Living the Joy of Love Title Red

The theme for this annual event is 'Living the Joy of Love' and the intention is to use this opportunity to emphasize the beauty, truth and goodness of the teachings of the Church on morality, marriage and family life. It will highlight such wonderful documents as Humanae Vitae (celebrating the 50 Anniversary this year), Vertatis Splendor (25 Anniversary), Theolgy of the Body and recent encyclical of Pope Francis's 'Amoris Laetitia'. 

How do we live Pope Francis’ Apostolic Exhortation, Amoris Laetitia. Its 325 points are a deep tribute to human love, in perfect harmony with the Love of God. How wonderful if all husbands and wives read this document together and welcomed these beautiful words of love and joy into their marriage and family. The whole of the text gives new life to sincere and true love and serves to reflect on the most important virtue: charity. 

Below are a summary of short quotes - a selection of texts on love from which joy flows. Ideally we will be encouraged to go back, read the document slowly, meditate on it, or even to read it for the first time.

  • Against this backdrop of love so central to the Christian experience of marriage and the family, another virtue stands out, one often overlooked in our world of frenetic and superficial relationships. It is tenderness.
  • The experience of love in families is a perennial source of strength for the life of the Church. 
  • Love always has an aspect of deep compassion that leads to accepting the other person as part of this world, even when he or she acts differently than I would like. 
  • Love inspires a sincere esteem for every human being and the recognition of his or her own right to happiness. I love this person, and I see him or her with the eyes of God, who gives us everything “for our enjoyment” 
  • Those who love not only refrain from speaking too much about themselves, but are focused on others; they do not need to be the centre of attention. 
  • To love is also to be gentle and thoughtful. 
  • Love is not rude or impolite; it is not harsh. Its actions, words and gestures are pleasing and not abrasive or rigid. Love abhors making others suffer. 
  • Loving kindness builds bonds, cultivates relationships, creates new networks of integration and knits a firm social fabric. 
  • Those who love are capable of speaking words of comfort, strength, consolation, and encouragement. 
  • When a loving person can do good for others, or sees that others are happy, they themselves live happily and in this way give glory to God, for “God loves a cheerful giver” 
  • The other person loves me as best they can, with all their limits, but the fact that love is imperfect does not mean that it is untrue or unreal. It is real, albeit limited and earthly. 
  • Love trusts, it sets free, it does not try to control, possess and dominate everything. This freedom, which fosters independence, an openness to the world around us and to new experiences, can only enrich and expand relationships. 
  • Love does not yield to resentment, scorn for others or the desire to hurt or to gain some advantage. The Christian ideal, especially in families, is a love that never gives up. 
  • After the love that unites us to God, conjugal love is the “greatest form of friendship”. 
  • Let us be honest and acknowledge the signs that this is the case. Lovers do not see their relationship as merely temporary. 
  • A love that is weak or infirm, incapable of accepting marriage as a challenge to be taken up and fought for, reborn, renewed and reinvented until death, cannot sustain a great commitment. It will succumb to the culture of the ephemeral that prevents a constant process of growth. 
  • In marriage, the joy of love needs to be cultivated. When the search for pleasure becomes obsessive, it holds us in thrall and keeps us from experiencing other satisfactions. Joy, on the other hand, increases our pleasure and helps us find fulfilment in any number of things, even at those times of life when physical pleasure has ebbed. 
  • In a consumerist society, the sense of beauty is impoverished and so joy fades. Everything is there to be purchased, possessed or consumed, including people. Tenderness, on the other hand, is a sign of a love free of selfish possessiveness. It makes us approach a person with immense respect and a certain dread of causing them harm or taking away their freedom. 
  • Loving another person involves the joy of contemplating and appreciating their innate beauty and sacredness, which is greater than my needs. 
  • The aesthetic experience of love is expressed in that “gaze” which contemplates other persons as ends in themselves, even if they are infirm, elderly or physically unattractive. 
  • This “yes” tells them that they can always trust one another, and that they will never be abandoned when difficulties arise or new attractions or selfish interests present themselves. 
  • This love must be freely and generously expressed in words and acts. In the family, “three words need to be used. I want to repeat this! Three words: ‘Please’, ‘Thank you’, ‘Sorry’. Three essential words!”. 
  • The right words, spoken at the right time, daily protect and nurture love. 
  • It is not helpful to dream of an idyllic and perfect love needing no stimulus to grow. A celestial notion of earthly love forgets that the best is yet to come, that new wine matures with age. 
  • Love surmounts even the worst barriers. 
  • Virginity and marriage are, and must be, different ways of loving. For “man cannot live without love. He remains a being that is incomprehensible for himself, his life is senseless, if love is not revealed to him”. 
  • Celibacy can risk becoming a comfortable single life that provides the freedom to be independent, to move from one residence, work or option to another, to spend money as one sees fit and to spend time with others as one wants. In such cases, the witness of married people becomes especially eloquent. Those called to virginity can encounter in some marriages a clear sign of God’s generous and steadfast fidelity to his covenant, and this can move them to a more concrete and generous availability to others. 
  • Longer life spans now mean that close and exclusive relationships must last for four, five or even six decades; consequently, the initial decision has to be frequently renewed. 
  • There is no guarantee that we will feel the same way all through life. Yet if a couple can come up with a shared and lasting life project, they can love one another and live as one until death do them part, enjoying an enriching intimacy. 
  • The love they pledge is greater than any emotion, feeling or state of mind, although it may include all of these. It is a deeper love, a lifelong decision of the heart. 
  • In the course of every marriage physical appearances change, but this hardly means that love and attraction need fade. We love the other person for who they are, not simply for their body. Although the body ages, it still expresses that personal identity that first won our heart.Even if others can no longer see the beauty of that identity, a spouse continues to see it with the eyes of love and so his or her affection does not diminish. 
  • Love always gives life. Conjugal love “does not end with the couple... The couple, in giving themselves to one another, give not just themselves but also the reality of children, who are a living reflection of their love, a permanent sign of their conjugal unity and a living and inseparable synthesis of their being a father and a mother”. 
  • Love needs time and space; everything else is secondary. Time is needed to talk things over, to embrace leisurely, to share plans, to listen to one other and gaze in each other’s eyes, to appreciate one another and to build a stronger relationship. 
  • Each crisis has a lesson to teach us; we need to learn how to listen for it with the ear of the heart. 
  • Some love with the selfish, capricious and self-centred love of a child: an insatiable love that screams or cries when it fails to get what it wants. 
  • Love involves an intuition that can enable us to hear without sounds and to see the unseen.