Thursday, February 14, 2013

Love Requires Communion

Love does not require two people, and yet, at the same time, it cannot be forced or coerced. It must be a gift to be accepted or denied, received or rejected. Love is not a pure emotion, though emotions and passions can drive it, but a willed act. It cannot be as fickle as the winds or the rain, or exacted like a science or weather phenomena. Love cannot be predicted for the simple fact that it requires a free will ready to return that love which has been first given, and thus to be shared with the Other, with each of the ones surrounding. Love requires Communion.

It is there that Love takes on all its properties and all of its varied and diverse forms. It is here in this moment, when it is shared that the seed of faith grows, that hope is renewed, and that Love takes root.

Any setback, any humiliation, any perceived foible or failure possibly seen by others, any heartbreak, any loss of possession, any separation of affection and touch, or even the sense of abject failure need not go unpurposed, unused, or wasted in the pursuit of this Communion of Love. The Spirit of God gives us fruits of grace especially in these humble moments when the consolations dry up and the earthly happiness ceases. The rains of grace shall come again, and the new day shall dawn once more and break from on high. This temporal winter so too shall pass. And even in these dry moments, there Love is.

"Love and truth will meet; justice and peace shall kiss. Truth will spring from the earth; justice shall look down from heaven." Psalm 85:11-12

And so it is, Love through Communion and Communion through selfless love. It isn't so much that we go wandering the world in search of Love in all the wrong places; it is that we have forgotten that it wasn't we who first loved but that we must realize that we must first be loved before we can learn to speak adequately in the language demanded by Love and of the One who created us. No single response is exactly the same to the demands of love. And those demands, which may seem high and distant at times or number many, distill into each the basic callings that each person receives as the seed to their very "vocation to love," as St. Therese of Lisieux once said.

"In this is love brought to perfection among us, that we have confidence on the day of judgment because as he is, so are we in this world. There is no fear in love, but perfect love drives out fear because fear has to do with punishment, and so one who fears is not yet perfect in love. We love because he first loved us." 1 John 4:17-19

Her struggle to win herself over to her "Little Way" is as legendary as it is simple: to be all things to all, she must first be love for the other in her own distinct, simple, child-like way. She was not everything, and yet through Love's massive expanse she became, through the Communion of Love and through the Faith and Hope she professed, the Love she desired so much. She did not allow the stumbling block of fear to obscure the "lamp upon [her] feet" and "light of [her] path" (cf. Psalm 119:105).

Love has no other ultimate end besides Communion with God, who is Love. And so, while the impostor examples placate in the interim, anything that does not lead us to that ultimate end of Communion with Him—be it trifle or tempest, longing or largesse, silence or speech, climax or desolation, height or depth—we find ourselves unable to be filled, by which we are unable to be in lasting peace, and in the end through which we are unable to have everlasting life itself without this aim. No matter its tried and noble path, if it not end in love, then it would be all dross. Without this Love, supreme of all virtues, we would be nothing, for without Him we are. And with Him, no matter the past, Love conquerors all not by force but by simple unending Truth in Communion with the Creator Blest. "We love because he first loved us." (1 Jn 4:19)

Where else but first at the Sacrifice of the Cross at Calvary in the bloody form and then at the re-presentation at the Altar under the unbloody form of the Eucharist first instituted by Christ himself as a Sacrament of Love? Where else can Love come down to be poured into all the Faithful to both strengthen them and to show them Love's most sublime way of entering into Communion with His bride, the Church? Love has no end, except in Him. Let us return in love by whom all loves so beautifully excel in bringing one another God, in whom we are strengthened for the blessed race still to be run but that has already been won, and through Him we have everlasting life.

"At the Last Supper, on the night he was betrayed, our Savior instituted the Eucharistic Sacrifice of his Body and Blood. He did this in order to perpetuate the sacrifice of the cross throughout the centuries until he should come again, and so to entrust to his beloved spouse, the Church, a memorial of his death and resurrection: a sacrament of love, a sign of unity, a bond of charity, a paschal banquet in which Christ is consumed, the mind is filled with grace, and a pledge of future glory is given to us." (Sacrosanctum Concilium 47)

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