THE SCHOOL OF LOVE
[continued from yesterday]
...Yes, as we have already said, when we look at love aright we see that to love demands great courage.
To love perfectly is the greatest heroism; even lesser heroism is what it is because of the love that inspires it.
There is something terrible in love. It is exacting, it is almost merciless; it will have the whole or nothing; above all it will have no rapine in the holocaust; it wilI abide no giving with one hand, and taking back with the other.
If you would love well and deeply you must be prepared to lose; to "lay down your life for your friend"; and to lay down if need be everything that is of less moment than life.
What in matter of fact you may be asked for you do not know. It may be the laying down of life; it may be the taking of it up. It may be the torture of wounds; it may perhaps be the greater torture of ministering to the wounds of others. It may be action, it may be its opposite, inaction and endurance.
"Those also serve who only stand and wait." But undoubtedly it will be something, and you will not be consulted as to what it shall be.
Does the prospect appal you?
If it does, very well; but be assured there is no other road to the real understanding of love. If it does not, if in spite of the dread there is still hope and courage, if you can still say that love can find strength to do whatever love may demand, if you would know by experience the meaning of love, then make your preparations.
Put a check upon self-seeking, on self-gratification, on looking for self-reward, and you have cleared the ground.
Be led by something more than mere argument, mere reasoning of your own, that dead and fallacious thing that is the offspring of man's short sight; see without turning aside, submit to without drawing back, be guided by without flinching, the compe11ing force of truth in itself, of nobility in itself, of beauty in itseH, of goodness in itself, wherever these may be found....
From The School of Love and Other Essays
by The Most Reverend Alban Goodier, S.J.
Burns, Oates, & Washburn, Ltd. 1918