One of the greatest things about college was the supportive Catholic community. Since graduating and returning home I’ve been thirsting to have that kind of community again. In his perfect timing he has more than answered my prayers, by sending some great people my way. I recently met one of my fellow Chi Rho volunteers and future housemate, through whom I am now becoming connected to the young adult community in my area.
On Tuesday we went to an event in SoHo run by the Archdiocese of New York, which is part of a discussion series on love and responsiblity using the book Men, Women and the Mystery of Love: Practical Insights from John Paul II’s Love and Responsibility by Edward Sri. You can read about the series here and check out the facebook page for more details.
In a world thirsting for authentic love these discussions provide insight into what that looks like.
When we arrived in the courtyard where the discussion was being held, we noticed that someone had graffitied “love stories suck” on a door which the audience was facing. The irony was lost on no one. My reaction was to be sad at the loss of faith in true love, but my friend pointed out that there was some truth to that statement. The “love stories” that person was probably referring to – the ones fed to us by Hollywood and the music industry – do suck. Movies, music and the real life failed relationships of celebrities give us unrealistic versions of what love and romance should be.
We were reminded of the recently popular song “Payphone” by Maroon 5, which includes lines like: “All those fairy tales are full of it. One more stupid love song, I’ll be sick.”
I can’t help but wonder if this sort of attitude might actually lead to something good. People are starting realizing that what we are doing isn’t working and what the media is telling us should make us happy, isn’t. Maybe this realization will lead some to look for a better way. Our vision of what a loving relationship looks like has to come from God and must be a reflection of the self-giving love of the trinity. Generally we are told to look after our own pleasure, but true love is continually concerned with the good of the beloved. Our relationships must be grounded in Love Himself.
So Maroon 5 is right, those fairy tales are full of it, but there’s hope! Happy ever after does exist, we just need to look to God to show us what that looks like, not Disney.
Here’s a great video expanding on these ideas. Normally I’m wary about Jefferson Bethke’s ideas, but this one is spot on: