The world needs to recover fierce and unrelenting love

By Fr. Alan Hartway

Set me as a seal on your heart,
As a seal on your arm;
For stern as death is love,
Relentless as the nether world is devotion;
Its flames are a blazing fire.
— Song of Songs 8, 6

This verse today is often used at weddings; occasionally partially engraved on rings. The pledge to the bond of charity, like marriage, is unbreakable. A seal, in the context of the ancient near East, is a claim of ownership and identity with its unique mark. A broken seal meant that the goods have been tampered with. So, a seal meant authenticity and genuineness.

These are some of the important qualities of love that we will explore during the retreat “St. Gaspar and the Song of Songs: Communion and Community” the weekend of Oct. 26-27.

Traditionally we have certain signs and symbols we present as especially Precious Blood. The mission cross with its skull bones represent this fierce love, as strong as death. Today we have the image of the enthroned Lamb of God from the Book of Revelations; this Lamb is Christ who appears for the wedding feast for his bride, the Church.

The world needs a recovery of this fierce and unrelenting love that is a commitment of our discipleship in Christ; we call it the bond of charity. The Precious Blood communities commit themselves to drawing all into this enormous circle of love.

Note how the seal in the verse above is both on the inmost self, symbolized by the heart, and also on one’s arm, an external proclamation of the ownership and identity of the Beloved, who is Christ. We will talk about the importance of our Precious Blood symbols and how they identify us and help us remember to whom we belong.

Learn more about the retreat and reserve your space here.

You’re invited to attend this October retreat at the Precious Blood Renewal Center and join the circle in our conversation about love.

Fr. Alan Hartway has been a Missionary of the Precious Blood since 1974 and pastor of Guardian Angels, Mead, Colorado since 2007. He served on the faculty at Naropa University in Boulder, Colorado, for 16 years.

Image at top by Jorisvo |


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