Thomas Merton on Loving Neighbor, Loving Truth

It is clear, then, that to love others well we must first love the truth. And since love is a matter of practical and concrete human relations, the truth we must love when we love our brothers is not mere abstract speculation… The truth we must love in loving our brothers is the concrete destiny and sanctity that are willed for them by the love of God. One who really loves another is not moved merely by the desire to see him contented and healthy and prosperous in this world. Love cannot be satisfied with anything so incomplete. If I am to love my brother, I must enter deep into the mystery of God’s love for him. -Thomas Merton, No Man is an Island, p. 7

I think what struck me most about this passage was: The truth we must love in loving our brothers is the concrete destiny and sanctity that are willed for them by the love of God

Love hopes for resurrection, reconciliation and redemption, elsewise it is not love. There are many affections which paint us with rose colored glasses, but anything shy of a love that hopes for resurrection and redemption and reconciliation, is lust.

Love with rose colored glasses is lust. Christian love, true love, hopes for the end redemption and an eschatological awakening of love and perfection in the beloved already today. Namely, love desires justification in anticipation of final salvation.

When we love, it is with this in mind, or it is not love. When we love, it is with our actions geared towards this particular single focal point, or else it is not love. Romance is beautiful but it too must be shaped and guided by this if it is to remain faithful. There is no more important love than the love that is faithful to God and neighbor. It is only with this love that we love Truth and thus truly love.

To modify Merton, Love that does not enter into the deep mystery of God’s Trinitarian love for all creation is no love at all.

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