Christian Love as Source, Way and Fulfillment

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Part of "Christian Love as Source, Way and Fulfillment of Christian Life"(including discussion and questions of retreat participants) 

Tape 1, Side B

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now the us
feel your dogs simply bob romantic love friendship love spousal love parental love
then we mentioned the basic commitments of specifically christian love to love god insists jesus with all our heart mind soul and strength and then to love our neighbor as ourself so one can talk about three dimensions here we might ask you
is it in that order that we are to love this is the order that christ sets forth to love god then our neighbor as ourself as a kind of by a young
afterthought in these conferences i'm boldly reversing that order and duct so we're going to start not with the love of god kind of from above but with the love of ourself we're going to explore that is that legitimate in what sense what forms shapes it should take
make then we'll discuss love of neighbor than finally love of god
what could justify and motivate such an inversion of christ's bordering of things well we do have a good precedent in a saint bernard and his wonderful trapped on the love of god he said crisis way is certainly the way originally plan
and by god the disposition from the beginning but unfortunately there was the fall somehow things have gone wrong and so we have to acknowledge and some kind of christian really so that we just can't begin with the love of god the little baby doesn't begin with extending
love of god and then go to love of neighbor and then to self but there's this first emerging primitive self commitment and affirmation and out of that be come so kind of awareness of the other of mommy and daddy and then as that matures
the capacity to grace to love god so bernard's approach is an approach from below its kind of an experiential approach saying let's build this thing realistically if we solidly enough and in the best possible way love ourself we we built
to the foundation in terms what we can do through grace on so it takes grace even to love ourselves properly to then reach out and love our neighbor and then love god so that's the justification but in the kingdom it will be the other way around
and that's where we're aspiring to
but if we start with self love we obviously have all kinds of immediate problems one is getting beyond self love self love scenes of after the fault soul can naturally to us so inevitable and so not so spiritual writers
up seem to put the question is self love legitimate at all you said not what we're trying to
deny what we're trying to get beyond
or is it as who have somewhere noted yesterday the only part of point of departure if we don't have that we can't truly love another we can truly love god so there's a whole range of possible positions regarding the self love and up
i'll just say throughout lots of this stuff and then try to come up with a a basic of theology of love and hopefully make some sense of it and then we can discuss debate that but you could take the position that self-love is really a heroic virtue and as one or another was saying yesterday a very differ
occult thing to bring off
or you can hold it's not exactly a heroic virtue but it's up there at least a natural virtue or you can hold it just kind of neutral it's just instinctive vicious there it's neither good nor bad it depends how we use it
the venial sin to use good the roman catholic language self love this is what we're supposed to not do when the light of jesus as witness and cross etc or you can hold it's a mortal sin it's the worst possible thing up self love self et etc so you've got
a real challenge as we begin with this topic
ah the whole rage psychologists are not at all agreed and it's not clear their meaning the same thing by the language but certain texts to freud seem to suggest he considers at at best and neurosis this is narcissism this is when my effect is kind of
locked my libido is locked on myself
remember that painting of some a perhaps excessively sensitive young man whose gazing into the lake and just of enamored of his reflection there with this is what we've got to get beyond if we're going to really grow psychologically it's sickness narcissism to be cured so that we can
be capable of loving another in a healthy way
a from disagrees strongly and up will have more to say about that but he says rightly understood self-love is the foundation of psychological health we have to build from there
whatever you do with that psychologically are certainly in the reformed tradition there's a lot of thumb hesitancy about self-love calvin talks of self-love is that pest and apart barnes says that true love is always have another god will never think of
blowing on that fire which is self love which is bright enough already
nygren the famous up lutheran theologian he says that is just up a perversity to be overcome it's the very opposite of a guppy a guppy is essentially selfless it's essentially self forgetting essentially going beyond self
so that this is the reformed tradition and there's much of a that kind of line in the roman catholic tradition certainly as chance to use effects it when we've got to learn is a self a denial this is a fairly recent book by a good dominican theologian
victoria normal sunday maybe italian
pathways of love so his topics precisely ours and on the growth in love how do you grow up through self denial that's the very basis of it how needful it is to go to god through the denial of self and of all things fortunately doesn't see a volunteer people but of
all things so theirself self and things we've got to deny them to get to god self denial is absolutely necessary for if god is all and the as to receive this all within itself it must empty itself all else so should then value nothing whatever save
god alone all else including itself the soul should esteem as nothing so this is a classical kind of devotional or so aesthetical mystical language that we find a great deal of
so in terms of this we should just a set aside this morning some ponderings as so if anything very ambiguous and leading into the way of seeing etc etc st paul says log seeks not it's own press corinthians thirteen five and jesus said whoever would gain
in one's life must lose it
it would seem perhaps difficult to reconcile that with self love
and yet again it is jesus who says love your neighbor as yourself
now what is he saying there is a commanding us to love ourself that's one possibility or as he just saying will inevitably love ourself that's just in us so that that self-love should be the measure of our love of neighbor that is he's not approving of and he's just kind of of a
acknowledging it and in a kind of a semitic paradoxical way think that's the way we should love the other or is he possibly commanding self love yourself love in fact even a good and indeed is christ wanting us to not sell that sub would we
want to explore again this morning there is a tradition and it's an ancient tradition it's a monastic tradition also that we've got to start with love your language is ambiguous but at least of the soul as st arid service and it's wonderful classic spiritual friendship huh
how many of you know this book by a good but he is a english cistercian writer he's a contemporary of st bernard this is a beautiful volume saying are affirming good christian friendship is where we encounter the living god where are we encounter the living out of the guy
gospel it's a beautiful tracked but among other things he says we gotta start here truly the person who does not love his own soul will not be able to love the soul another that's just foundational for him and of one can find that in several other up a recent
jesuit the mind and heart of love by darcy d apostrophe r c he says that self-love is an obligation and again the foundation for the whole rest of the edifice at least psychologically merton says a real obstacle to are journeying forth and spirituality is self he
hatred of i think this was noted yesterday in doing spiritual direction i think so many modern modern suffer from a to use pop psychology language a dreadful self image
because of which they can't imagine anyone else loving them because of which is extremely difficult for them to love anyone else but alone god so in this perspective which is quite different from the other a this is where we begin and where we need to be truly
i'm a protestant theologian paul ramsey i think has a wonderful paragraph on at very least let's take the minimal position that there is some kind of instinctual self love built into us and that at very least jesus wants that to be the
measure of the way we are to love others i think he's gotta interesting paragraph in this regard to how exactly do you love yourself answer this question and you will know how a christian should love his neighbor you naturally love yourself for your own sake you wish your own good
and you do so even when you they have a distaste for yourself for the kind of person you are liking yourself or thinking you're so very nice or not has fundamentally nothing to do with the matter of loving yourself so here's a classic distinction we sometimes hear that either
ink is gregory important between liking self or another and loving self or another liking god or loving god we want to explore this great deal but that's not what we're after so one can have a disdain for lots of things once done in once past or a deep anguish or a
no compunction thus the prodigal son but still have a commitment to oneself
after a failure of some sort the will to live so returns and you always late old expectantly on another possibility of attaining some good for yourself you love yourself more than you love any of the good qualities or worth you may or may not possess
unsafe do by bad qualities not elicited by good ones self love does not wait on worth in fact it is quite the other way around self love makes you desire worth for yourself
i want to grow in the christian way because there's is fundamental commitment to myself so i think of given the commandment of jesus at very least we can start there but given that distinction between like and loving
oh maybe we can go a great deal beyond that
and so now this could be opportunity to have discuss what on earth we mean by love what is the fundamental character and nature of love that makes it love whether it's maternal love or paternal or feel ill or friendship love or spousal love
love or love of god or love of the universe or love of enemy
love of enemy is an interesting test case here this is the radical challenge jesus
how do we love our enemy presumably if the person is seriously our enemy we don't like them we may profoundly disagree with them we might have all kinds of negative effect problems of jesus doesn't ask us to deny all of that but even given all that word to love
is that possible if we can work that out maybe we could work out how we can love ourself we even in times we were maybe extremely anguish but what we have done under what we haven't done and then how we were to the to love everyone and up of god etc
so this is our three moments of love between to send a red st air it has another work called your of love it comes out of the i think splendid rich cistercian medieval tradition is very nourished by up some gregory to the customer
even the eastern church but three moments of love that they can come in different ordered now personal is taking on christian but you start with a attraction it might be thinking physical with my consensual might being intellectual at like the sphere
ritual there's something in that other the draws me the way of making draws male ah just it's not i choose to life the other it just or that's so and i'm already closer to for get any number of possible then if i
read a final personally for my own freedom from i will pondering and thinking about it that's the second moment on volition
and then all this is tending in a whole towards fruition that is the reciprocal response said about bob it is returned and that the full enjoyment of love whether it be a chai
child swab friendship long maternal paternal these three moments or in any kind of lot possible this is the pieces were going to throw but yet very keep what comes first and what's most important and what's less important i thought just the size of the
direct with volition rather small here at attraction fruition in the romantic tradition
attraction is very important i am just swept off my feet when that person you know swimming the birds were singing and the bells were ringing i couldn't help myself
you know i just that's the main thing and then again the hope is for full fruition she will love me in return and will be happily married ever after in separate center those are the two key moments the less this is there in a certain way the war
it's confirmed as wildly romantic above there's nothing i can do about it is this thing is greater than both of us kind of thing
now being the tragic
romantic tradition there isn't to from which you can't be
ah for wonder is maybe she's in married and do something so i pined away in my young unrequited love that's extremely moving and powerful there's all kinds of literature about this
or at the for wish com that's a happy romantic tale there's a hedonist kind of playboy philosophy variation on this i just want my pleasure and i i want to go with the yeah we said go with a folder fields could do it
in your thing and then the enjoyment and that's what i will it's just the whole package of pleasure
now that's all well and good it can lead into real dark stuff it can collapse when it happens if attraction is the foundation when to track with an attraction disappear
this is the great problem of romantic love
a hobby sad cases of the intense social or radek after neurotic of attraction serve serve a certain point of righteous collapse then what do we do
well it's all built on and you just don't worry what's all i can't help it it was there it's gone we can pretend that would be dishonest so i got to find someone else and yes this is built on rejection than were in real trouble i don't know how many of you know that book by john sir robert
chance we are romantic love you sis a great deal of romantic love is projection i s mail and repressing that honorable that feminine part of me and every now and then i discover another female and i can projected on her safely so she becomes this idea
youll oh so but i've been repressing it be and so it's wildly out of control because i'm not really in love with that flesh and both flesh and blood woman i'm in love with my projected i'm whether i'm trying to or deny but sooner or later it doesn't work out because i have to come to to
church with that flesh and blood woman than the whole thing collapses and i don't peripheral looking for another so use this fragile and a case might be built this is what of a resurgence of the fragility of our matter what your love et cetera it just doesn't work on very often
i think the archbishop of canterbury columbia the marriage of prince charles and princess diana a marriage made in heaven with the yourself storybook well unfortunately our it was a little too much this stuff and so it's gotten me into them on rocky areas
so what's in error the same is for christian though we start in a very different place and that place basically is christ's command you shall love what you feel like it or not whether you're attracted are not bump your enemy so it comes out of a command not just up
command the command
so we have to obey that's the foundation we have to obey him loving everyone always universally
and so that's a rather different kind of foundation to it as long as i'm going to just basically believe as christian i'm going to be committed to loving loving not as feeling great attraction for the other up admiring the other liking the other
but as this commitment to the good of the other this commitment to the final fruition in god the other that's what love is love of benevolence oh this is pure tourist or so too will have a good at the other is to be united with the a
other at this deepest level of the aspiration of the other one so we all wish this ultimate good whenever that be you might not be clear on that but this is what true but its foundation then i was ever to rather smaller they might be there they might not in love of the end
they're not they're least at the moment at least not in eight
jesus up with we're not judas comes up and kisses him there's no great it's done like jesus and john but jesus continues to love judas no matter
from the command and for god in god so it's quite a different dynamic now it's in this dynamic it were to understand love of self because god made me because god made also me i am image and likeness of god and my deepest level whatever i've done or
not to mention the question just as i'm to love everyone's whatever they don't we're not done
so these are the three and this many crucian we hope and pray will come at least in the kingdom and then it'll be full of the earth as lyrical passages about the kingdom is where there is full permission of love in mutuality of their everyone most everyone as
dearest most intimate friend and there for tracks will be
ah so that's that that might be reserved to the kingdom that might not be enjoyed in this life with several if it innocent enjoyed wonderful we don't deny that this is precisely use definition of friendship love friendship love is where there is the attraction and you mean into intellect
and spiritual to my also be physical and where there is to fruition in reciprocity and mutual support etc so we're not against these if they're they're all the better but we just don't they're not prerequisites to been happening here they are prerequisites and that's why
of the attraction is no longer there are fruition are everywhere you know you it's divorce court and to think or in the friendship thing we're in our relationship to god or r relationship to whatever our mom and dad et cetera is what do you think of it so sunnier better all of it is
health is an obstacle
clarification or reconfigure that is not your training and name but for any come best i don't think by some you feel i mean it's still a viable next with that they are
christian or non-christian no one ever does it really incidents a lot known as to love that
what is that what kind of on and this is appropriate he didn't want to week to others do i get aware of like a right comfort the courage to nine and the firehouse how often it you need diversion of magic of the i think about this theological you
oh and got the whole idea of love as willing the good of the other helps also for be very much fearing it could get into tough month for instance an apple thing and also in the first hour have a do there is ultimately it always desire to be because there's an attraction and will be always expecting something this is healing and with no expectation be out
wow that's it there's nothing to worry about you have to anticipate anything which is begin with it and they when it comes will be most of the those cases good and he's not expect when so i still have to do it because that or to any top i'm not young submit and in that right
commandments or vibration with that i think it's less that as this track and it's more peaceful it will help maintain the peace it's good versus the other one will be crazy distracted i think so this is built on the rock of christ's word curl bar i think makes a wonderful display
function between commandment and of law law is laid on us from without it can be arbitrary it's not this suited for are good with command comes from our loving god who made us so the command comes to us requiring our ascent but it's the law written in our hearts it's what
it is there their yeah so this is command in that sense and in that it's drop so as you say i don't know today this might be here tomorrow might not be here and be there i've always got to be placated they're the kind of fun but this also did the to our time point
invitation to both of last while else for me sell attraction comes from the other comes with natural we know if you feel that our home we are very in our life we can make a mistake and and fail we revealed and been comes from that at least you know that the beginning it's good and then whatever do it
later it's again us if we now not go and because the we all
shelving mean classes i think it's an extremely important insight into deeper it because god lays this command on was not an arbitrary way around of spike and boosters something the precisely out of love god's word comes to us as a word of low so it's this word of love
that is in us and enables us to above so this comes up with a final i think very theologically profound point you can we truly live in a christian way are a gawky love is god loving in and through us
so which then finally we could do it in a way that a trade center aren't even a three so we have a question era era come in for life i'm the the word volition to be trolling new say
we will never truly of filing you a good but
i just find it far more ambiguous and difficult from the date know
i am to look as other person there's an assumption here that you mentioned tough wow only i don't necessarily know the other person me
i used to work in a homeless
shelter and the conclusion of all those random shelter is that i should not give anything to people who are on the street
i should not do that and many nine percent of the time i'm feeding their addictions
right on the other hand here's a hand held out all the admonitions to come on give the gag order
now when i deal with students and school i don't always know what does the right thing to do much for choosing again i find
i find them there are times when i'd rather reactors let me get out of this i can't handle it's too much so i guess i'm fine i understand the distinction i think it's very thoughtful but the christian side was more difficult to live there is
just a gift for me in which in one way it's the most difficult of all it is the narrow way you just the way of the cross on the other side jesus as my yoke is easy it's a paradox it's the easiest to easiest because it's what we most yearn for that's what we've been created for it's difficult because we'd go
gotten so far from love regarding the specifics yes should you give to the person on the street who's asking with this enable them to live and just basic christian commitment of love where will they just use it for wines were you just feeding their addictions was as codependency and all those
this is not an easy solution of those questions and we can't presume infallibility or knowing at all in how to apply it but if your commitment is basically for the good of the other that will motivate you to try to explore it more and more to there is a distinction
between a person who is going to rush off and use it for liquor and another who isn't there are ways to make the gift so that it doesn't up food i know what new pisco a parachute the city they give food cooper a to just to make the point they want to give they want to sustain life we want to witness to christian love
but without getting caught in to patterns that are really destructive of the other so jesus sometimes is very severe with the pharisees and sadducees is he just lapsing into hatred thereafter preaching love so much or is it his way of trying to bake through all their elution and falseness
so that they can finally a guy and and live that is to say a lobbyist always sweet and kind and stroking love can be ferocious love can be a from shaking of the other etc but it it is it remains love when it's willing that the ultimate good of the other and good we might
blunder there but even if we blunder i think the other your tunes
when we really will for them and they don't require of us infallibility or rough omniscient see know so sooner or later we'll make our point which is the basic point more than even the hand out i think many street people on they just want the acknowledgement that they're human beings and that their affirmed in their yeah
manatee so we are i think here's a hand and then then yeah i lived well imply extreme i'm alicia off act
and either the support or author of thing
and other because as a question i i feel that those at the track and to ah are some way inspired by god that inspiration if fair at plant
this and my heart and then i move on and in some way that also me to buy ah
i found that the market opens me miles south where it is doubtful to r a fracture in look at out of me and that this love and point out my office the web traffic i
in my case i had my spouse and children but it was out to others because of this is actually of the
up a lot and a cat an individual which data linking up with a trash but i i
i was attacked with my husband at the age of or to now you can say well you know at definitely an actuation well
i feel at this time that it was really god's inspiration and lasted for thirty years it was not ah while you would call absolute perfection that certainly have ups and aspect all that out there was no i was all that was falling
live so our own volition
happy inspiration you know also as a christian yeah you need model has its limits etc so i think what it is wanting to get at at putting volition first is a maybe not even first in the order of things but first
first we would still yeah i'm kind of metaphysically are theologically but it might be the very same point you're trying to make that is a it's the key but i think you're making a very good point the attraction isn't necessarily a bad thing it's such as dirty thing or it can be extremely of inspired by god
the physical spiritual intellectual and in fact in the kind of friendship love era is talking about it's one of the great choice above the attraction to another and as you say pulls us out of ourself and pulls the side of narcissism etc so i i think your point there is very young he
portant attraction is good and of course fruition that's what the kingdom minutes began so yeah i think with a kind of augustinian sobriety a red suggesting any one of these steps can go very right or can go very long i can will loving in the raw
long way in an inappropriate way etc
i can be attracted for the wrong reasons i can enter into fruition the wrong which you saw that dark dark a series of a two films on canadian tv the boys st vincent
and it's about tuck orphans in a catholic orphanage and the religious brothers of are sexually abusing them
except for one brother but it's a whole problem of sexual abuse and it explores and or other deeper way also the whole psychology of one of the brothers who keeps insisting i love this boy
well you're certainly attraction there and for the brother there's a kind of a fruition for the boy it's traumatic they're certainly volition
the young brother goes after this thing with a up and he fights off the cops and the and the church investigators etc so now love when it goes bad is perhaps some one of the darkest of things there's a on roman phrase or coops
he hoped to be guests or something for corruption of the best is the very worst so that's that's the only point that tongue one of the point superior it is wanting to say be careful with this above think certainly be careful with attraction be careful with volition and fruition any one of these can lead right to the
depths of fun or kinds of abuse etc or j simpson case whatever happened there was some kind of very intense some stuff happening but i like your pointed on the other hand attraction can be god inspired and sustained as can fruition and so in other way she couldn't put vote
lycian at the centre right of them kind of holding it all together and it always needs reduction because my volition his always go
i can never see the whole can never have utter purity and it gets
now we're limit to one thing i think his limits just aren't human limitation that's not serving a bad thing i don't see the whole oh my god sees the whole but then the other thing is there can sin can enter into this thing darkly they've always done
we have some hands here i am i tend to feel it when you start with a religion expanding with a promise of i'm doing this because cause cognitive and my american tradition that command that doing something and other calls it was sometimes out
and restricted but i i really feel that in working with use my have apartments and also allow how i feel office this person that person being so change that it's not the premise for me i think it's good an attraction and else to ethernet but it
you must around coalition that militia got first write a play with foliage than your
you really now i think itself
focus down one not really is our or aren't or are really center yourself enough to really well right now and i know and i just feel that there's there's a right now are a lot of just go much feel or feels good as right and a kind of throwing up omission on the
let's say you know what your are saying well what's your mindset to and that's pretty to together and which one should we start off from
yeah if there's no volition if there's which is coming out of freedom i think catholic theology would say there's no human act therefore a human it's constrained might be constrained by my just a desires and arrows etc of but the more profound the love the more profoundly three idiot
it's i think that's a deep insight not again denying attraction but somehow i got to claim this and so i think that's another reason that tunnel eric pursuit first and then we'll really comes from polish one from attraction because i can say i liked perfect moment personal and i you know i don't want
to person or whatever own volition it's almost like i am gone up his personal and i had to hang around and i like them but there is a kind of a sense of focus in my life words by going out of traction there a real have realized the beauty that thing is none of that alpha we might turn off the tee
cheap now so they touch and will continue with our disk
okay i'm in terms of human growth this can be seen it should be sued i think it's a dynamic as stages at center one way to trace it is it terms of human love and i think father from their st bernard as a wonderful are tracing of this precisely as the
moving from love of the other for myself
to the capacity to love the other for the other that's a real breakthrough and then to love god for myself i can't get along in this world without some big got up there to defend me and give me what i need but in moments of deep communion with god i'm kind of bowled over by the
intuition this god is lovable as god and as i move into that intuition then love truly matures into a guppy love which is not just the other for myself very self interested in sentra but the other for the other and god for god that's
also the think so that's the deeper volition
and even to love of bernard's says the final stage to love myself for god to love
this is the final stage of a guppy love
but we begin where we have done it with need love is it's sometimes called are very self interested love that's legitimate says bernard i've got to love the other for what the other can do for me the mother feeds me keeps me warm the father sports etc of that's okay and the ah
father was just filled with petitions we ask all kinds of things from god but as we grow again in this love we realize that it can free us from this continued turning back into the self interest concern
do know
i have something
or gay
unless we really experience love both from other people niche
in that especially directly from god
oh it's interesting that paul's as was learns that some of you seem not to know got all this means extermination
oh and i seem to change
if we're really experienced god's love filled with that we can come to a point where we cannot not look
the so this is where contemplative prayer comes in all these and contemplative prayer is just very fancy words for my entering into some kind of communion with god that is experiential and that frees me up from this kind of addiction to self interest
and that can be transforming and should be transforming it's a knowing god in this deeper way and at that point them so at its best contemplative prayer isn't just self interest and i want all kinds of an exotic spirits
jewel our functions etc but it's to teach me the ultimate truth about things so that i will be able to live the truth of things which is this communion of love it's in this sense i think that famous phrase of wagner ios that the truth theologian is the one who prays the person
to the praise as the to theologian it's to see the final wisdom of god experientially and then to live it
okay i guess return to have think we'll go back and forth with this