Declarations of love for everyone are a bluff. To love Everyman, an abstraction, is akin to loving no one. In our heart of hearts, we concede we cannot love anyone we do not know.
Love of neighbor binds us in kindliness to certain others. First among them are individuals we live among. These are family, followed by persons we abide with in friendship, encounter in daily life, greet in passing, conduct business with. St. Paul places “those who belong to the family of believers” (Gal. Continue Reading
This post will keep its titular promise. But first, a personal note.
My blog has been silent for a while. Crisis in a family shutters engagement with the world outside. It blocks the view of everything foreign to the suffering of our beloveds. The news cycle evaporates; external claims on our attention shrivel. Neither national politics, cultural disintegration, nor Vatican intrigues count a whit. No matter whether the ones we love are endangered by illness, accident, or the incoherences of their own souls, nothing counts except their well-being. Continue Reading
My confession finished, I waited for my penance and the sweet sound of the ancient formula, “Ego te absolvo.” There was a brief silence on the other side of the screen. Then came: “Is that all?” It was a practical question, a commonplace prod to swing open some door I might I have left shut. But in that instant, on that day, the brevity of it struck me differently. Why so brusque? Almost curt. Had my confession bored the man?
That must be it, I thought. Continue Reading
I do not like thee, Dr. Fell,
The reason why, I cannot tell;
But this I know, and know full well,
I do not like thee, Dr. Fell.
—Nursery Rhyme c. 1860
We are enjoined to love one another. Thankfully, we are not commanded to like each other. Loving and liking are quite different orders of response. One abides; the other shifts about, subject to the weather of our lives and changing as we change.
It is only romance that is blind; love, not all. Continue Reading