Happy Feast of Saint Valentine to you all! A few apropos words on love by my valentine, Jurgie:
Love is the self-communication of the good. It is the power of good to go out of itself, to enter into other being, to participate in other being, and to give itself for other being. If we interpret love as the passionate self-communication of the good, then we have distinguished it plainly enough from destructive passions. Love wants to live and to give life. It wants to open up the freedom to live. That is why love is the self-communication of the good without self-renunciation, and the self-giving of the good without self-dissolution.
Those of you die-hard Moltmanniacs know that he bases much of his theology on the divine sharing love of the Trinity and the perichoretic dance that happens in this mutual self-communication. In this, the love of God, Jesus and Spirit not only sustain one another, but go out of themselves toward all of creation. The love of God participates in the world, and in our own lives specifically, because that’s what the self-communication of the good does. It is the power of good to go out of itself, because love’s purpose is to live and to give life.
I attended morning chapel with my 1st grader this morning, and of course the topic was love. The chaplain described the idea of paying it forward by drawing on a white board with a line of hearts fanning further and further out, to explain how even our smallest acts of love carry very big things inside of them. This is, in six and seven year old terms, what Moltmann is telling us as well. Love pays it forward, because love’s very purpose is to carry that big force inside of it out towards others, seeking to live and to give life. It reminds me of Mother Teresa’s well-known words of wisdom: “In this life we cannot do great things. We can only do small things with great love.” On a day when we could easily get lost in the saccharin and trite definitions of love’s sentimentality, may we be reminded of the power to change the world hiding in even our smallest acts of love.