Violence and Love in the Church

It is possible to name violence only when one has an understanding of the good. The spiritually mature person will take the role of one who causes pain when he understands that such pain is necessary for growth. The mystic Saint John of the Cross wrote of this pain:

Why, since you wounded
this heart, don't you heal it?

Yet the figure in his poem, a bride awaiting her bridegroom (echoing the Song of Songs), understands on some level that the pain is necessary:

the sickness of love
is not cured
except by your very presence and image

It is the pain of love; or rather, the pain caused when one loses something she believes to be love. One feels a wretched absence, a vacuum. Hearing "no" from the Church can feel like a kind of violence, especially in matters of sex which seem to be about love. Yet love can flourish only when one freely chooses to remove facsimiles of love. One must undergo the pain of absence, the pain of the hollow ground before the new seed is planted.

Love can grow only after one feels the pain of loneliness, and sees in the other the opportunity to heal each other's loneliness. The real violence is to care not at all for those whose loneliness remains because of a lack of love.

6/6/2011 4:00:00 AM