Loving produces love

This is a meditation from the Russian book, “Day by Day”. Amazingly similar thoughts by Lewis follow:

Scripture: “Above all, have a fervent love for one another” (1 Peter: 4,8)

Meditation:

“God’s love, as a perfect love, leads us to the highest good and desires for us the achievement of the goal which God indicates.

And so, this is the type of love that St. Peter speaks of, calling it ‘fervent’, calling us to grow in it, i.e. calling for its development in ourselves. A fervent love is sincere, constant, never-tiring, irrepressible, a love which is ‘patient, not irritable, does not demand its own way, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance’ (1 Corinthians, 13: 5-7). Christian love is not the love of an idealist or a philosophical theory – it is reality, and life must be permeated with it, not only emotionally, but in action. And how can we grow in love? It is impossible to force it. On the contrary, force only kills love. Love, just like inspiration, is not something that we can summon into being: it comes from OUTSIDE, i.e. from above. But let us remember that if the way of love is still not open to us, the way of obedience to God is open to us, and love is often achieved through this. The Lord, in His infinite mercy, has created human nature in such a way that when a person fulfills an obligation out of conviction, emotion also arises within. If we don’t have a warm feeling, let’s not wait for it to arise: let’s do what love urges us to do even without the feeling, and a cold heart will become softer and warmer because of our actions. How often it happens that when we help our neighbor, we begin to feel compassion for him; and in time compassion becomes heartfelt attachment!

The healing of the man with the withered hand that we read of in the gospel (Luke: 6,10) gives us a vivid example of this. Christ told the handicapped man to stretch out his hand while it was still withered, and when he faithfully stretched it out, immobile and withered, he was cured.

So let us stretch out our withered heart to Christ, let us obediently serve if we do not have love as yet – and love will come.”

And this is what Lewis writes in Mere Christianity (III, 9 (Charity)):

“… though natural likings should normally be encouraged, it would be quite wrong to think that the way to become charitable is to sit trying to manufacture affectionate feelings. Some people are “cold” by temperament; that may be a misfortune for them, but it is no more a sin than having a bad digestion is a sin; and it does not cut them out from the chance, or excuse them from the duty, of learning charity. The rule for all of us is perfectly simple. Do not waste time bothering whether you “love”
your neighbour; act as if you did. As soon as we do this we find one of the great secrets. When you are behaving as if you loved someone, you will presently come to love him.”

Dimitry

“Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. Love does not demand its own way. Love is not irritable, and it keeps no record of when it has been wronged. It is never glad about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance. Love will last forever.” (1 Corinthians 13: 4-8)

A few decades ago, thinking on the concept of love that is genuine and biblical, I arrived at a definition of love that identifies it as the adoption of a personal value that the one loved is of greater worth than oneself. When that value becomes the basis for behavior we see the fruit of love.

dzarechnak
March 28

This is a meditation from the Russian book, “Day by Day”. Amazingly similar thoughts by Lewis follow:

Scripture: “Above all, have a fervent love for one another” (1 Peter: 4,8)

Meditation:

“God’s love, as a perfect love, leads us to the highest good and desires for us the achievement of the goal which God indicates.

And so, this is the type of love that St. Peter speaks of, calling it ‘fervent’, calling us to grow in it, i.e. calling for its development in ourselves. A fervent love is sincere, constant, never-tiring, irrepressible, a love which is ‘patient, not irritable, does not demand its own way, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance’ (1 Corinthians, 13: 5-7). Christian love is not the love of an idealist or a philosophical theory – it is reality, and life must be permeated with it, not only emotionally, but in action. And how can we grow in love? It is impossible to force it. On the contrary, force only kills love. Love, just like inspiration, is not something that we can summon into being: it comes from OUTSIDE, i.e. from above. But let us remember that if the way of love is still not open to us, the way of obedience to God is open to us, and love is often achieved through this. The Lord, in His infinite mercy, has created human nature in such a way that when a person fulfills an obligation out of conviction, emotion also arises within. If we don’t have a warm feeling, let’s not wait for it to arise: let’s do what love urges us to do even without the feeling, and a cold heart will become softer and warmer because of our actions. How often it happens that when we help our neighbor, we begin to feel compassion for him; and in time compassion becomes heartfelt attachment!

The healing of the man with the withered hand that we read of in the gospel (Luke: 6,10) gives us a vivid example of this. Christ told the handicapped man to stretch out his hand while it was still withered, and when he faithfully stretched it out, immobile and withered, he was cured.

So let us stretch out our withered heart to Christ, let us obediently serve if we do not have love as yet – and love will come.”

And this is what Lewis writes in Mere Christianity (III, 9 (Charity)):

“… though natural likings should normally be encouraged, it would be quite wrong to think that the way to become charitable is to sit trying to manufacture affectionate feelings. Some people are “cold” by temperament; that may be a misfortune for them, but it is no more a sin than having a bad digestion is a sin; and it does not cut them out from the chance, or excuse them from the duty, of learning charity. The rule for all of us is perfectly simple. Do not waste time bothering whether you “love”
your neighbour; act as if you did. As soon as we do this we find one of the great secrets. When you are behaving as if you loved someone, you will presently come to love him.”

Dimitry

“Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. Love does not demand its own way. Love is not irritable, and it keeps no record of when it has been wronged. It is never glad about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance. Love will last forever.” (1 Corinthians 13: 4-8)