The Virtue of Loyalty

By Engr. Carlos Cornejo

Loyalty is fulfilling a promise made by way of oath, or allegiance to a person or institution.  It is under the virtue of justice.  For loyalty to be virtuous, it must serve what is good.  Blind loyalty is not a virtue but a vice.  It is a misplaced loyalty which is adherence to a person, group or institution that are not holding the right values or principles.  It is the loyalty practiced by a thief to his fellow thieves not to expose the wrong doing of his ‘workmates’ not because he really cares for his workmates but to protect their interest of maintaining their profitable criminal undertaking.

If you are a soldier and you know your country is fighting an unjust war then you have the duty to give up fighting for that country.  Our loyalty should go beyond persons or country because a person or a country, which is still composed of persons, can make mistakes.  Our loyalty is always to right values and principles in the same way that we should be loyal to the constitution if it is founded on right values and principles rather than to a political party or a president.

Perhaps the loyalty that is in crisis right now is in marriage.  In the U.S., 6 out of 10 marriages end up in divorce.  In the Philippines, it’s 4 out 10.  Although we don’t have divorce in our country nevertheless marriage is in trouble in our beloved homeland.  I give lectures on preparing singles for marriage and I would often point out that marriages will not last if the parties entering into it are just there because of their attraction for one another.  Make no mistake about it, I’m not saying they should not get attracted to one another.   But it should not stay on that level.  Attraction is based on feelings and feelings are not a good foundation for most things especially marriage.   Man and woman entering into marriage should go beyond feelings of attraction for one another.  They should truly fall in love.  The kind of love which is a decision, a choice. The kind of love whose essence is sacrifice.  Meaning they should love one another even if the feeling of attraction is not there anymore.  As Leo Tolstoy would say, “What counts in making a happy marriage is not so much how compatible you are but how you deal with incompatibility.”  Or how you exert the effort to make the marriage work.  Love is sacrifice. Christ sacrificed Himself for the Church, His Bride, in order to redeem her.

Maybe this story can illustrate what sacrificial love is.   There was a guy who was about to get married but was not sure if his future partner will make him happy.   So, he asked his dad who has a loving relationship with his mom.  “Dad, I’m going to marry this girl and she is my best friend, but I’m not so sure if she will make me happy.”  The dad replied, “If you are going to get married thinking that way, then you should not get married.”  “What?” said the son.  “You enter into marriage with a goal of making your partner happy and not to make yourself happy.”

One must not get married with the intention of getting and receiving something from it. Instead, one should enter marriage intending to offer something to it.  And that something is love, sacrifice and service because that is what couples pledge for each other, “For richer, for poorer.  In sickness and in health.  In good times and in bad, till death do us part.”