Love is more than a feeling. But love is also more than making a decision and a commitment.
Consider choosing a husband and taking taking care of one’s marriage. Certainly, there will be ups and downs. One will not always feel happy. But one also does not merely pick a random person from the crowd and then decide to marry him. One chooses with very important considerations. We decide because we see something good and beautiful and true that we want to keep forever even when there will be times of trial and suffering ahead.
Consider also the love of a mother for her child. Certainly, she will not always experience comfort and satisfaction. A baby even cries through the night and disturbs the sleep of the mother. But a mother loves the child, a love that is more than a decision to care for her child. It is indeed more than fleeting feelings and comforts. But present indeed is that fondness and delight in her child which never vanishes and beyond all suffering and pain.
Let us never reduce love into a mere addiction where we selfishly desire only feelings of elation even to the detriment of the person loved.
But let us never reduce love into a kind of slavery either where we boastfully say to the other that we have decided to commit to him and serve him even if we have no feelings whatsoever or appreciation of him.
“The desire for God is written in the human heart, because man is created by God and for God; and God never ceases to draw man to himself. Only in God will he find the truth and happiness he never stops searching for…” – Catechism of the Catholic Church
“You see God created you and I to be happy in this life and the next… He cares for you. He watches your every move. There’s no one that loves you can do that.” – Mother Angelica
For this is the reason why our hearts and souls are not in perfect ease, because here we seek rest in this thing which is so little, in which there is no rest, and we do not know our God who is almighty, all wise and all good, for he is true rest. God wishes to be known, and it pleases him that we should rest in him; for everything which is beneath him is not sufficient for us. – Julian of Norwich
“Truth sees God, and wisdom contemplates God, and from these two comes a third, a holy and wonderful delight in God, who is love.” – Julian of Norwich, Revelations of Divine Love
Oh, that I could clearly explain to your Lordship the peace and quiet my soul has found! for it has so great a certainty of the fruition of God, that it seems to be as if already in possession, though the joy is withheld. I am as one to whom another has granted by deed a large revenue, into the enjoyment and use of which he is to come at a certain time, but until then has nothing but the right already given him to the revenue. In gratitude for this, my soul would abstain from the joy of it, because it has not deserved it; it wishes only to serve Him, even if in great suffering, and at times it thinks it would be very little if, till the end of the world, it had to serve Him who has given it this right; for, in truth, it is in some measure no longer subject, as before, to the miseries of this world; though it suffers more, it seems as if only the habit were struck, for my soul is, as it were, in a fortress with authority, and accordingly does not lose its peace. – St. Teresa of Avila, The Life of St. Teresa
To make rapid progress and to reach the mansions we wish to enter, it is not so essential to think much as to love much: therefore you must practise whatever most excites you to this. – St. Teresa of Avila, The Interior Castle
As soon as the soul has arrived thus far, it begins to lose the desire of earthly things, and no wonder; for it sees clearly that, even for a moment, this joy is not to be had on earth; that there are no riches, no dominion , no honours, no delights, that can for one instant, even for the twinkling of an eye, minister such a joy; for it is a true satisfaction , and the soul sees that it really does satisfy. Now, we who are on earth, as it seems to me, scarcely ever understand wherein our satisfaction lies, for it is always liable to disappointment; but in this, at that time, there is none. – St. Teresa of Avila, The Life of St. Teresa
“People are made for happiness. Rightly, then, you thirst for happiness. Christ has the answer to this desire of yours. But he asks you to trust him.” – Pope John Paul II
“God has created all things for good; all things for their greatest good; everything for its own good. What is the good of one is not the good of another; what makes one man happy would make another unhappy. God has determined, unless I interfere with His plan, that I should reach that which will be my greatest happiness. He looks on me individually, He calls me by my name, He knows what I can do, what I can best be, what is my greatest happiness, and He means to give it me.”- John Henry Newman
Excerpts on Love form the Imitation of Christ by Thomas Kempis:
Love is a great thing, greatest of all goods, because it alone renders light every burden and bears equally all that is unequal. Because it carries a burden without feeling it, and renders sweet and pleasing every bitterness…
Nothing is sweeter than love, nothing stronger, nothing higher, nothing more sublime, nothing more expansive, nothing more joyful, nothing more abundant, nothing more pleasing in Heaven or on earth; because love is born of God, nor can it rest upon created things, but only in God.
The lover flies, runs and rejoices; he is free and nothing can restrain him. He gives all for all, and has all in all, because above all he rests in that one Sovereign Good from whom all good proceeds and flows. He does not regard the gifts, but he turns himself, above all goods, to the giver.
Love often knows no measure,
but burns beyond all measure.
Love feels no burden, values no labours,
would like to do more than it can do,
without excusing itself with impossibility,
because it believes that it may and can do all things.
In fact, it is ready to do anything, and it performs and effects many things, in which he who does not love faints and succumbs.
Love watches, and, sleeping, slumbers not. When fatigued, it does not become tired; when pressed it does not work through constraint; when threatened it is not disturbed; but like a lively flame and a burning torch, it mounts upwards, and securely overcomes all opposition. Whosoever loves knows well what this voice says. A loud cry in the ears of God is the ardent affection of that soul, which says: O my God, my Love, you are all mine and I am all yours.
There’s a love content in Christianity. And discounting all the irresponsible things people do, there is nevertheless a deep, healing, emotional content in the Christian life. That’s why the Bible calls the Church the Bride and Christ the Bridegroom. He means that His people should know His love and that we should feel it and sense it… What a mechanical business marriage would be if there was no love in it! – A.W. TOZER, The Attributes of God
Now Jesus loved Martha, and her sister Mary, and Lazarus. ”Jesus, looking upon him, loved him” – loved him it seems with an emotion distinguished from that of the Divine Love that loves all things that It has made; loved him for the ideal which he in particular might yet accomplish, more than for the fact that he merely existed as did others of his kind —loved him as I love my own friend, and as he loves me. – Robert Hugh Benson, The Friendship of Christ
1 Corinthians 13:1-13, WEBBE
1 If I speak with the languages of men and of angels, but don’t have love, I have become sounding brass, or a clanging cymbal. 2 If I have the gift of prophecy, and know all mysteries and all knowledge; and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but don’t have love, I am nothing. 3 If I give away all my goods to feed the poor, and if I give my body to be burnt, but don’t have love, it profits me nothing.
4 Love is patient and is kind. Love doesn’t envy. Love doesn’t brag, is not proud, 5 doesn’t behave itself inappropriately, doesn’t seek its own way, is not provoked, takes no account of evil; 6 doesn’t rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; 7 bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, and endures all things. 8 Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will be done away with. Where there are various languages, they will cease. Where there is knowledge, it will be done away with. 9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part; 10 but when that which is complete has come, then that which is partial will be done away with. 11 When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I felt as a child, I thought as a child. Now that I have become a man, I have put away childish things. 12 For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I will know fully, even as I was also fully known. 13 But now faith, hope, and love remain—these three. The greatest of these is love.
If love is only sacrifice or faith, then it would have sufficed to sacrifice oneself or to decide to do the most noble actions. But here it seemed, that love is more than these things.
Consider also the following Bible verses:
17 The LORD, your God, is amongst you, a mighty one who will save. He will rejoice over you with joy. He will calm you in his love. He will rejoice over you with singing. – Zephaniah 3:17, WEBBE
For as a young man marries a virgin,
so your sons will marry you.
As a bridegroom rejoices over his bride,
so your God will rejoice over you.
-Isaiah 62:5, WEBBE
Jesus said to him, “ ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.” – Matthew 22:37, WEBBE
Jacob served seven years for Rachel. They seemed to him but a few days, for the love he had for her. – Genesis 29:20, WEBBE
Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth;
for your love is better than wine.
-Song of Solomon 1:2, WEBBE
3 As the apple tree amongst the trees of the wood,
so is my beloved amongst the sons.
I sat down under his shadow with great delight,
his fruit was sweet to my taste.
4 He brought me to the banquet hall.
His banner over me is love.
5 Strengthen me with raisins,
refresh me with apples;
for I am faint with love.
6 His left hand is under my head.
His right hand embraces me.
7 I adjure you, daughters of Jerusalem,
by the roes, or by the hinds of the field,
that you not stir up, nor awaken love,
until it so desires.
-Song of Solomon 2:3-7, WEBBE
10 My beloved spoke, and said to me,
“Rise up, my love, my beautiful one, and come away.
11 For behold, the winter is past.
The rain is over and gone.
12 The flowers appear on the earth.
The time of the singing has come,
and the voice of the turtledove is heard in our land.
13 The fig tree ripens her green figs.
The vines are in blossom.
They give out their fragrance.
Arise, my love, my beautiful one,
and come away.”
-Song of Solomon 2:10-13, WEBBE
Listen, daughter, consider, and turn your ear.
Forget your own people, and also your father’s house.
So the king will desire your beauty,
honour him, for he is your lord.
-Psalm 45:10-11, WEBBE
“Therefore behold, I will allure her,
and bring her into the wilderness,
and speak tenderly to her.
I will give her vineyards from there,
and the valley of Achor for a door of hope;
and she will respond there,
as in the days of her youth,
and as in the day when she came up out of the land of Egypt.
It will be in that day,” says the LORD,
“that you will call me ‘my husband,’…”
-Hosea 2:14-16, WEB-BE
How gently and lovingly
you wake in my heart,
where in secret you dwell alone;
and in your sweet breathing,
filled with good and glory,
how tenderly you swell my heart with love.
-St. John of the Cross
When I Say I Love You
When I say I love you
it doesn’t mean that
I never experience hard times
because of you.
It doesn’t mean
that I always feel elated
and blissful and inspired.
It doesn’t mean
I never get tired.
But when I say I love you
I could never find another
such as you.
I could never find another
and so true,
someone who could ever
make my life more meaningful
and blessed and worth living for.
When I say I love you
that every hard and difficult time
than all the merry and exciting days
with someone else.
It means that though I get tired at times,
I shall be refreshed with your love.
It means that life is life only
because of your love
and that given the choice
of dying for you and living for myself,
I’d rather die out of love for you,
because with you,
even death itself is life,
and even darkness is light.
With you my love,
even the deepest of sorrows
and even the greatest pains
become bearable and sweet!