Posts tagged ‘love’

October 15, 2017

it is more than slightly frightening to assimilate the notion that God finds us lovable

From Patrick Henry Reardon’s book Reclaiming the Atonement: An Orthodox Theology of Redemption (Volume 1 of 3: The Incarnate Word).

It is difficult, it is bewildering, and it is more than slightly frightening to assimilate the notion that God finds us lovable. It is among the most astounding truths in Holy Scripture. What could God possibly find lovable in us?

Indeed, even some Christians are so bewildered by this idea that they resort to subtleties to parse away its paradox. They may explain, for example, that God, being love, had to do so, even though He finds nothing intrinsically lovable in us. It is taken for granted, in some Christian circles, that God could not possibly find human beings desirable. It is assumed as obvious that there is nothing in us that would attract Him. It is impossible for God to love us for our own sake, we are told, but He does so because of His loving nature. He is forced to love us, as it were, because love is His definition.

Let me suggest that theories like this are difficult to reconcile with what God has told us about Himself—and us. In Holy Scripture He describes Himself as a Bridegroom rejoicing over a bride, who is the apple of His eye. He speaks of Himself as a Father who celebrates the return of a faithless son, in whom He recognizes His own image. Surely, these are the teachings that justify that beautiful adjective by which Holy Church addresses God: philanthropos.

When the Church calls God the “lover of mankind,” She affirms an important truth about the human race: God finds man attractive.

…Even the souls in hell are the object of His relentless affection, because they are formed in His image, the same image He saw on the day His hands gave them shape.

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December 21, 2015

there was something about mankind we loved

“True, there was something about mankind we loved. I think it was their money.”

“Marley and Marley” in the Muppet Christmas Carol.

July 18, 2015

all that had then but flashed out in a glance or a gesture

She was the old Psyche still; a thousand times more her very self than she had been before the Offering. For all that had then but flashed out in a glance or a gesture, all that one meant most when one spoke her name, was now wholly present, not to be gathered up from hints nor in shreds, not some of it in one moment and some in another. Goddess? I had never seen a real woman before.

…Psyche herself was, in a manner, no one. I loved her as I would once have thought it impossible to love, would have died any death for her. And yet, it was not, not now, she that really counted. Or if she counted (and oh, gloriously she did) it was for another’s sake. The earth and stars and sun, all that was or will be, existed for his sake. And he was coming. The most dreadful, the most beautiful, the only dread and beauty there is, was coming. The pillars on the far side of the pool flushed with his approach. I cast down my eyes.

Till We Have Faces: A Myth Retold by C.S. Lewis.

July 18, 2015

Light within light

The moon looks wonderful in this warm evening light, just as a candle flame looks beautiful in the light of morning. Light within light. It seems like a metaphor for something. So much does. Ralph Waldo Emerson is excellent on this point.

It seems to me to be a metaphor for the human soul, the singular light within the great general light of existence. Or it seems like poetry within language. Perhaps wisdom within experience. Or marriage within friendship and love.

From Gilead by Marilynne Robinson (119).

October 22, 2014

If you do not love the Greeks

If you do not love the Greeks, you cannot love anything.

Quote from Rex Warner (at front of My Brother Michael by Mary Stewart).

August 31, 2014

the love of ghosts is not expectant

I know by now that the love of ghosts is not expectant, and I am coming to that. This Virgie of mine, this newfound ‘Virge,’ is the last care of my life, and I know the ignorance I must cherish him in. I must care for him as I care for a wildflower or a singing bird, no terms, no expectations, as finally I care for Port William and the ones who have been here with me.

From Hannah Coulter by Wendell Berry (185).

August 31, 2014

giving yourself over to suffering

You can’t give yourself over to love for someone without giving yourself over to suffering. You can’t give yourself to love for a soldier without giving yourself to suffering in a war. It is this body of our suffering that Christ was born into, to suffer Himself and to fill it with light, so that beyond the suffering we can imagine Easter morning and peace on earth on little earthly homelands such as Port William and the farming villages of Okinawa.

But Christ’s living unto death in this body of our suffering did not end the suffering. He asked us to end it, but we have not ended it. We suffer the old suffering over and over again. Eventually, in loving, you see that you have given yourself over to the knowledge of suffering in a state of war that is always going on. And you wake in the night to the thought of the hurt and the helpless, the scorned and the cheated, the burnt, the bombed, the shot, the imprisoned, the beaten, the tortured, the maimed, the spit upon, the shit upon

From Hannah Coulter by Wendell Berry (171).

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August 11, 2014

you know the ghosts are there when you see as they see

Ghosts attend such events. I don’t know how else to say it. This was 1967. Mr. Feltner had been dead for two years, and Virgil for twenty-two. You know the ghosts are there when you see as they see, not as they saw but as they see. You feel them with you, not as they were but as they are. I never shed a tear that day, but all day long I saw Margret as her father and her grandfather saw her. I loved her that day with my love but also theirs. …I saw her as as Virgil and Mr. Feltner saw her, and I thought I would perish with the knowledge of loss and of having.

From Hannah Coulter by Wendell Berry (118-119).

January 21, 2014

circling round you

Then someone gave the great command
All things paired off for the dance
The great to small the small to grand…
The hawk around the field mouse
The love around a lover’s mouth…
The angels round their crowded pins
The amber-waved electrons spin
In planetary transits
Round the ones they’re bound to…
The ghost around the one it haunts
The want around the thing it wants…
Love or gravity or law
Whatever name it’s got it’s got me
Circling round you

From Josh Ritter’s song “Orbital” from his album So Runs the World Away. (I realized that I already posted some lines from this song a while back.)

November 17, 2013

among these people

Finally, Totski took cunning means to try to break his chains and be free. He tried to tempt her in various ways to lose her heart; he invited princes, hussars, secretaries of embassies, poets, novelists, even Socialists, to see her; but not one of them all made the faintest impression upon Nastasia. It was as though she had a pebble in place of a heart, as though her feelings and affections were dried up and withered for ever. She lived almost entirely alone; she read, she studied, she loved music. Her principal acquaintances were poor women of various grades, a couple of actresses, and the family of a poor schoolteacher. Among these people she was much beloved.

From The Idiot by Fyodor Dostoyevsky.

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