An Interesting Description of the


An Interesting Description of the Movements of Love

In Spiritual Combat Revisited Jonathan Robinson treats us to this rather interesting description of the movements of love. As background, first one must know that the object one seeks does indeed exist and then :

from Spiritual Combat Revisited Jonathan Robinson

In the tradition with which Scupoli is working, the slaking of the man's thirst has three aspects. The thirsty man, let us call him Tom Jones, is struck, in the first place, by an experience that is partly intellectual and partly emotional, in that he badly wants a glass of beer; for the time being anyway, there exists a natural affinity between Tom Jones, who is thirsty, and the glass of beer. He is apt to say: "I would love a glass of beer." So St. Thomas says that the first effect produced in Tom Jones is love, "which is simply a feeling of an object's attractiveness." This experience gives rise to a movement toward the object that we call desire. The desire is not for an idea of the beer, but for a real drink, and so Tom has actually to get hold of the beer. Perhaps he only has to go to the refrigerator; perhaps he has to go to a nearby town; but in any case he has to go out toward the beer in the real world. As St. Thomas puts it: The desire moves toward the object "with the purpose of actually possessing it." Finally he slakes his thirst by drinking the beer, by actually uniting himself with what he desired, and so the desire finally "comes to rest in joy."

We have then three aspects or stages: Tom is struck, sometimes very sharply and in an overwhelming way, with the fact that a drink of beer is what he wants; this deep awareness, or the "experiencing of a natural affinity," as Gilson puts it, leads him to say he would love a glass of beer, and he shows he is serious about this love by actually taking steps to obtain the beer; finally he is united to the object of his love, in this case, the beer, by actually drinking it.

The love of God, even when all the proper qualifications and distinctions are made, follows this model. (p. 38-39)

A strange and wonderful thing--likening the individual's love of God to his pursuit of beer. And more wonderful and strange yet what comes next. If you've the opportunity, this might be a good book to pick up.

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This page contains a single entry by Steven Riddle published on May 12, 2003 8:05 AM.

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