If you look at popular novels, at gossip magazines, at syrupy soap operas and movies, you come away with the impression that falling in love is something that just happens. Here you are, sauntering down Fourth Street minding your own business, when suddenly you spy a certain someone coming out of a shop and you fall in love as if into a manhole. True love is much harder to come by than that.
The mystics are the world’s authorities on love. When Saint Teresa says “Amor saca amor,” she is giving us the basic principle: “Love begets love.” One of the most beautiful things about love is that even today it cannot be purchased. It cannot be stolen, it cannot be ransomed, it cannot be cajoled, it cannot be seduced. Amor saca amor: only genuine love begets love.
All of us have been conditioned, even though we may not put it in such crass terms, to believe that if you love me six units, I should love you at most six units in return. I can feel secure in loving you six units because you have already committed yourself that far. But if you get annoyed with me and stomp out, slamming the door, I should get annoyed in return – and pull back, at least temporarily, my six units of love. This is the type of bargain that more and more so-called lovers strike today. Saint Teresa would say uncompromisingly, “Don’t pretend that this is love. It falls more accurately under the heading of commerce.” Shakespeare put the matter in perfect perspective: “Call it not love that changeth.”
Saturday, July 5, 2008
St. Teresa of Avila on love
I think one of the most painful things that can possibly happen to a person is to have a beloved's love change, stop, go away, simply not be there any more. This happens with humans - all too often. Not with God. Not with God. God's love never changes. It is always reliable, always passionate, always utter, total, accepting.