Thursday, May 03, 2018

It Is a Fearful Thing to Grow in Love

Bamboo, outside of Brasilia, Brazil
What our diseased world needs now is love. I pray for love to fully rescue my imprisoned heart. 

Thomas Merton writes: "Now I see more and more that there is only one realistic answer: Love. I have got to dare to love, and to bear the anxiety of self-questioning that love arouses in me, until “perfect love casts out fear.”"[1] 

How do I “dare to love?” I think it means abiding in Christ and, in the intimacy of this union, ask God to produce his love in me. God's love is so transcendent and beautiful that only God could transform my heart.

As the transformation happens, I will acquire love’s attributes. I will…

  • become patient
  • become kind
  • not envy
  • not boast
  • not be prideful
  • not dishonor others
  • not be self-seeking
  • not be easily angered
  • keep no record of wrongs
  • not delight in evil
  • rejoice with the truth
  • alway protects
  • alway trusts
  • alway hopes
  • alway perseveres
  • never fail

I will sacrifice for others. Jesus said "anyone who loves their life will lose it."[2] And: "Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends."[3]

My love domain will expand. Jesus said, "Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you."[4] In this way, love is power. With love, things come together; with war, things fall apart. Christ’s love, in me, will be reconciling and restoring.

The world needs love. I need love. The only answer is God. 

Love's primal, aboriginal subject is God. Jesus said, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’”[5] "Love" is defined by the being of God. God is love, in essence.

The world fails to find love apart from God. Love makes no rational sense without God. Without God, and if there is no God, love does not exist. 

Atheist physicist Stephen Weinberg acknowledged this.[6] Weinberg's scientism causes him to conclude that "the worldview of science is rather chilling...  the emotions that we most treasure, our love for our wives and husbands and children, are made possible by chemical processes in our brains that are what they are as a result of natural selection acting on chance mutations over millions of years."

Weinberg is correct. If there is no God, there is no "love," since all our emotions, to include "love," are but chemical processes in our physical brains. 

Weinberg is incorrect. There is a God. This God is love. God’s love looks like Jesus. It is the only answer.

I once heard that the actor John Wayne defined “courage” as being afraid, but saddling up anyway. It is a fearful thing to grow in love, because it requires deep change. Say the word “change,” and choruses of trepidation sing. 

Courage is needed. 

I am praying for courage to love.

[1] Merton, Learning to Love: Exploring Solitude and Freedom (The Journals of Thomas Merton), New York: Harper Collins, Kindle Locations 857-858, April 25, 1966.
[2] John 12:25
[3] John 15:13
[4] Matthew 5:44
[5] Matthew 22:37-39
[6] Stephen Weinberg, “Without God.” The New York Review of Books, September 25, 2008.