“I have set before you life and death” (Deut 30:19).
Every love story has many chapters, and today we celebrate romantic love as one of the early chapters. Strong emotions are needed to overcome the essential solitude that makes us a separate self. Intimacy exchanges the small world of self-sufficiency for the larger but more vulnerable experience of companionship. Once we have allowed someone else into our privacy, we must negotiate space for self and other while exploring the common ground and shared imagination that is intimacy. Every love story teaches us something about the mysterious truth Jesus announces in today’s Gospel (Luke 9:22-25), that greater life requires dying to self, measure for measure, loss for gain.
This occurs in so personal and hidden a process that language and art can barely pursue the meaning of love without drifting into cliché or obscuring the magic with explanation. We just know it when we are at the threshold of surrender, heading heart first into a realm we have heard about, read about, thought about, but can never grasp except by experiencing it. One thing we do know is that it feels like life. To choose love is to choose life. To retreat from it is to postpone the one adventure that exposes us to God and invites us to the next chapter in the story of who we are meant to be.