Today we have another guest post, written by a good friend of mine, Madeleine Gubbels. She has given me permission to re-post her blog entry here. The original post can be found here.
The idea of holy friendship is one that is, unfortunately, lost in a society where “friend” is something achieved by adding a person to your facebook account after one brief encounter. Friendship is meant to be much more than that. I hope your reading below about Bls. Jordan and Diana will aid you, too, in finding and deepening true friendship with others.
United in Christ: Bl. Jordan of Saxony & Bl. Diana d’Andalo
By: Madeleine Gubbels
“You are so deeply engraven on my heart that the more I realize how truly you love me from the depths of your soul, the more incapable I am of forgetting you and the more constantly you are in my thoughts; for your love of me moves me profoundly, and makes my love for you burn more strongly.”
You will probably be surprised to learn that those words were written to a Dominican nun from a Dominican priest in the thirteenth century. You may be even more surprised to learn that their relationship was nothing like that of Abelard and Heloise or of Martin Luther and Katherine von Bora. Indeed, the love between Bl. Jordan of Saxony and Bl. Diana d’Andalo burned ever passionately but ever chastely from the day they met until the day they died—and beyond! As Jordan wrote to her again:
“…Why are you thus anguished? Am I not yours, am I not with you: yours in labour, yours in rest; yours when I am with you, yours when I am far away; yours in prayer, yours in merit, yours too, as I hope, in the eternal reward? …were I to die you would not be losing me; you would be sending me before you to [heaven], that I abiding there might pray for you to the Father and so be of much greater use to you there, living with the Lord, than here in this world where I die all the day long.”
What an unusual pair of lovers! It is not often that the Church has seen a celibate couple bound to each other with such strength of love, though Francis and Claire of Assisi, and Jane de Chantal and Francis de Sales, spring to mind. Their relationship challenges us: how can a love between a man and a woman be so intense yet so disinterested, so detached?
The answer (as for all things good) lies in Christ: Diana and Jordan found mirrored in each other a love for Christ, a desire for heaven, and a passion for souls that matched their own. With this foundation, their love for each other knew no bounds—and it only strengthened their dedication to Christ and their service to Him as consecrated religious.
Jordan and Diana are a refreshing reminder that the complementary vocation to the married vocation, that of celibacy, is by no means a renunciation of love, even human love. They are also a reminder that all of our love must first belong to Christ and then to those around as, according to the vocations He has called us to.
And what do you know, Bl. Jordan’s feast day is the day before St. Valentine’s Day.
For more information on these two extraordinary lovers in Christ see: