A Valentines Homily on a Sunday
12 February 2006
When was the last time you loved forever? Pope Benedict XVI, in his encyclical letter, Deus Caritas Est (God is Love) on Christian Love, said that the heart and summary of Christian faith is expressed by
Benedict XVI said, “There is a certain relationship between love and the Divine: love promises infinitely, eternity --- a reality far greater and totally other than our everyday existence.” (#5). One of the most beautiful songs about love is the theme from the television series, Beauty and the Beast. The song is:
The First Time I Loved Forever
Lyrics by Melanie Safka; Music by Lee Holdridge
The first time I loved forever
Was when you whispered my name
And I knew at once you loved me
For the me of who I am
The first time I loved forever
I cast all else aside
And I bid my heart to follow
Be there no more need to hide
And if wishes and dreams
Are merely for children
And if love's a tale for fools
I'll live the dream with you
For all my life and forever
There's a truth I'll always know
When my world divides and shatters
Your love is where I'll go
The second point comes with the poem that goes with that song. Benedict affirms that “Love is indeed ‘ecstasy’, not in the sense of a moment of intoxication, but rather as a journey, an ongoing exodus out of the closed inward-looking self towards its liberation through self-giving, and thus towards authentic self-discovery and indeed the discovery of God.” Thus anyone who loves finds God. Les Miserables, at the end of the story, tells us, that ‘to love another is the see the face of God.” The poem made famous by the song, The First Time I Loved Forever, is:
somewhere i have never traveled
somewhere i have never traveled, gladly beyond
any experience, your eyes have their silence:
in your most frail gesture are things which enclose me,
or which i cannot touch because they are too near
your slightest look easily will unclose me
though i have closed myself as fingers,
you open always petal by petal myself as Spring opens
(touching skillfully, mysteriously) her first rose
or if your wish be to close me, i and
my life will shut very beautifully, suddenly,
as when the heart of this flower imagines
the snow carefully everywhere descending;
nothing which we are to perceive in this world equals
the power of your intense fragility: whose texture
compels me with the color of its countries,
rendering death and forever with each breathing
(i do not know what it is about you that closes
and opens; only something in me understands
the voice of your eyes is deeper than all roses)
nobody, not even the rain, has such small hands.
And with these two points, those who love promises forever, promises to journey with each other to eternity. Kaya, banal ang lahat ng ating mga pangako: isang simbulo na nagpapahiwatig na meron mas mahalaga sa ating buhay, maliban sa atin. Ito’y isang misteryong bumubuhay ng isang katotohanang may ibang taong bumubuhay sa ating puso, sa ating kaluluwa; nagbibigay kahulugan at kulay sa ating mga pangarap. At sa bawat pangako, tulad ng lahat ng sumpaan, mayroon itong sariling panahon, sariling dahilan, at sariling kahulugan, na ang nakakaalam lamang ay ang mga nag-iibigan, ang magkaibigan, ang magka-ibigan.
Kailan tayo nangangako? Nangangako tayo sa bawat panahon ng ating buhay. Ang salitang paalam, nangangahulugang may pinapahiwatig, pina-paalam: na ang pagkakaibigan ay hindi napapawi sa paghihiwalay. At ang bawat paalam ay isang pangakong hindi mamamatay ang pag-ibig kailanman.
At bakit tayo nangangako? Dahil hindi maliwanag ang kinabukasan. Kaya mahalaga ang lahat ng alaala: ang mga litratong tinatago natin habang lumilipas ang panahon. Ang mga alaala ng unang tagpuan, ang unang halik, ang unang yakap. Ang alaala ng unang pangako at ng unang sumpaan. Ang mga alaalang nagbibigay ng pag-asa. Kaya tayo nangangako: sa pangako nagkakaroon ng pag-asa ang kinabukasan. Sinasabi natin, “huwag kang mag-aalala, ako na ang bahala sa iyo.” With another’s promise, the journey to eternity becomes real and true.
Nagiging posible mangako dahil may nanguna nang nangako: “Sasamahan kita magpakailanman.” Ito ang pangako ni Hesus sa atin. Ang kanyang pag-ibig ay kasama natin sa ating paglalakbay, hanggang matagpuan natin ang magpakailanman, ang langit. Hindi ba ito ang dahilan ng pag-sisimba. Ang misa ay isang alaala, a memorial, na bumubuhay sa atin, nagbibigay pag-asa.
When was the last time you loved forever? Kailan ang huling panahon na minahal mo ang magpakailanman? Being a Christian means loving forever, every day, every moment of our lives. And thus, if God is love, then love is who we are.