A month-long series on Cultivating Sanctuary.
What inexpressible joy for me, to look up through the apple-blossoms and the fluttering leaves, and to see God’s love there; to listen to the thrush that has built her nest among them, and to feel God’s love, who cares for the birds, in every note that swells her little throat; to look beyond to the bright blue depths of the sky, and feel they are a canopy of blessing–the roof of the house of my Father; that if clouds pass over it, it is the unchangeable light they veil; that, even when the day itself passes, I shall see that the night itself only unveils new worlds of light; and to know that if I could unwrap fold after fold of God’s universe, I should only unfold more and more blessing, and see deeper and deeper into the love which is at the heart of all. – Elizabeth Charles (1828-1896), English poet and author, from Daily Strength for Daily Needs
To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact you must give it to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements. Lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket, safe, dark, motionless, airless, it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. To love is to be vulnerable…The only place outside Heaven where you can be perfectly safe from all the dangers and perturbations of love is Hell. – C.S. Lewis (1898-1963), medieval scholar, author, theologian, from
Let us speak then of love. What does it mean to “love” something? If a man asks a woman…”do you love me?” and if, after a long and awkward pause and considerable deliberation, she replies with wrinkled brow, “well, up to a certain point, under certain conditions, and to a certain extent,” then we can be sure that whatever it is she feels for this poor fellow it is not love and this relationship is not going to work out. For if love is the measure, the only measure of love is love without measure. One of the ideas behind “love” is that it represents a giving without holding back, an “unconditional” commitment, which marks love with a certain excess…Love is not a bargain, but unconditional giving; it is not an investment, but a commitment come what may. Lovers are people who exceed their duty, who look around for ways to do more than is required of them. – John Caputo (b.1940), philosopher theologian, from On Religion