When we are encountered with love, bodily love from one another, it has all the power in the world to undo us. It has all the power to reorient the world we find ourselves in, and this is the great scandal, that such a love is not mere emotionalism when engaged in with the power of the gospel, it is a scandalous awakening that might actually liberate us from the broken and empty troughs we call nourishments of love.
Christ meets us in these moments, gets between us and our addictions to emptiness, and even might tear us away from them. He establishes himself as Lord of the Void and makes his power known through our own suffering in the face of the glimpses we have of true glory.
This is why we must hate mother and father, brother and sister, because only if we can learn to love the Love itself will we be able to return to them changed, able to reorient them as well. Love is not merely a force of acceptance, and that’s the problem with much Christian imagination today, the love that is conceived is a tolerating love. The love of the gospel does not tolerate, it conquers, but it conquers lovingly.
When we encounter bodily love, the beauty of it has all the power to lead us to the gospel if we are looking. But we must be looking for Christ. Prompted by the Spirit, beauty itself is a true witness of the gospel once true beauty shows us the height of humanity’s experience. However it is a twofold motion that necessarily leads us back to the debased emptiness of everything that has gone before. Our own ugliness and that of our neighbors, when compared to the glory of what we now know. Beauty as Beauty, the Beauty of each other in Christ is unmasking, it shows us the emptiness, but recapitulates it with new life and meaning sub specie Christis. Beauty that does not create within us a peculiar repentance and poverty of spirit is not true beauty.
When we receive love, we are being broken of all the selfishness we’d like to have thought was love all along.
Personal note: Today, I recognized my own broken state. The emptiness of everything that has come before. I was pierced with the arrow of beauty, the first and chosen weapon in God’s arsenal to pierce the darkness that enslaves us. Today I met my own impoverished state, starving for love, empty and broken, and with the help of another’s love, was picked up by that moment, and elevated to the creaturely position that The Father desires for all his children.
Today I was pierced with the arrow of unconditional beauty, and it drew me into itself, prying me violently away from everything i thought was right and placing me at the feet of my Lord, staring up at his broken form I once again kissed the bleeding feet, beheld the broken hands, saw the crucified God and was raptured by the power of his grace.
The weak and the strong, everyone is an experience of the pure gift that is God’s good creation FOR US. Ad nostrum. It is created towards us and we are created towards it. Self-absorption is the opposite of bodily worship, community, sharing, and exposing ourselves in truth and trust to another is right and necessary worship. Community isn’t just a liturgical preference, togetherness is not merely a life style, it is life in the gospel.
In moments of pure charity, we know that there is a God, in discerning his form we are brought only to Christ, and nowhere else, because only this crucifixion and resurrection makes sense of the glory which we have seen and heard. We can only but speak about which we have seen, and we must have seen this Jesus, or we have not seen at all.
In short, Love is the only power, which by the crucified Jesus overturns not only my soul, my experience, but entire kingdoms and power structures. Receiving love is not just an act of gratitude, it is foundational to discipleship.