May unrequited love inspire us
The search for love has inspired many great novels.
A common theme found in many of these stories is unrequited love. This is one-sided love that is not reciprocated. The beloved may not be aware of the affection of the other, or may be aware and still reject it. In the literary world, this is always seen as tragic.
We find the greatest love story ever told in sacred scripture. In John 3:16 we read, “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life.”
It is because of love that the Father gave His Son to the world; it is out of love that the Son gave His life for the world. For Jesus Himself states, “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you.” (Jn.15:12-14).
In Greek and Roman mythology, the gods treated humans as their play things. They were temperamental, aloof, and to be feared. Scripture teaches us that our God considers us a friend, wants to be close to us, and loves us without reservation.
Christians believe that Jesus died on the cross in order to save us from our sin. He suffered and died so that we might live.
The Passion, Death and Resurrection of Jesus is called the Paschal Mystery and this is what we celebrate during Holy Week and Easter. The solemn liturgical celebrations associated with this sacred time help us to deepen our understanding of this mystery. We also grow in our appreciation of our inestimable value in God’s eyes. Jesus suffered and died for us so that we could have eternal life and be with Him forever in paradise. We should be in awe of just how loved we are by our God.
Have you ever stopped to think how God must feel when the love that is offered to us is rejected? The pain of unrequited Divine Love is not the same as romantic love. God’s pain does not come from being rejected. It comes from the fact that when we reject God we hurt ourselves. It is the pain of watching someone you love suffer knowing that they will not allow you to help them. It is the same with God who painfully waits for our response.
We find a perfect example of this in St. Augustine. Throughout his life he was running from God’s love and experienced the anguish of a restless heart. When he finally accepted this free gift, his life was transformed.
He writes: “Late have I loved you, O Beauty ever ancient, ever new, late have I loved you! You were within me, but I was outside, and it was there that I searched for you. In my unloveliness I plunged into the lovely things which you created. You were with me, but I was not with you. Created things kept me from you; yet if they had not been in you they would have not been at all. You called, you shouted, and you broke through my deafness. You flashed, you shone, and you dispelled my blindness. You breathed your fragrance on me; I drew in breath and now I pant for you. I have tasted you, now I hunger and thirst for more. You touched me, and I burned for your peace.” (Confessions of St. Augustine)
May this moving response to unrequited love be a source of inspiration for us all.