THE title may refer more immediately to married couples who are committed to their spouses for a lifetime of love. But it can actually be applied to all of us also, single or married, young or old, healthy or not, etc.
That’s because in the end we all have to be faithful to something or someone who, if I have to say things bluntly, is none other than God, our Creator and Father. Some people may choose to be faithful only to their own selves, but that’s another story that we can take up some other time.
We cannot help but live some degree of fidelity because by nature we are a relational being. We are always connected to someone and there is always some kind of hierarchy in this network of relations in which we live. And one task we have to do is to find the place that properly belongs to us. This is the context of fidelity.
We need to be more aware of our duty to be faithful, especially in our present times when forms of promiscuity are increasing and often in a most subtle way. We need to know what is involved in this duty to be faithful.
We also need to know how to distinguish promiscuity from the legitimate attitude that respects and even fosters tolerance of an increasingly diversified world, or more, even taking advantage of such diversity.
We are in tricky times. And so we have to be discerning as we pursue the real and ultimate goals of our life, and everything in it. Here lies the seed of the secret of fidelity. It’s never a passive, laid-back virtue. Rather, it is active and dynamic.
We can only be faithful if we work for it consciously, keeping the right priorities that should be set out by the objective laws that govern us as persons, members of the community in all aspects—social, economic, political, cultural, etc.—and ultimately as children of God.
Our main problem is that we often take this duty to know who we really are and the laws that properly govern us for granted. We often allow ourselves to be led mainly by the unreliable swings of our emotions and passions, the social and ideological trends, and the changing economic and political weathers, etc.
These are never absolute guides. At best, they give some light and impulse, and they can condition and exert some influence on the different aspects of our life, but they are in need to be rooted on an absolute, permanent ground—the terra firma who is God.
Fidelity requires of us nothing less than the genuine impulse of love, the love that ultimately comes from God, the author, pattern and end of love. It requires an intimate relation with God.
When a couple’s love refuses to conform itself to this love, and prefers to linger on the bodily aspects of love, or some other considerations only, fidelity may survive more of an accident than by intention.
Same with those engaged in other fields of human endeavors—business, politics, academics, culture, philosophy, theology, etc. If their main inspiration is not God, but something or someone else, they will go wayward sooner or later.
This love of God is something we can always have, if we are open to it in the first place, and then work hard to keep it. There will be difficulties, of course, but none that could not be overcome if we just keep our faith and love for God.
This love of God is expressed first when springing from our faith in God we obey his commandments, even if such commandments may give us temporary difficulties. It is developed by having recourse to God in the sacraments themselves and in abiding prayer.
This matter about prayer should be understood well, because many misconceptions distort its real character. Prayer is simply keeping our mind and heart in God’s presence, allowing them to act and interact with God according the circumstances of the moment.
This is how we can keep ourselves vitally strong and dynamic, giving us a good vision of things and the capacity to discern what God really wants of us, especially when we are faced with many so-called legitimate but competing choices, tempting us to be promiscuous.
This is how can be truly faithful, enjoying a sense of meaning and direction in our life, a sense of confidence and security amid the many vagaries of life. We need to cultivate and spread this lifestyle and culture.