How to Truly Love Another

As a person delves into the mystery of the spiritual life, there are signposts and friendly faces from the past and the present that direct our journey with hints and riddles and a different language…The language of love.  When the Holy Spirit burns within a person, that flame produces pure beauty.  Sometimes it is an act of love, sometimes it is finally understanding something through the eyes of God and with a clean heart, sometimes it comes out in song, in poetry, and of course writing.  When I first read the following work by Thomas Merton, it completely caught me by surprise.  The reading is difficult at times and you have to immerse yourself into it to really grasp it.  But in some cases, Merton’s voice (an inspired voice) comes through with such clarity that it echos in the deepest part of a Christian.  All the lessons on love in Scripture, all the commandments to love, and the spiritual hints throughout Christ’s teaching become more alive when seen through the lens of Thomas Merton.  Here is an excerpt from Chapter One of “No Man is an Island”:

Love Can Be Kept Only By Being Given Away

“There is a false and momentary happiness in self-satisfaction, but it always leads to sorrow because it narrows and deadens our spirit.  True happiness is found in unselfish love, a love which increases in proportion as it is shared.  There is no end to the sharing of love, and, therefore, the potential happiness of such love is without limit.  Infinite sharing is the law of God’s inner life.  He has made the sharing of ourselves the law of our own being, so that it is in loving others that we best love ourselves

The gift of love is the gift of the power and the capacity to love, and, therefore, to give love with full effect is also to receive it.  So, love can only be kept by being given away, and it can only be given perfectly when it is also received…

If I am to love my brother, I must somehow enter deep into the mystery of God’s love for him.  I must be moved not only by human sympathy but by that divine sympathy which is revealed to us in Jesus and which enriches our own lives by the outpouring of the Holy Spirit in our hearts.

The truth I love in loving my brother cannot be something merely philosophical and abstract.  It must be at the same time supernatural and concrete, practical and alive.  And I mean these words in no metaphorical sense.  The truth I must love in my brother is God Himself, living in him.  I must seek the life of the Spirit of God breathing in him.  And I can only discern and follow that mysterious life by the action of the same Holy Spirit living and acting in the depths of my own heart…

Perfect charity gives supreme praise to the liberty of God.  It recognizes His power to give Himself to those who love Him purely without violating the purity of their love.  More than that:  selfless charity, by receiving from God the gift of Himself, becomes able, by that fact alone, to love with perfect purity.  For God Himself creates the purity and the love of those who love Him and one another with perfect charity.

His charity must not be represented as hunger.  It is the banquet of the Kingdom of Heaven, to which many were invited by the great King.  Many could not come to the banquet because they desired something beyond it, something for themselves-a farm, a wife, a yoke of oxen.  They did not know that if they had sought first the banquet and the Kingdom they would have received everything else besides.”

When I was a young Christian, I could not understand how I could possibly follow the “love your enemy” and the “love your neighbor” commandments.  How could I “muster up” enough love inside of myself to pull that off?  At one point along the way I realized a great truth:  I cannot.  But as I sought the Lord and His presence, I found that love…as a free gift!  I know now that we must come to the well and be filled to capacity, and then that overflowing of God’s love for us pours into the lives of others without prejudice.  It is an incredible design.  My prayer is that more people come to the well, and learn what love really is directly from the source…Let Him teach us how to love by filling us until we overflow.  The “living waters” are for real!  Come taste…

God bless you all!

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5 thoughts on “How to Truly Love Another

  1. Thanks for the post. There is a great book by Tim Chester “A Meal with Jesus” which is a study of Luke and shows how Jesus used hospitality as a very practical way of demonstrating that love for others.

    • Thank you sir for the tip…I’m always looking for good books about the Good Book! My favorite book about love for others is “No Greater Love” by Mother Teresa. She sees “Christ in a disturbing disguise” in people who are destitute and seemingly hopeless…ironically, she thinks that we in the West with our spiritual poverty have a much more complex problem than actually dealing with physical poverty! Shameful, don’t you think? With our “easy” lives, we get lulled to sleep by the melody of comfort and “armchair Christianity”: quick to point fingers and slow to go into motion…but alas, I think we are getting ready for a revival in this country…I am praying hard for it and want to be part of it! God bless you.

  2. Keep allowing Him to use you. If you know your writings are through God’s communication with you, don’t worry about offending others.

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