Sunday, May 16, 2010

The School of Love & Other Essays, May 16


[continued from yesterday]

...And lastly, when the spirit is moved to act, to give itself for something noble, to follow the light, to do that which is in itself worth doing, then let it go.

Do not hesitate: do not keep it in fetters; do not too much count the cost; do not tremble at the danger; or if you do, for you cannot always help it, set your teeth and step forward.
"He that putteth his hand to the plough and looketh back, is not worthy of me."
These are the exercises by which the power to love may be developed. On such ground, under such training, love will grow; of that you need not doubt. For the germ of love is in every human heart; the pity of it is that in some it is nipped and frost-bitten before it has had time to come to maturity.

But foster the spark and it will enkindle. At first it will thrill you with its glow. You will know it by its heat, by the ease with which it aids you to face a trouble, by the joy you find in doing. But later, be prepa~red for sacrifice.

When the flower has bloomed and the fruit is setting, then, gardeners tell us, is the time of trial. When you have made a certain way, and you have laughed and sung along the road, then will love begin to lead through darker ways, and whither you would not; it will ask of you surrenders for which you had not bargained.

It will disappoint you; it will fail to recognise you when you come face to face; it wi1l leave your noblest actions unrequited, the noblest powers of your soul undeveloped.

It will misinterpret your best motives, will envy your worthiest deeds, will crush you with sarcasm, will embitter you with mistrust, and suspicion, and dislike, and an assumption of contempt.

At critical moments it will turn its back upon you, will ignore you when you are down, if you appeal for help will cry out against you. It will see you wounded on the road and pass you by; crucified, and say it was only your desert; dripping your life's blood out, and coldly wait the end.

And then, when it has killed you, then you will come to know.
"He that loses his life for my sake shall find it."
When it has purified you, when there is left not a spark of that mean thing self, when you no longer look for relief, for consolation, for comfort, but only for strength to go on, then will come the revelation.

Then you will know that which, by any other training, eye can never see, nor ear hear, nor can it enter into the heart of man to conceive.

[This is the conclusion of this book.]
From The School of Love and Other Essays
by The Most Reverend Alban Goodier, S.J.
Burns, Oates, & Washburn, Ltd. 1918

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