Love Walks on Two Legs


But let's get back to love. Love walks on two legs. It needs both--will and feeling. They are not always operating. Just as when you take a step both feet are not simultaneously on the ground, so it may be with love. There are times when both are operative, but more often one or the other aspect predominates. For some, love hops around on one leg--will. There is a distrust of the emotional world, of the dimension that really is the consolation of God that helps to feed and "restock" the will. Love that seeks to operate on will alone will soon run dry. The emotion is the lubricant, rather like the fluid in the knee that keeps the joint moving smoothly--it is critically necessary. But we must also acknowledge that too much fluid is also a bad thing, the knee swells up and ceases to operate well.

Love as a human faculty has these two equally important, mutually intertwined branches. They feed each other, will and emotion. If I will someone good, the emotion will tend to fall in line. If I like someone, I am inclined to will good things for them.

Likewise, we do not say that God is will, we say that He is love. Nevertheless, God is His will just as He is His love. In God they know separation or boundary, but in humanity they do. Indeed, even in the spiritual world apart from God, they must know division or a fall from grace would not be possible.

Love walks on two legs, which like all legs, are a gift from God. The will is strengthened by the grace that is partially expressed in the consolation of emotion. We can will to love what we are not attracted to, but this will is a feeble thing and only held in place by His overwhelming grace and favor. Likewise, emotion fades, and without the will to hold us steady to the course our "love" becomes nothing more than our lust.

When we say God is Love, we must also acknowledge that God is Justice, Mercy, Prudence, Temperance, Grace, Kindness, Will, etc. etc., no part separate from any other nor extricable from it. Nevertheless, God sanctified the divided human person when He took human form and deigned to experience and participate in the full spectrum of what it meant to be human. And this means love--emotion and will, will and emotion, the two bringing to fullness the greatest of the three theological virtues.

Love is patient (will--to wait), love is kind (emotion--meeting the needs of another with empathy for the situation). . .

More later as I can think more about it, but I'm sure you're all tired by now. Hope I can make it to sentence two of the encyclical. But if not, it has already proven a great gift for me.

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This page contains a single entry by Steven Riddle published on January 26, 2006 7:13 PM.

Love is Patient. . . was the previous entry in this blog.

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