It is the twenty-fifth anniversary of the movie The Princess Bride! I was in my late teens when I first came across this amazing book and movie about true love and high adventure. Have you seen the movie? The book is even better! In one word I would describe it as “magnificent!”
Fr. Raymond de Souza’s wrote an article a few weeks ago tying in the storyline with a popular phenomenon these days. He has recognized a trend of “eligible young men and women” who long for marriage yet are unable to find their life-long partner. I have many single Catholic girl and guy friends who lament over the same problem. There just doesn’t seem to be relationships happening. This line describes it the best: “An increasing number of young women hear the depressing compliment from their boyfriends that they are “just like one of the guys.” The dream of every girl: to be an eighth dwarf.”
What is missing if there are people looking and willing? I think we are missing the piece that love is about sacrifice and honour, faith and valour, taking a leap of faith for your love. As Westley, the main character in The Princess Bride, demonstrates so well, love requires sacrificial action. For him it was a tumble down a hill, going on a pirate ship to make his fortune and a journey through a fire-breathing swamp of Rodents of Unusual Sizes plus willingly going through a machine of torture. His actions proved that nothing is too much for true love!
The lack of serious relationships and difficulty in finding “the one” is the result of a culture that has become so terrified of difficulty and sacrifice, so afraid of commitment and don’t even get me started on real human interaction. These are the things which make us vulnerable today. In comparison it does seem rather weak. What happened to battle to the death? Nothing is too great for one’s true love? Somewhere along the way we let our fears cloud the beauty of the end-game…
As Fr. De Souza concludes, “One does not slouch toward love, but sacrifices for it, which begins with striving. True love without sacrifice? As The Princess Bride reminds us still: inconceivable!” Suffering and sacrifice shape the face of true love. God is the face of true love. Can you imagine Jesus only partially sacrificing for us with some mere inconveniences? Instead, He sacrificed all of His being for His Church, for us. For you. He loved us until it hurt because He knew each of us was worth it. Jesus’ sacrifice for us is the most epic tale of true love and high adventure. My hope is that our culture will begin to see the beauty of sacrifice for the other. As Dr. Scott Hahn said at “The New Evangelization” hosted by Catholic Chapter House, “Love without suffering is pure rhetoric. Suffering purifies love of selfishness.”
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