at may nagcomment na sa post ko! :D

Kevin in Manila said...

Nice blog.

I have to say this story is weird. Vowing to remain virgins within marriage is not only strange, but it isn't even biblical (Read 1st Corinthians 7; the first few verses).

Happy New Year :)


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