O Loyal Love
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
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.