12 October 2005

Love's Object

Lately I have been walking a lot in my neighborhood. When I walk I think and pray, so in this time of both rest and confusion, I have covered a lot of miles on the city sidewalks. I was at house church tonight and someone prayed that we remember to "put on the garments of praise." I have been chewing on the phrase for a while, and I think one tiny aspect of putting on my garment of praise includes the simple but profound act of acknowledging who I am to God. I plan on taking that concept--putting on the garment of praise-- with me when I walk and seeing what it looks like in afternoon light. In the meantime, these words remind me again how only in God's love can I see myself and the world around me for what they truly are.

"Love is the revelation of our deepest personal meaning, value, and identity. But this revelation remains impossible as long as we are the prisoner of our own egoism. I cannot find myself in myself, but only in another.

My true meaning and worth are shown to me not in my estimate of myself, but in the eyes of the one who loves me; and that one must love me as I am, with my faults and limitations, revealing to me the truth that these faults and limitations cannot destroy my worth in their eyes; and that I am therefore valuable as a person, in spite of my shortcomings, in spite of the imperfections of my exterior ā€˜package.ā€™ The package is totally unimportant.

What matters is this infinitely precious message which I can discover only in my love for another person. And this message, this secret, is not fully revealed to me unless at the same time I am able to see and understand the mysterious and unique worth of the one I love."

From Love and Living, by Thomas Merton


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