Loving God: September 2002 Archives

Loving Love from Nicholas of


Loving Love

from Nicholas of Cusa
But to love Christ most ardently is to hasten toward him by spiritual movement, for he is not only lovable but is love itself. When by the steps of love the spirit hastens to love itself, it is engulfed in love itself not temporally but above all time and all worldly movement.

Love of God is entry into the eternal. We pass from the linear, temporal movement into eternity when we abandon ourselves entirely to God. Abandoning to God means entering Love. To do so means leaving the self behind in a radical way. We cannot enter Love wrapped with all the things normally use to protect ourselves. Among these are the masks, the lies, the stories we tell about ourselves. These must be purified and burned away. The last vestige of them must be eradicated. The Holy Spirit within works with each of us to purify and refine. Trials, temptations, adversity, turmoils, and all manner of difficulties prove us. They transform us (if we are faithful) gradually into the image of Love--for only Love can enter Love. This indeed is the principle of purgatory--nothing "unclean", nothing that is not pure Love can enter heaven because it would be destroyed and with it the soul that bears that impurity. It is not a punishment, but a spiritual law. So, in our earthly lives, we need to recognize and embrace the trials sent us--they are the gifts God has seen fit to give us to make us more like Him. When we do so we being to live a mysterious life of grace. The world is transformed (more accurately our ability to perceive is transformed) and suddenly, we can see God in places where we would never have thought to look for Him. St. Francis saw Him in nature and the world around Him. Mother Teresa recognized Him within the persons of the impoverished and dying. This gift is the gift of eternity, of heaven on Earth, of love and transformation, and of enthusiastic service of God toward our fellow human beings. This gift is, as Ms. Knapp so aptly described the other day, "The Pearl of Great Price" which once purchased does not count what was spent, but merely exults in the magnificence and beauty of the Pearl.

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Mere Surfaces and Sensations


or What Would You Expect from a Carmelite Follower of St. John of the Cross? :-) [Do these blogs have smileys?]
Luis remarks in the comment box below:

We need not apologize that we have a body or throw away its usefulness in pointing to THE Beauty. Just as creation points to our God, let our churches do so, while understanding of course that beauty is in the eye of the beholder to some extent.

My thanks to Luis who has given me the chance and the impetus to clarify my thoughts. I just realized looking over the original what I seem to saying is not what I intended. I was trying to gently say that it is perhaps better not to criticize buildings that do not suit our taste. I apologize for the misunderstanding. Obviously the original context and the language caused me to be overly vague. I do not think that everything should be ugly to accentuate worship, and reading my post, it certainly does sound like that was what I was saying. Once again, my apologies form misspeaking. My point here is a good deal more subtle than the overly blunt language makes it. I was trying, without faulting anyone, to say that we do everyone a disservice when we emphasize aesthetics over Real Presence. Many people are stuck with the Church they have, there is no real viable alternative for them. How are they helped if their Church is held up as an example of an "unfortunate Church?"

There is absolutely nothing wrong with beauty in a worship space. There is nothing wrong with building beautiful churches. I do, however, find something wrong with posting pictures of "unfortunate churches" or "ugly churches." Comments on the aesthetic merit of any edifice can potentially distract the faithful from the most beautiful thing of all--what happens within the building. Beauty is wonderful if it is available, but if not, do we build up the Body of Christ by pointing out how ugly we deem the Church some must go to?

Thanks to Luis and my anonymous poster for pointing out how much my previous post had missed the real point I was trying to make. I do not think, however that I will change either the post below nor the one on Ms. Welborn's blog, as I don't really want to criticize anyone in so many words. I just abjure all to remember that every such comment does potential damage to large numbers of people, and it isn't really worth it.

(On the other hand, I stand by the orginal post. St. John of the Cross teaches that a thing is good insofar as it leads to God and that even a very good, very holy, very religious thing becomes destructive when it stands in the way of our progress toward union. If the appearance of a Church becomes a true impediment to Union with Jesus Christ, it is time to examine priorities. But then--I am a Carmelite and not everyone follows the same way--it is a distinctive mark of Carmelite Spirituality. God Bless you all!)

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About this Archive

This page is a archive of entries in the Loving God category from September 2002.

Loving God: August 2002 is the previous archive.

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