Wednesday, October 05, 2005

The thoughtful TSO included this thought in his reminiscences about his recent trip to Toronto:
Mass today. Homilist quite good, quotes the poet Auden. Talks about how we usually think of love between a man and woman as having an infatuation phase and a "realistic" phase, the former seeing too much in a person. But Auden argued that the infatuation stage was more accurate, more realistic, because we are seeing with the eye of God, Reality Himself. When we see what they are capable of becoming - little less than angels - we then realize that thinking too well of people is more accurate in the long run than thinking less of them. [Emphasis mine.]
Might it be true that God jump-starts our love relationships with an insight into the truth of what's possible? Marriage is a direct reflection of the eternal giving and receiving within the Trinity and our clearest photo of the mutual self-donation Jesus wills between himself and his Bride the Church. So of course he will do many things to create and maintain a strong couple bond between us and our intended; what makes us think that "falling in love" isn't a direct occasion of God's abundant grace? Certainly we can waste it, wallow self-indulgently, or use it for evil ends just like many of the gifts he gives us. But the fact that we are charged to be responsible in its presence, just as we must in the presence of sexual desire or a large amount of money that doesn't belong to us, gives us a chance to bring our free will into cooperation with our abundant Lord.

I have had some experience of being in love. At its most mature, it has almost nothing in common with sappy sentiments (although the English language unfortunately is impoverished when it comes to non-sappy expressions of genuine love between a man and a woman). Its home is the warm gaze between the lover and the beloved in which the soul, the essence of the other person is seen, welcomed, loved and honored. There is no thought of pluses or minuses, strengths and weaknesses - they are backstage. It is the unreplicable person, the real You, that is loved. In that light, of course, we want to do all we can to bless the other person, ask God for protection over their welfare, and tell the other what we see and love in them (because they won't be able to see it themselves).

How similar this is to the love of Christ in which our sins are forgiven and set aside while Who We Really Are is strongly yet gently seen, loved and cherished by the One who made us. So although we may consider being in love as simply a wash of emotion, perhaps we should pray that this deep love of the real person stays and grows in spite of the interfering static of daily life.


Kate said...

All of the best things in life are unearned gifts...things we can't do or deserve, but have to ask for over and over again, and co-operate with the Holy Spirit in order to receive them - gifts like faith, hope, and love.

I believe that conjugal love is a gift from God. It is a foretaste of heaven, when we will see others truly, see those others in heaven perfect as they were always meant to be, and love them fully in our participation in God's love.

Of course, we are supposed to start all of that here on earth, but it is difficult because of our sinful limitations. So we (those of us with a married vocation) are entrusted with the gift of a small taste of God's perfect love: we are given a vision of the beloved through God's eyes, and we are given the grace to love them with God's love, as much as we are able.

I must say, that this inspires me often. No wonder there is no marrying or giving in marriage in heaven - because we'll be able to love everybody like that! Here on earth it is all we can do to open ourselves to God's grace and love on person like that.

You know, when Liam and I fell in love, I saw his strengths with perfect clarity. I knew him - what God had created him to be, all of the good, all of his beauty - as perfectly as I have ever known anybody. Over time, I added a knowledge of his faults and flaws to that. I know though that his shortcomings are not who he is, because sin can have no substance. Rather, those shortcomings are the gaps in who he is becoming, and it is my great privelige to be part of that journey. Knowing his flaws and sins has not in the least detracted from that first glorious vision.

Isn't love wonderful?

Therese Z said...

My God, this whole thing, post and comment, is beautiful!



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