LOYALTY is a virtue not often attributed to
God. Yet, salvation history shows that our infinitely faithful God
is utterly loyal to His people as well as to His plan for creation.
Even as He was punishing Adam and Eve for their sin, God was giving
His first promise of redemption. Centuries later, Moses could
confidently stand in the breech for God's apostate people, precisely
because he knew he could count on the Lord's faithfully, loyal love.
The Only-Begotten Son of the infinitely loyal Father fully
espoused His plan of redemption. An ancient hymn celebrates this
sublimely divine LOYALTY: But Christ Himself would
not endure / the ruin of our fallen race, / nor leave His Father's
handiwork / to perish under Satan's sway. Thus the Word became flesh
and dwelt among us, full of grace and truth and loyal love, loving
sinful, fallen humanity even to the end.
LOYALTY was a virtue that Jesus also fully
appreciated in His followers. Will you also go away? He had asked
the apostles on that fateful day in the synagogue at Capernaum (John
8:87) Though they only dimly understood what their Master was about,
they loyally backed up St. Peter's heartfelt response: Lord, to whom
shall we go? by continuing to go about with Jesus. Great was their
reward on the night of the Last Supper when our Lord could say to
them: You are those who continued with me in my trials. (Luke 22:28)
The human person is made for loyal love. LOYALTY
Is, so to speak a "built in' virtue, one that both springs from
God's love and mirrors God's love. We see this especially in the
life of St. Francis of Assisi.
If ever there was a man made for loyal love — it was Francis.
Valiant, chivalrous and generous, the future saint of Assisi was
uniquely equipped for utter dedication to a noble cause. And when
that cause was Christ, Francis scaled the heights of LOYALTY
with a totality which still astounds us. If Christ was poor, then
Francis, too, would be poor. If Christ went about doing good. then
Francis, too, would go about doing good. If Christ proclaimed the
coming of the Kingdom and the need for repentance, then Francis
would do the same.
When the Lord showed him that he was not to do this alone, the
Little Poor Man became the utterly dedicated and, one could even
say, the stubbornly loyal founder and father of a new religious
family. The first friars were witnesses of Francis' dogged
LOYALTY to the ideal entrusted to him by God. Do not speak
to me of other ways, the gentle Francis was to say when asked to
mitigate his radical Gospel form of life. The Lord Himself has
revealed that I am to live this way. And he did this so faithfully
that on his deathbed the Seraphic Father could make a final
attestation of his LOYALTY: i have done what was
mine to do!
We too can learn the art of loyal love by contemplating the
LOYALTY of our Lord and Savior. Like St. Francis,
we can grow in loyal love by responding to the myriad calls which
each day offers to remain faithful, especially in the face of
weariness and weakness. it is a loyal thing you do, St, John
declared, when you render service to the brethren. (3 John 1!3) And
it is faithful, loyal love in little things that equips us for the
LOYALTY which lasts a lifetime and leads to the
vision of our God who is LOYAL LOVE in heaven.