Saturday, 7 November 2009
Can't buy me love.
Father Ignatius was in his office awaiting the arrival of James in order to prepare the annual financial accounts for St Vincent Church.
When James finally arrived, over an hour late, the pot of coffee prepared by Father Ignatius had already gone cold, and half the biscuits had been eaten by the impatient priest.
He said nothing as he noticed right away that James was very upset about something. His eyes were red as if he’d been crying, his hands were shaking and he was unusually silent compared to his normal jovial outgoing personality.
James sat in the large armchair next to the large window overlooking the town.
“Do we have to do this today?” he asked.
“No …” replied the priest, “the accounts can wait for another time.”
James hesitated at first then mumbled, “She left me Father …”
“Who … what do you mean?”
“Sophie … she left … we broke up. We had a row and she said we’re through … she prefers to be with another man at her work.”
The priest said nothing but silently prayed for a few seconds or so.
“I told her she was getting rather too interested with that guy at work. She said what if she was. We argued about it and she said she does not want to be with me again …
“I love her Father … more than I’ve loved anyone before … we were to get married … and now she’s gone …”
The priest poured a glass of water and gave it to James.
“Why do bad things happen to me? I’m a good person. Why does God allow this to happen to me? Why can’t He make her love me just as I love her? I’d do anything for her … I love her so … why doesn’t God make her love me?”
“I’m sure you don’t mean that,” said the priest calmly.
“What do you mean?”
“I’m sure you don’t want God to make her love you. If for instance He were to do as you wish, would you really want that love?”
James looked puzzled as the priest continued.
“Love should be freely given and not forced in any way. You say you love her, and seeing the two of you together, I believe you do. You gave her your love and in doing so you became vulnerable, as we all do, when we give of ourselves to others. Your love was freely given. And if you love her as much as you say, you should allow her the freedom to return that love …”
“You mean let her go? Even though she’s making a mistake by being with that man?” asked James.
“I don’t know about letting her go … but she should decide for herself what to do.
“Let me tell you something …
“God would have saved Himself a lot of bother if He created a race of robots all pre-programmed to obey His commandments and do His will.
“But He loved us so much that He gave us the gift of choice. He set us free to either love Him back in return or to turn our back on Him.
“And as you know, many turn their backs on Him and choose to mock Him, not believe in Him and go the other way. His heart must hurt to breaking point when He sees this happening; but He allows it to happen because He loves us.
“He wants our love for Him to be freely given, without any pressure whatsoever. Christ the shepherd is forever seeking these lost sheep and encouraging them to return to the fold. His work is always hampered by the devil and his alternative agenda.
“The greatest gift we can give our Lord is to use our Free Will to love Him back. Use our Free Will to freely submit to His will.”
James said nothing, but seemed much calmer now.
“I don’t know whether the two of you are meant to be together …” continued Father Ignatius, “but give it time. Let her go freely … keep in touch every now and then. If you get the chance, apologise for your jealousy … seek her forgiveness for not trusting her enough … but leave her free to decide James.”
The accounts were never completed on that sad winter morning; but James left the priest’s office a little more composed and certainly calmer than before.
About thirteen months later Father Ignatius married James and Sophie at St Vincent Church. He is now due to baptize their first born son next week.