Of Love

We like lists.

Here’s one.

Love is a song
Love is the greatest song
Love is integral
Love is alive
Love is gospel
Love is power
Love is work
Love is desire and fulfillment
Love is suffering
Love is free
Love is true to reality
Love is accurate
Love is simple
Love is individual
Love is a surprise
Love is fearless
Love is exchange of selves
Love is triumphalistic
Love is natural
Love is faithful
Love is ready
Love is all-inclusive
Love is “sexist”
Love is as strong as death

The list is from Three Philosophies of Life, by Peter Kreeft. It’s the parts, each 1-2 pages long, from the book’s chapter on Life as Love. The three chapters are

Life as Vanity
Life as Suffering
Life as Love

and correspond to the wisdom literature

Ecclesiastes
Job
Song of Songs

as well as Dante

Hell
Purgatory
Heaven

among other things. One of Kreeft’s gifts is to show how ideas connect across ages and across philosophies. One of his other gifts is to write about them succinctly, confidently, and lyrically. The book is a short and awesome read.

Here is the list, as I rewrote it in short paragraph form.

Love is a song. In fact, it’s the greatest song. It is a song in dialogue, and all of its parts work together in harmony. This makes it alive, which is good news. A living thing that is good and powerful, but that requires work. There is something we want in it, and love can provide it, but it will require work, and suffering, lots of suffering. Lots of suffering. We choose this in accord with reality, and with seeing things well and rightly.

It’s not, despite the song, complicated. Simply focus on the one individual — God, M, etc. — and be so strong and brave. You will have to be courageous. The results will be a surprise (the good kind). This is true for both parties — both of the individuals — for it is an exchange of selves — God, M, etc. They are doing the same thing you are doing.

Triumph! It’s a celebration! This is where life is, and where we should be. Love must be trusted; faith is central to love, and we cannot divide ourselves in it. Love is ready to do good and right, and so must encompass everything. Love is roles, proportion, and it outlives death.

Of course all of this supposes at least a decent and reasonable understanding of love to begin with — it’s not a feeling, for instance, as it is commanded, and you can’t command a feeling. Feelings are usually one part, both prior and later, of love. But love is not, cannot be, just feeling.

And it also asserts love as how it actually is in goodness, beauty, and truth — and so, how it should be in practice. Our results may vary. And if they do, perhaps our plan is not working. Or we’re doing it wrong.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recent

Can We Tawk?

Comedienne Joan Rivers’ catchphrase was, ‘Can we talk?’ with all that that entails — its rhetorical nature, the Jewish thing, an implication that at least one of the parties will be better off for having done so … Like God. T’other day a priest spoke of ontological remembrance, the immediate and ongoing memory of past-present-future

Read More »

Hide and See

Something lost, Dallas Willard said once, might yet be very valuable. One’s car keys for instance. He was speaking somewhat in the context of salvation, if I recall … the general point was calling something lost doesn’t mean it’s not wanted — quite the opposite. Yet it remains … until finding its way out or being found

Read More »

Greater Love Blah Blah Blah

Do we doubt locals thanked them for their service? I’m not equating the two. They were wrong; glad we crushed them. Only noting it’s likely they thought as much about such things as we do, which is to say not much. German citizens who believed their leaders, loved their country, watched their sons get on

Read More »

Dark Eyed Life

According to @CitizenScreen, doing yeoman’s* work daily on Twitter* relative to the Golden Age of film, today is the birth date of Mabel Normand, Hedy Lamarr, and Dorothy Dandridge — Normand: New York, 1892 Lamarr: Vienna, 1914 Dandridge: Cleveland, 1922 — which makes for coupla at least interesting, if not compelling or fascinating at the

Read More »

Random

Bread

“We’re sorry,” said the man, pointing. “We ain’t much here.” The woman, they guessed his wife by the way she puttered around, doing many small things but nothing really, was shaking her head. The two were indicating the table, which indeed was sparse: bread of some kind, though it looked fresh baked at least, with

Read More »

Dark Eyed Life

According to @CitizenScreen, doing yeoman’s* work daily on Twitter* relative to the Golden Age of film, today is the birth date of Mabel Normand, Hedy Lamarr, and Dorothy Dandridge — Normand: New York, 1892 Lamarr: Vienna, 1914 Dandridge: Cleveland, 1922 — which makes for coupla at least interesting, if not compelling or fascinating at the

Read More »

One Question, Two Answers

How to be really great Your life will be immeasurably great — incalculably awesome — if you put others in place of … you.  We will be great if we put others before us.  That is, if we put them first. One week at church, a pastor culled some points from a book on Christian

Read More »

Related

Trouble and Strife

Septic tank is Cockney rhyming slang for “Yank” which may suggest what trouble and strife is slang for. But it’s not fair of course, and good men, and most men some of the time, know she’s not only that. Upon noting once how, yes, “children are a bother,” Dallas Willard made the important philosophical distinction

Read More »

Pieta

I don’t think next year will be so different from this year. Which after all was not so different from the one before. But I think you can be different from last year and I can. Which after all may be true for you as it was also for me.

Read More »

For M

The great story is the search by the lover for the beloved. I love M. I am in love with M. [angry as well; in love and in pain, simul.] To love as Christ loves. (ask, seek, knock). God pursues. Christ stands. Spirit groans. I am he. I seek her even if she will not

Read More »

Subjective, Objective

The other day I wrote on a wing and a whim … and misremembering. Or as Prufrock put it, quoting Woman — That is not it at all, That is not what I meant, at all. Nearly nothing I recalled happened in that way. Except of course the recalling. And a bit more. Wasn’t a

Read More »