From passionate love to love’s passion

I was talking to a young woman not long ago who was married in the last five years, and she said: “This is much harder than I imagined. In the beginning it seemed effortless to give my all, like love would carry us through it all. Now I feel like all I do is carry [my husband] and carry my children.”

Not long after that, I met another young woman who had left a monastic order. She left for good reasons, but said something very interesting that resonated with the other woman’s words: “After I entered, the honeymoon with Jesus seemed to come to an end, the amazing became ordinary, the butterflies became caterpillars, and I wondered: ‘Is this it? The next sixty years?'”

These memories were stirred when I read these words this a.m.

In any love-story there are usually two stages or phases. There is the initial stage, where love is expressed by the giving of gifts, especially the gift of self. Then there comes a time when it is no longer enough to give gifts to the beloved, but one has to be ready to suffer for her or for him. Only then can it be seen whether the love is real. In the story of a vocation to consecrated virginity there are also usually two stages. There is the initial stage of the vocation, when, spurred on by grace and attracted by the ideal, one joyfully and enthusiastically says, “Yes, Lord, here I am!” Then comes the time of solitude of heart, of weariness, of crisis, when, in order to maintain that “Yes,” one has to die…

— Fr. Raniero Cantalamessa

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