Struggle to Perfect Your Loves, Do Not Struggle Against Them

Struggle to Perfect Your Loves, Do Not Struggle Against Them August 8, 2016

I’ve learned that you don’t have to justify your loves. Our Lord loves the things that you love even more than you do. If you see something good in creation, in that moment you are seeing just a little of what God sees. If petting a cat or giving him a bowl of kibble is not enough; if you feel called to take the cat in and pamper him, you feel the way God does about cats. If you get excited about horses and want to see them every day of your life, then you’ve glimpsed how God feels about horses. God has gazed with fascination at horses from before the first moment horses existed, and if horses come to be extinct God will weep for them. If you love novels like the The Hunger Games or The Lord of the Rings, you can rest assured that God loves novels as well. He loves novels so much that He created people who would feel compelled to write them. If you like to go to the movies, know that God enjoys movies so much He created actors and cinematographers and directors. He created light, among other reasons, so that we could project it at a screen and make movies.

And, of course, as you love these wonderful things, you’ll find ways that all these things teach you about God. Of course a good movie is “so Catholic.” “Catholic” means “universal,” and good works of art teach us about the universe we live in. God made all of creation to point back to Him. Cats and ponies and books about elves sing of the Glory of God. When you love them, you begin to hear the song. And, of course, you’ll find ways to love your neighbor and obey the commandments through the things that you love. God designed the universe this way deliberately. When you make good art, you heal your audience and teach them truths. When you care for stray cats and find them homes, you give comfort and companionship to people who love cats. When you care for horses, you’ll be able to bring therapy ponies to the sick, or work at a summer camp for underprivileged youth. It all comes round to the Glory of God, if you love.

It’s not that you don’t have to struggle, but you don’t have to struggle against your loves to force them to lead you to God. God made you, with all of your loves, to bring you safely to Him. You are not a mistake. You’re supposed to be this way. In our fallen state, we often love things the wrong way– not too much, because love is always gratuitous and lavish or it isn’t love; but in the wrong way, in a way tainted by selfishness, greed or myopia. That’s the sin known as “love of worldly things.” It’s not love that’s wrong, but permitting the love to be imperfect, disordered and acted upon wrongly.  As you find selfishness ruining your love, repent and cast selfishness aside. As you find myopia constricting your love, repent, and let your boundaries expand. As you find greed ruining your love, repent and let yourself be generous. Keep returning to God to purify your love, but don’t stop loving. Love isn’t the problem.

There is no need to justify love. Love is the just response to a universe so beautiful. God made this place on purpose because He loves it more than you do, and He loves you that much more, because He gave it to you. Love is to be perfected and expanded, not explained with embarrassment. Love is the point.

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