Adventures of the Mind
To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything, and your heart will certainly be wrung and possibly be broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact, you must give your heart to no one, not even to 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. The alternative to tragedy, or at least to the risk of tragedy, is damnation. The only place outside Heaven where you can be perfectly safe from all the dangers and perturbations of love is Hell.
The doctrine that God was under no necessity to create is not a piece of dry scholastic speculation. It is essential. Without it we can hardly avoid the conception of what I can only call a ‘managerial’ God; a Being whose function or nature is to ‘run’ the universe, who stands to it as a headmaster to a school or a hotelier to a hotel. But to be sovereign of the universe is no great matter to God. In Himself he is Sovereign of a far greater realm...
... God, who needs nothing, loves into existence wholly superfluous creatures in order that He may love and perfect them. He creates the universe, already foreseeing – or should we say ‘seeing’? there are no tenses in God – the buzzing cloud of flies about the cross, the flayed back pressed against the uneven stake, the nails driven through the mesial nerves, the repeated incipient suffocation as the body droops, the repeated torture of back and arms as it is time after time, for breath’s sake, hitched up. If I may dare the biological image, God is a ‘host’ who deliberately creates His own parasites; causes us to be that we may exploit and ‘take advantage of Him. Herein is love. This is the diagram of Love Himself, the inventor of all loves.
Reading 'The Four Loves' by C S Lewis has certainly been a worthwhile adventure of the mind. In it he tackles Affection, Friendship, Eros (ie being 'in love') and Charity (ie divine love) He also separates loves into two, 'need love' and 'gift love'. The concluding lesson learnt for me is that the natural loves of affection, friendship and Eros, cannot sustain themselves, they will sooner or later fade and die without at least an occasional dose of charity, whether we acknowledge it as divine or not. The book was published in 1960, the year his wife Joy died form cancer.