The Spirituality of Unrequited Love
By John Mallon
© 1993, 2005 by John Mallon
Unrequited love feels like death. In fact, there are times when death would seem preferable to the unrelenting pain and frustration. There are those, even in the Church, who would seek to minimize or make light of this most unique agony: "Oh, don't worry about it! Women (or men) are like street cars, there's another one along any minute!" Like Hell. I don't think there is any other pain quite like that of unrequited love, especially when rejection is involved, although that might even be preferable to being strung along with hopes raised and dashed with punishing regularity. "Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a wish fulfilled is the tree of life." (Proverbs 13:12)
Even the death of a loved one has a clean finality to it, and, normally, is not a deliberate choice on the part of the other to be free of you. Advice from others all sounds cliché. Especially from those well meaning but insensitive vocational terrorists who zoom in with, "Well, maybe God wants you for himself! Have you considered that possibility?" As if you haven't. Besides, someone heartbroken from rejection, grief, and loss is in no mood to have the joys of celibacy preached at them. The subject of vocation is holy ground where we take off our shoes and tread softly, not go charging in with golf cleats and glib answers. Especially when it's someone else's vocation. Unrequited love is real valid agony. And no one has a right to rob you of it so cheaply, especially if they're stacking false guilt over "not following God's will" on top of it. It must be endured. And can be.
Unrequited love is the very pain of God. The Crucifix is a snapshot of unrequited love. God doesn't minimize this pain. Suffering it can be a profound identification with Christ's pain over the lack of appreciation He receives from His Bride. Suffering can be an expression of love and profound sanity. Without love all is demonic chaos. In A Grief Observed, C.S. Lewis said he never imagined grief felt so much like fear. And so it should. Grief follows separation and echoes the ultimate calamity of separation from God. As the unity of man and woman in one flesh mirrors the image and likeness of God, so too the separation of man from woman conjures the cruelty and fragmentation of Hell. But some loves must die, if they are not from God they are not really loves anyway, but still it hurts, like Hell. All death hurts like Hell, because God did not make it. (See Wisdom 1:13-14) But He did redeem it by entering into our separations.
This article originally appeared October 14, 1993, in the Troubadour, the student Newspaper of Franciscan University of Steubenville. It also appears in the unpublished collection Common Sense Spirituality: A Catholic Guide to Avoiding Spiritual Nonsense, by John Mallon
http://www.catholic.org OK, US
John Mallon - Author,
Unrequited love, spirituality, heartbreak, relationships, break-ups
More Catholic PRWire
Showing 1 - 50 of 4,718
A Recession Antidote
Monaco & The Vatican: Monaco's Grace Kelly Exhibit to Rome--A Review of Monegasque-Holy See Diplomatic History
Dna. Maria St. Catherine Sharpe, t.o.s.m., T.O.SS.T.
A Royal Betrayal: Catholic Monaco Liberalizes Abortion
Dna. Maria St.Catherine De Grace Sharpe, t.o.s.m., T.O.SS.T.
Embrace every moment as sacred time
Mary Regina Morrell
Letting go is simple wisdom with divine potential
Mary Regina Morrell
Father Lombardi's Address on Catholic Media
Pope's Words to Pontifical Latin American College
Prelate: Genetics Needs a Conscience
State Aid for Catholic Schools: Help or Hindrance?
Scorsese Planning Movie on Japanese Martyrs
2 Nuns Kidnapped in Kenya Set Free
Holy See-Israel Negotiation Moves Forward
Franchising to Evangelize
Catholics Decry Anti-Christianity in Israel
Pope and Gordon Brown Meet About Development Aid
Pontiff Backs Latin America's Continental Mission
Cardinal Warns Against Anti-Catholic Education
Three words to a deeper faith
Relections for Lent 2009
Wisdom lies beyond the surface of life
Mary Regina Morrell
World Food Program Director on Lent
Pope's Lenten Message for 2009
Keeping a Lid on Permissiveness
Glimpse of Me
The 3 stages of life
Sex and the Married Woman
A Catholic Woman Returns to the Church
Modernity & Morality
Just a Minute
Catholic identity ... triumphant reemergence!
Edging God Out
Burying a St. Joseph Statue
George Bush Speaks on Papal Visit
Sometimes moving forward means moving the canoe
Mary Regina Morrell
Easter... A Way of Life
Papal initiative...peace and harmony!
Proclaim the mysteries of the Resurrection!
Jerusalem Patriarch's Easter Message
Good Friday Sermon of Father Cantalamessa
Papal Address at the End of the Way of the Cross
Cardinal Zen's Meditations for Via Crucis
Interview With Vatican Aide on Jewish-Catholic Relations
Pope Benedict XVI On the Easter Triduum
by Catholic Online
- Bomb explodes during Ariana Grande concert full of young fans HD Video
- Daily Readings for Wednesday, May 24, 2017
- Daily Reading for Thursday, May 25th, 2017 HD Video
- A message from Heaven: God is the only way to peace
- Which unique characteristic lies within Pope Francis' new cardinals?
- Pope vs. Trump: Monumental first meeting is full of surprises
- St. David I of Scotland: Saint of the Day for Wednesday, May 24, 2017
- St. John Baptist de Rossi HD
- Daily Reading for Wednesday, May 24th, 2017 HD
- Fatima apparitions to be featured in dramatic new film HD
- Daily Reading for Tuesday, May 23rd, 2017 HD
Copyright 2017 Catholic Online. All materials contained on this site, whether written, audible or visual are the exclusive property of Catholic Online and are protected under U.S. and International copyright laws, © Copyright 2017 Catholic Online. Any unauthorized use, without prior written consent of Catholic Online is strictly forbidden and prohibited.