Friday, January 13, 2023

Does love really mean never having to say "I'm sorry"?

When I was a young lad, there was a movie that enthralled so many people in the theatres.  I wasn’t taken to watch it by my parents as they said that it was a movie for adults, and in their minds, it was something that I wouldn’t understand.  The movie starred a young Ryan O’Neil and Ali MacGraw, and the title of the movie was just made up of two simple words “Love Story”.  From the movie came a very popular song “Where do I begin?” written by musician Francis Lai, made popular by the crooning voice of Andy Williams. 


When I was older, I made it a point to rent the video so that I would not miss this movie.  It was what many would call schmaltzy (excessively sentimental), and as the title reveals, it was a love story between the two protagonists of Ryan and Ali.  Some things are imparted through movies, and some are rather strange and not even true.  One song that came from another movie named Beaches, was a hit song sung by Bette Midler, and it was named From a Distance.  The jarring verse in that song says that God is watching us from a distance, which is terrible theology.  God isn’t watching us from a distance.  The Incarnation of Jesus is proof that God wasn’t just interested in having a view of the world from heaven, but in the incarnation of Jesus, came to live as a human being in real life, and lived and died to save the world from sin.  In a blog I wrote many years ago, I mentioned how some lyrics convey wrong or bad theology, and I used a line in the song “We are the world”.  That song was sung by many different artistes, and it was Willie Nelson who sang that “God has shown us by turning stone to bread”.  The truth is that God did not turn stone to bread, and in fact, Jesus refused to do that as in his temptation in the dessert, the devil suggested to Jesus that he could ease his hunger by making bread from stone. 


I now return to commenting on something that came from Love Story.  It was something that Jennifer (Ali MacGraw’s character) told Oliver (Ryan O’Neil’s character) during their romantic relationship.  She said “Love means never having to say you’re sorry”.  Oliver used this very line when he told his father that Jennifer had passed away from a terminal illness.  If there is one thing that we should never do, it is to believe such lines as truth and use them in our lives in future relationships and conversations.


If there is any truth in this line, it would be that when one truly loves another, one would choose not to do certain things that end up with the person having to apologize for having lived in a certain way.  In fact, the misleading quote from Love Story would instead be “Love means never doing anything that requires you to apologize for having lived a certain way.”  It’s a mouthful, but at least it clarifies things lest things get misconstrued. 


If love means never having to say you’re sorry, it makes the sacrament of reconciliation (or confession) redundant.  God loved the world so much that through the death and resurrection of Jesus, he sent the Holy Spirit for the forgiveness of sins.  All men and women are encouraged to go to the confessional often to make sure that they live in a state of grace.  And this sacrament came about because of God’s love.  In the confessional, penitents are sorry for their sins because they recognize how incredible it was that God showed us so much love that he sent his Son into the world to save it from sin.  If what Jennifer believed was true, the sacrament of reconciliation would not exist.


True love makes sin and an apology for sin erroneous.  Maybe it is because so many people do not equate the confession with the love of God, that many hesitate to go for frequent confession.  In fact, the more often the sacrament of reconciliation is experienced, the more one becomes touched by the truth of God’s incredible love for mankind.  Deep inside of me, I truly believe that constant pondering of God’s love for humankind is a sure way of ensuring that one isn’t bonded to any particular habitual sin that keeps one from being in a state of grace in life. 


  1. Good Morning Fr Luke! Thank you for the beautifully expressed soul searching blog. God Bless🙏🙏🙏

  2. Dear Fr Luke
    it suddenly occurs to me to find out how you are and if you fully recovered from your unfortunate accident.
    imagine my joy and relief to be able to read your insightful inputs and guidance.
    I hope you have fully recovered and wish you a very happy cny.