Supernatural Love – Christ in the Home by Fr. Raoul Plus, S.J.


SOME persons imagine that the endeavor to transform their 
natural love into supernatural love will make them awkward, 
make them lose their spontaneity, their naturalness.

Indeed, nothing is farther from the truth, if supernatural love 
is rightly understood.

What does it really require?

First of all, does it not require us to fulfill the perfections of 
natural love? Supernatural love, far from suppressing natural 
love, makes it more tender, more attentive, more generous; it 
intensifies the sentiments of affection, esteem, admiration, 
gratitude, respect, and devotion which constitute the essence 
of true love.

Supernatural love takes away one thing only from natural and 
spontaneous love--selfishness, the arch-enemy of love. It 
demands that everything, from the greatest obligation to the 
simplest, be done as perfectly as possible. Then by elevating 
simple human love to the level of true charity, it ennobles the 
greatest powers of that love. It suppresses nothing. It 
enriches everything. Better still, it provides in advance 
against the danger of a diminution in human love. It pardons 
weaknesses, deficiencies, faults. Not that it is blind to them, 
but it does not become agitated by them. It bears with them, 
handles them tactfully, helps to overcome them. It is capable 
of bestowing love where all is not lovable. Penetrating beyond 
the exterior, it can peer into the soul and see the image of 
God behind a silhouette which has become less pleasing.

That is the whole secret. Supernatural love in us seeks to love 
in the manner and according to the desire of God; it requires 
us therefore to love God in those we love and then to love the 
good qualities He has given them and bear with the absence 
of those He has not given or with the characteristics He has 
permitted them to acquire.

Loving without any advertence to self, supernatural love is 
patient and constant in spite of the faults of those it loves. 
The Little Sister of the Poor loves her old folk despite their 
coughing, their unpleasant mannerisms, their varying moods. 
The Missionaries who care for the lepers love them in spite of 
their loathsome sores.Picture2

Unselfish as it is, supernatural love inspires the one who is 
animated by it to seek the temporal and above all the 
spiritual good of the one he loves before his own. Delicately 
it calls the attention of the loved one to his faults, not to 
reproach him, but to help him correct them. It does not give 
in to irritability or moodiness; it is quick humbly to beg 
pardon and to make reparation, should it ever fail. And when 
there has been a little outburst, how comforting it is, in the 
intimate converse of the evening, to acknowledge one's 
failings, to express sorrow, and to promise to do better in the 
future with the other's help!

But all this presupposes prayer and a true desire for union 
with God.


A BEAUTIFUL work which husband and wife can pursue 
together is the mutual effort to correct their faults. Maurice 
Retour, an industrialist and one of the youngest captains of 
World War I of which he was a victim, suggested this to the 
woman he loved even during their engagement. He wrote to 
her, "I must confess something to you . . . I became aware of 
your imperfections and I thought how pained I should have 
been if I had not been able to see clearly into your soul . . . 
You see how frank I want to be with you. We are just engaged 
and yet instead of paying you compliments, I do not fear to 
speak to you of your imperfections which my love for you 
cannot hide . . . Tell me you will pardon me."

Another time he wrote, "In general, engaged persons strive to 
shine in each other's eyes. We, on the contrary, began by 
showing each other all our faults...You have acknowledged all 
your faults to me; I confessed to you all my weakness . . . 
Thank you for your great confidence in me. But never forget 
that if I permit myself to give you advice which seems good 
to me, I can always be mistaken and you ought to discuss it 
with me. Otherwise I shall never dare to give you my 

In a later letter he said to her, "I have already abused the 
liberty you gave me. I have told you frankly all I thought 
about you, nor was I afraid to recognize before you what you 
call your great faults. It was, I must confess, most difficult 
for me to tell you because I love you so much that I dread 
causing you the least pain." He added, "The interior life is 
what we need to correct our failings and we shall work from 
now on, if you wish, to grow in it."

This mutual effort of husband and wife to correct themselves 
of their faults may be much, but it is not enough. Something 
more beautiful remains--to strive positively for sanctity 
through mutual instruction, loving encouragement and a 
united and confiding zeal for each other's perfection.

"Why should we not live a saintly life?" asked Maurice Retour 
of his bride-to-be. And they decided upon some very definite 
principles for themselves.

"Let us put no faith in fortune, in pleasures, even in our self-
love which always increases and makes us run the risk of 
becoming blind.... The one who receives the most grace will 
make the other profit by it. What do we care what the world 
says! It will say what it pleases, but it never will be able to 
say that we are not true Catholics . . . Our life will be holy and 

"As far as jewels are concerned," commented Maurice, "I 
understand you perfectly. If you had loved them, I should 
never have opposed your tastes, but I tell you frankly, I 
should have suffered. We shall not fail by excesses on this 
score. We can do so much good with money that it would be 
wrong, in spite of my desire to spoil you, to spend it only on 
you. We shall save all we can to enable us to give more to 
charity. We shall always go straight to our goal and make no 
concessions to worldliness."

There is however, nothing admirable in a gloomy life. "Our 
interior life must be so intense that it remains alive in all our 
exterior actions, our pleasures, our work, our joys and our 
sorrows. I do not mean an interior life which makes us 
withdraw into ourselves and become bores for other people. 
On the contrary, we ought to spread our gaiety generously 
about us and spend all the activity of our youth to attract 
those who meet us. But, in order to be saints, we must be able 
to conserve in the midst of the most captivating pleasures 
and the most intense activity an interior calm which enables 
us to remain self-possessed always. . ."

A saint who is sad is sadly in need of sanctity!

A truly inspiring program!
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