Monday, September 19, 2011

Love Is Our Measure

Our front yard

Thomas Merton wrote: "The measure of our identity, of our being (the two are the same), is the amount of our love for God. The more we love earthly things, reputation, importance, pleasures, ease, and success, the less we love God." (A Year with Thomas Merton, Kindle Locations 4623-4625)

The more things we love, the more our love, and hence our identity, is dissipated. Our love, and our self, gets spread thin. And we are dissipated among things that have no real value. "Then," wrote Merton, "when we come to die, we find we have squandered all our love (that is, our being) on things of nothingness, and that we are nothing, we are death." 

Sometimes, when we read an obituary, we see that "John Doe" "loved to hunt and fish, and loved his sports teams." So, who was John Doe? He was the avid hunter, fisherman, and sports lover. Are these things intrinsically wrong? No. But if they are the things that define John Doe and nothing more, then how sad and meaningless a life he led. Especially if John Doe has been a Chicago Cubs fan.

Merton wanted his life to be measured by his love of God, and from that, measured by his love for the least of His children.

Devote yourself fully to loving God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength. Out of this great love, discern what the recipients of this love shall be.