CHOICE OF A STATE
[continued from yesterday]
...Marriage will be the choice of most. It is the state for which they are by nature fitted, and for them the highest and most perfect life which they can live.
In most cases the choice is settled by a chance meeting and by the accident known as falling in love. Mutual passion for each other is the predominant attractive force.
If this passion is consonant with reason and revelation then it is all good and beautiful. If there are impediments to the proposed marriage then the passion is out of place and must be checked. Passion cannot be good if it has for its object that which tends to the ruin of the end of marriage.
But the impediments placed by God and by the Church are all arranged to protect the end of marriage, and therefore passion must never seek to override them.
The case, however, often arises in which only one of the pair feels the passion.
What is the other to do?
Suppose it to be the girl, and suppose her mind to be expressed by some such saying as this: "I like him, you know, but I cannot say that I am in love with him."
There is need here to distinguish between love and passion. Love is essentially an act of the will; passion is essentially a mere sensation.
Let us repeat, though, that the most perfect love for married people is that in which the will is fired by passion and in which the passion is controlled by the will.
But let us never forget that the lasting element in such love is that of the will. Passion burns out in time.
The girl then who is in every way fitted for marriage receives an offer from a young man who is in many ways suitable. She feels that she can honor and respect him, but hesitates about accepting him because she does not feel in love. If she is young and likely to have other chances she may wait.
But if she is likely to become an old maid then she may fortify herself with the philosophical distinction between love and passion. If she believes that the man will do all he can to make her happy, and she is determined to do all she can to make him happy, she will be well advised to marry him. Good will is the real stuff of which love is made, passion is but an added perfection.
Moreover, the good will in such cases invariably rouses the passion before the days of courtship are ended....
From Marriage and Parenthood, The Catholic Ideal
By the Rev. Thomas J. Gerrard
Author of "Cords of Adam," "The Wayfarer's Vision," ETC.
Copyright, 1911, by Joseph F. Wagner, New York.