I’ve quoted before the words of Pedro Arrupe, S.J. that address why falling in love with God matters in terms of who we will be in the world:
Nothing is more practical than finding God,
that is, than falling in love
in a quite absolute, final way.
What you are in love with,
what seizes your imagination,
will affect everything.
It will decide what will get you
out of bed in the morning,
what you will do with your evenings,
how you spend your weekends,
what you read, who you know,
what breaks your heart,
and what amazes you with joy and gratitude.
Fall in love; stay in love,
and it will decide everything.
The Ignatian Spirituality site has a post today that reminds us that it is not just about falling in love, but (as the final line of Arrupe’s passage tell us) also about staying in love.
Choosing to fall in love over and over again is good; we want to have new life and fresh energy in our work, relationships, and vocational paths. But a person who continually moves from relationship to relationship, or repeatedly from one line of work to another, all in the name of “falling in love” is more Don Juan than Jesus. Only to fall in love and then not to remain indicates a kind of psychological immaturity. Falling in love is nearly always about myself and my own desires, while staying takes account of the good of others.
Jesus was on the road for his ministry but showed longevity in his relationships. He reconciled with his friend Peter after a tremendous relational break. His relationship with Mary Magdalene shifted but did not end with the Resurrection, when he asked her not to cling to him in the same old ways. Indeed, we can understand part of the movement from the Passion and Crucifixion into the Resurrection precisely in terms of “staying in love,” when we see Jesus return both to those who betrayed him in fear and those who faithfully stood at the foot of the Cross.
We, too, can think about what it means for us to choose to stay in love through challenges in our careers, vocations, and relationships. When we choose commitment, we choose maturity, and that decides everything.
As we continue our celebration of the Resurrection, perhaps we might reflect on what it means for us to choose, not just to fall in love, but to stay in love.