Friday, February 10, 2012

God and Romance, Again

Okay, I don't want anyone to misunderstand what I was arguing yesterday. I love love! I was arguing that love is not in and of itself a morally good state. I don't doubt that homosexuals can really be in love. I don't doubt that I could fall in love with someone I shouldn't! Love is not without its moral problemata. I just made up that word. Not really.

So maybe you want me to make a distinction now between 'love' and 'true love'. I hear that one being made all the time. Non-philosophers all!

Love is not only about intention, it is also about object. None of you will disagree with me when I throw out that one word - pedophilia.

What I would not want to argue is that love of a man for a woman, a woman for a man, is not a very special experience. Of course it is. I would wish that experience for everyone, provided that the object was good. We have a set nature therefore the objects of our desires have to correspond to that nature's real, and healthy, requirements.

Love, true love, what's in a name? What crops up in the romantic literature often amounts to a kind of gnosticism, the belief that 'love conquers all,' is greater than all, is a special kind of knowledge, etc. It confuses feeling with ontology (state of being). The confusion happens easily to Christians too, because in saying as we do that 'God is love,' we sometimes think that means 'love is God.' Love is a Person, it is well said. But what's the difference? If God is love that means that there parameters of objectivity that the love we feel needs to correspond to if it is to be 'of God,' because God is one thing and not something else.  God is a the root of 'true love,' if that is the expression you want to use. He is the cause of that love. Other love is not a gift from God, really, even though it may have some positive aspects. For instance, one in 'adulterous love' may feel inspired on account of this good feeling to do charity work. It is not the feeling of love that is bad, for one can only love something good - like a person. But that is not a sign that one should go with that feeling. It is not a gift from God per se; it is, in fact, a challenge, perhaps a temptation, a trial.

Love is powerful, and rare is the person who will decide to do the right thing despite it.

But when the object and the intention are in the light, in accordance with God's will for us, according to the objective good of our nature, it is wonderful and truly a blessing from the Lord.

Powerful, indeed, is the love that cultivates, persists, nourishes spouse and family. But for this we have to sometimes leave behind the realm of mere feeling, for the realm that not many people seem to enter, the realm where subtler, indescribable joys replace the ones easy to comes by. Being in a loving relationship of ten, twenty, fifty years verses the one-night stand. One is exhilarating for a brief moment, the other fulfilling, meaningful, ennobling and truly joyful for life.

Referring back to St. Thomas, you'll note that the questions from his 'Question 28' that I quoted last post refer to love as a passion. A feeling, in other words. It is love as a virtue that we need to end up with. Love as a feeling is just how we feel in regard to any good that passes under our noses. Love as a virtue is the supernatural gift from God. We can have this for people. Rather, we have it for God and it washes over and includes people, and that is the great thing to which all of our lives must be directed.


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  3. What a beautiful reflection on love Colin...keep up the good work! and what a beautiful picture of your daughters :)