The Act of LoveIf we learned, as children, what love really is and how it operates, as explained above, there would be far fewer children raised by divorced parents.
O Lord, grant that I may love You for Yourself and not seek my own consolation, and that in loving You, I may always seek Your will, not mine.
To love a person is to desire his well-being. We understand, therefore, that the essence of love is in the act of the will by which we wish good. This does not take away from the fact that the act may often be accompanied by sensible affection, making our love both and act of the will and of the sensibility. Nevertheless, it is clear that the substance of real love is not to be found in the emotions but in the act of the will. Charity does not change our manner of loving but penetrates it, supernaturalizes it, making the will and the sensibility capable of loving God. Yes, even sensible affection can be engaged in the act of supernatural love; God does not despise this humbler and less lofty manifestation of our love for Him, because He has commanded us to love Him not only with our whole mind and our whole soul, but also with our whole heart. All our powers – intellectual, volitive, and affective – are engaged in the act of love, and yet the substance of this act is not found in the feelings but in the will. Therefore, when our emotions are cold in our love of God, and we “feel” nothing, there is no reason for us to be disturbed; we will find less satisfaction in our love – for it is much more pleasant for us to feel that we are loving – but our act of love will be equally true and perfect. Even more, lacking the impetus and pleasure which come from our feelings, we will be obliged to apply ourself more resolutely to the act of the will and this, far from harming it, will make it more voluntary, and therefore, more meritorious. Precisely because the substance of love is in the act of the will that wishes good to God, in order to make our love purer and more intense, Our Lord will often deprive us of all consoling feelings; we will no longer feel that we love God – and this will give us pain – but in reality, we will love Him in the measure that we will with determination what He wills, and want His good pleasure and delight above all things. Besides, it is not in our power to feel love but it is always in our power to wish good to God, striving with all our strength to live for Him and to please Him.
St John of the Cross says: “It is by an act of the will that the soul is united to God; this act is love. Union with God is never wrought by feelings or exertions of the desire, for these remain in the soul as aims and ends.” The operation of the will is the act of love by means of which we wish good to God and conform our will to His. This operation properly ends in God, and is the true means of united us to Him. The feeling of love, on the contrary, is only a subjective impression sometimes produced in our sensibility by the act of love. It ends in the soul which experiences it and is a source of consolation, but we can clearly see that of itself it has no power to unite the soul to God. However, the soul can and should make use of it to give itself to God with more generosity, and in this sense, the feeling of love intensifies the operation of the will. Unfortunately, as we are so eager to seek satisfaction even in the most sacred things, the soul may easily stop at the sweetness of these feelings, and then it ceases to tend toward God with all its strength.
Did you learn this as a child? I certainly didn't, and paid the price:
the substance of this act is not found in the feelings but in the will
The feeling of love, on the contrary, is only a subjective impression sometimes produced in our sensibility by the act of love. It ends in the soul which experiences it
Union  is never wrought by feelings or exertions of the desire, for these remain in the soul as aims and ends
The only place I have seen this taught is Marriage Encounter; a good but insufficient offering against the cultural Moloch to which real love is sacrificed.
It appears that the presentation by Mary Meade will be moved to Friday, Aug 14. We don't have a confirmed venue yet but will post it when it is known.