A SPIRITUALITY OF EXCLUSIVE AND FREE LOVE

On this Valentine's weekend, much of the focus in the media and popular culture will be on hot blooded romance and passion. This is part of love but not the whole part of it. In the following extract from Pope Francis' Amoris Laetitia or 'The Joy of Love', he explains how the love of spouses ought to lead each of them to holiness and not to put divine expectations on human shoulders.


'There comes a point where a couple’s love attains the height of its freedom and becomes the basis of a healthy autonomy. This happens when each spouse realizes that the other is not his or her own, but has a much more important master, the one Lord. No one but God can presume to take over the deepest and most personal core of the loved one; he alone can be the ultimate centre of their life. At the same time, the principle of spiritual realism requires that one spouse not presume that the other can completely satisfy his or her needs. The spiritual journey of each – as Dietrich Bonhoeffer nicely put it – needs to help them to a certain “disillusionment” with regard to the other, to stop expecting from that person something which is proper to the love of God alone. This demands an interior divestment. The space which each of the spouses makes exclusively for their personal relationship with God not only helps heal the hurts of life in common, but also enables the spouses to find in the love of God the deepest source of meaning in their own lives. Each day we have to invoke the help of the Holy Spirit to make this interior freedom possible'.


Pope Francis, The Joy of Love, 320.