THE SCHOOL OF LOVE
[continued from yesterday]
...Such is a loving nature, as it comes from the hand of God: the development of that nature is the meaning of this life. It may be cultivated and fostered so that it may become capable of ever more and more; it may be clipped and dwarfed so that in the end it droops into a pitiable weed; it may be grown on artificial lines, pruned into a caricature of nature, so that it develops like those box-wood or yew-tree imitations of birds, or animals, or chairs, which in an artificial age were once thought to be beautiful.
And if it may be cultivated, then obviously it will be along the three lines which have been already pointed out. If true love is disinterested, then he who would cultivate the power of loving will cultivate disinterestedness.
If true love is moved by strong emotion, then the devotee of love will let himself be drawn by emotion as well as by reason, however much reason may hold the reins; will not submit to be imprisoned in his own shallow argumentation narrowed down by his own blinking vision; will overleap himself in his esteem of and longing for objects more precious than himself.
Lastly, and consequently, the man who would truly love, and know to the full what it means, will beware of that timid limping thing which sometimes parades, and hides its littleness, under the name of prudence. He will have a large horizon, reaching out beyond the range of life. He will learn the art of giving, with a hand outspread, as if all he had were but for this purpose. He will live with a large and unflinching generosity, revelling in the freedom from pettiness of whatever kind, "envying not, dealing not perversely, seeking not his own," but always "rejoicing with the truth."
This is the atmosphere in which love grows.
In the same way may I test and examine such degree of love as I possess; for little as it is, that it is none I will not allow. St. Teresa once described hell as "the place where there is no love"; and in spite of all its miseries my soul has not yet come to that.
Crawling and bleeding though it be from many wounds, there is yet life in it; and if life, then love.
But has that love grown straight or crooked?
Is it growing straight or crooked now?
Is it wholly true, or is it partly true and partly false?
And if the latter, is the false so growing on the true that the flower is becoming blighted, the fruit rotting at the core, however fair it may seem without?
Let us see....
From The School of Love and Other Essays
by The Most Reverend Alban Goodier, S.J.
Burns, Oates, & Washburn, Ltd. 1918