by Michael Maciel
I like the part in 1 Corinthians where Paul says that without love, nothing we do means anything.
He goes on to list certain goal-based achievements:
Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.
And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing.
And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing. 1 Corinthians 13:1-3
Now, to me, this says that love is the essential ingredient. It’s like salt in bread. But have you ever tried to make bread without salt? It’s almost inedible.
So, saying that without salt, bread is nothing is not the same as saying we should only eat salt.
Love is the primary ingredient in all of our endeavors, but it’s only one ingredient, not the whole loaf. It qualifies our intention and endorses our achievements. But it should never keep us from having a vision or stand in the way of our efforts to achieve it. Love is in everything (or should be) but it’s not all there is.
In mystical Christianity, we say that the Christ Being—the Logos—has three aspects: Light, Life, and Love.
Light, by its very nature, makes things visible. It also reveals that which was hidden, such as our biases and suppressed memories. In that way, we could call it “truth”—the truth of what is.
Life is the power of God moving through all of creation. It is vitality. It is also the will to live.
And love is the connection that makes it possible for all three aspects to exist. Remove any one of the three, and the whole thing collapses.
Vision, intention connection.
Idea, will, action.
The Thing Itself, how It works, and what It does.
There’s no question that the world is in serious need of a shot in the arm—a hefty dose of love. But the lack of love, which has reached epidemic proportions, could be attributable to a lack of light and life. After all, there’s a reason why the Trinity is symbolized by an equilateral triangle. All three elements, distinct as they are, are nevertheless tied to each other. They are inseparable. Increase the potentiality of one and you increase it in the other two. Decrease it in one (or two) and you weaken them all.
The problem isn’t with love itself but with our tendency to turn it into sentimentality or an affectation. That’s a human error that has nothing to do with love. But that’s why love must be balanced with vision—a goal, a purpose, a raison d’être.”
Where there is no vision, the people perish. Proverbs 29:18
But unless love characterizes both the motivation and the intention, the vision will lead to death. Loveless visions always require wholesale slaughter as their means to an end.
Love feels good. But sometimes it doesn’t. Sometimes, the feel-good part has to take a backseat to necessity. We have to delay the gratification that love provides in the moment so that it can survive into the future.
And, it’s important to remember that love without light can quickly become cruel. It will ruthlessly defend its own. Because when there is no light, your own is all you can see. In the absence of light, love’s diameter grows increasingly smaller until it has nothing left to devour but itself.
So, that’s the challenge for love’s champions—to make the diameter of their love as wide as possible, to increase it until it encompasses everyone, not just their own.
You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust. For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? Do not even the publicans the same? And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? Do not even the publicans so? Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect. Matthew 5:43-48