Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
March 30, 2009
Vows open door to freedom to love
BY CINDY WOODEN
CATHOLIC NEWS SERVICE
VATICAN CITY — The unbreakable bonds of marriage and the permanence of religious vows free a person to love forever, in good times and bad, said the preacher of the papal household.
Capuchin Father Raniero Cantalamessa continued his Friday Lenten meditations for top Vatican officials March 20 even though Pope Benedict and his closest collaborators were in Africa.
Cantalamessa said marriage and religious vows do not place artificial constraints on the freedom to love.
If two people are really in love, he said, they do not see a promise to love each other forever as a burden, but as a joy.
“This consideration is valid not only for human love, but also for divine love,” he said. “One could ask, ‘Why should one make a commitment to loving God, submitting to a religious rule, taking vows that force him or her to be poor, chaste and obedient?”
The reason is that, “in a moment of grace, you felt attracted by God, you loved him and wanted to be with him forever, totally, and fearing that you might lose him because of your own instability, you bound yourself to him to guarantee your love.”
Religious vows and marriage vows help keep people steady through difficult times, guaranteeing that when the crisis is over, the relationship will still be firm, Cantalamessa said.
His talk focused on the writings of St. Paul about the Holy Spirit, specifically the meaning of the passage from the Letter to the Romans: “For the law of the spirit of life in Christ Jesus has freed you from the law of sin and death.”
What the Spirit adds to the law is life-giving love, he said.