There is beautiful scene from the film Captain Corelli’s Mandolin where the father of the leading lady offers her some tender but challenging advice on measuring authentic love: He says; ‘Love is a temporary madness, it erupts like volcanoes and then subsides. And when it subsides you have to make a decision.
You have to work out whether your root was so entwined together that it is inconceivable that you should ever part. Because this is what love is.
Love is not breathlessness, it is not excitement, it is not the promulgation of promises of eternal passion. That is just being in love, which any fool can do. Love itself is what is left over when being in love has burned away, and this is both an art and a fortunate accident.
Those that truly love have roots that grow towards each other underground, and when all the pretty blossoms have fallen from their branches, they find that they are one tree and not two'
One of the most important and increasingly urgent tasks is to pass on to young people the gift of hope... particularly, the hope that they will one day fulfill the natural yearning for lifelong committed matrimonial happiness and family.
To that end I've been working very hard since 2013 to build up the presence and impact of the Explore (remote marriage preparation) project in Catholic high schools in Westminster diocese and elsewhere. http://theexploreexperience.co.uk/ is a unique and extraordinary educational charity that brings volunteer married couples into high schools so that young people can have an open and informal dialogue with spouses about their unique experience of marriage.
The interaction between the students and volunteers is always richly rewarding and feedback from the youngsters gives exceedingly high levels of approval and appreciation.
I knew that this apostolate was really making serious headway recently when one student wrote on the evaluation form: "marriage is cool!" I didn't think any other comment since could really improve on that from an adolescent perspective; until this week when one 15 year old boy asked if he could ask a question in the form of "wrap"?
I allowed him to with some degree of apprehension, but I was astonished by his words;
"Would you be prepared to bleed internally, to bleed eternally to become a better you?"
Given that the couple in question had spoken eloquently and with passion about their individual and shared faith in Christ to help their love, the young man's question was all the more poignant and poetic as we witnessed a loving act of service to young people by this couple in the month of the Most Precious Blood. Metaphorically speaking to "bleed internally, to bleed eternally to become a better you" is surely what lies at the core of true Christian marriage.... that ultimately it’s the endlessly beating Sacred Heart of Jesus that must pulsate between husband and wife so that it’s His Precious Blood which gives true life to the marriage (in so far as spouses are prepared to suffer in service of one another) thereby priming that sacramental love unto everlasting life.
And in that one unusually delivered question one young man encapsulated an entire theology not just of marriage or indeed of the body.... but of The Mystical Body of Christ Himself.
The Explore charity really is a tangible expression of the new evangelization. May it go and grow from strength to strength.