By Fr. Ramon Bautista, SJ
My dear brothers and sisters in Christ, in a few moments, we will witness the EXCHANGE OF LOVE between N. __________ and N. __________. The love that they are about to declare before us all is NO simple, NO Ordinary Love. In fact, it is the MOST SPECIAL Kind of Love; a MOST SACRED Type of Love. Certain spiritual writers have called it UNCONDITIONAL LOVE. And here when you say Unconditional Love, the stress is not on the word LOVE. Here the stress, the focus is on the word Unconditional.
My N._________ and N. __________, you will be promising to one another that from this on, you will love each other, ‘unconditionally.’
And what does Unconditional Loving mean? Unconditional Loving simple mean this:
YES, I will love you always…., no matter what…..
I will love you always…., even if……………
I will love you always…., whatever happens…..
Whatever happens to me….
Whatever happens to you….
Whatever happens tomorrow….
N.______ and N. ______, your love for one another will either be conditional or unconditional. And there is no third way. There is no third possibility; either you set conditions and you attach conditions to your love or do not. To the extent that you do set conditions, then, you do not really love.
This is the difficulty and the problem with love that is not unconditional. With a love that is not unconditional:
One is loved because of one’s merit
That one is loved because one supposedly has deserved it.
(And I may add this one. Conditional love is like this:
I love you because you love me
I love you because I need you
I love you because you are good to me
I love you because I feel good loving you
I love you because you are cute
I love you because you are rich
I love you because you are popular and powerful
I love you because I can use you, manipulate you and exploit you for my own interest.)
Deserved-conditional love always leaves that doubt, even that fear. The fear of losing the love of one’s beloved.
Deserved-conditional love easily leaves a painful feeling: that is not loved for oneself; that one is loved because, and only because one pleases. Precisely, conditional love is nothing else but Manipulative – selfish love. And this kind of loving has no place in Christian marital commitment.
On the other hand, True Unconditional Love is and must always be a FREE – TOTAL Gift. And that is why all of us are here this morning.
N. ______ and N. ______, we are all here to witness, and not only to witness, but to celebrate, to celebrate your Unconditional Gift of Love to one another. With your free gift of Unconditional Love, what you are really declaring to one another is this:
“I want to share with you whatever I have that is good and beautiful. You did not prove worthy of this gift. It is not a question of deserving my love or earning my love. I have no illusions nor delusions that either of us is the best person in the world. I do not even suppose that all the available persons, we are the most compatible. Perhaps, somewhere out there, there is someone who is more ‘fit’ for you, or more ‘suited’ for me. But then, that is not the point. The point is that I have freely chosen you; I have decided to give you my gift of unconditional love. And you have freely chosen to love me.”
Given all those, my dear brothers and sisters in Christ, we see that the gift of unconditional love is something NOT CHEAP. It can never be cheap. And that is why its price of one’s very own life, no more no less. And that is why in the eyes of the Holy Mother Church, it is SACRAMENT – something holy, something of God, something most sacred. And that is why it is forever.
Yes, I will love you always, no matter what…..even if…..
I will love you always, whatever happens to me…. Whatever happens to you…. Whatever happens tomorrow.
May our faithful God grace you now and forever.
SEE ALSO THE FOLLOWING WEDDING HOMILIES: