Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Real love in real life

Every day at Mass I see them, side by side in their usual pew, shoulders touching, and white-haired heads bowed slightly over their missals. With a dignity and grace born of the Faith, they sit silently before Mass begins, then quietly rise in unison as the priest enters the church. Soon he helps her to kneel slowly and stiffly, and then he too kneels slowly and stiffly beside her. They are as a pair of angels beholding the Holy Sacrifice from their favorite little corner of the world. They are a knight and his lady whose dignity age could never remove. Theirs is a beauty which is all too rare, a beauty which comes from loving God first and best, and loving each other in Him.

Lately I have wondered about real love. I believe in it with all my heart; I know that it exists, but where? To see this husband and wife is an accidental joy which God gives me each day to show me that real love can be found in this world. It is a gift. And it is that love, after the gift of life, which is His greatest gift to us.

The Mass has ended. They kneel for a time, spending these moments with God as though time matters not at all, then rise slowly, stiffly in unison. He takes her coat and helps her, very gently and carefully, to put it on; his gallantry is such a lovely sight. Then he takes her arm and guides her tenderly into the aisle where each in turn genuflects, but only partly; their aged knees will allow only so much movement. Then, arm in arm, they quietly leave the church. As they pass me I can't help but notice that their eyes look for all the world like stars twinkling in the heavens, and that their faces have a radiance that is not of this world.

Yes, that is love, and I have seen it. It is real love in real life. And tomorrow, by God's grace, I will see it again.

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