Existence and Love

“What matters to us, beyond mere existence, is the explicit confirmation: It is good that you exist; how wonderful that you are! In other words, what we need over and above sheer existence is: to be loved by another prerson. That is an astonishing fact when we consider it closely. Being created by God actually does not suffice, it would seem; the fact of creation needs continuation and perfection by the creative power of human love” (Faith, Hope, Love, p. 174).

Love and Creation

“It is God who in the act of creation anticipated all conceivable human love and said: I will you to be; it is good, “very good” (Gen 1:31), that you exist. He has already infused everything that human beings can love and affirm, goodness along with existence, and that means lovability and affirmability. Human love, therefore, is by its nature and must inevitably be always an imitation and a kind of repetition of this perfected and, in the exact sense of the word, creative love of God” (Faith, Hope, Love, p. 171).

“Love” and “Like”

“‘Love’ includes and is based upon a preexistent relation between the lover and the beloved; that, in other words, no one could love anyone or anything were not the world, in a manner hard to put into words, a single reality and one that can be experienced as fundamentally characterized by unity–a world in which all beings at bottom are related to one another and from their very origins exist in a relationship of real correspondence to one another. In short, we are confirmed in our sensing that love not only yields and creates unity but also that its premise is unity” (Faith, Hope, Love, p. 159).

Eros and Plato

“Eros: this Greek word, which has been taken into all European languages, is far more ambiguous than it is usually represented to be. From even a casual reading of the Platonic dioalogues, we begin to see how wide its range of meaning is. Affection kindled by physical beauty; intoxicated god-sent madness (theia mania); the impulse to philosophical contemplation of the world and existence; the exaltation that went with the contemplation of divine beauty–Plato calls all these things ‘eros'” (Faith, Hope, Love, p. 155-156).

Acedia

“One of the most central concepts from the moral philosophy of the High Middle Ages is that of acedia, which we, very ambiguously and mistakenly, are accustomed to translate as “laziness”. Acedia, however, means this: that man denies his effective assent to his true essence, that he closes himself to the demand that arises from his own dignity, that he is not inclined to claim for himself the grandeur that is imposed on him with his essence’s God-given nobility of being” (A Brief Reader on the Virtues of the Human Heart, p. 51).

Creatureliness, despair and Hope

“For man who, in statu viatoris, in the state of being on the way, experiences the essential creatureliness, the “not yet really existing being” of his existence, there is only one appropriate answer to this experience. The answer cannot be despair–for the meaning of creaturely existence is not nothingness but rather is being, which means fulfillment. The response also cannot be the comfortable security of possessions–for the creature’s “being as becoming” still borders in peril on nothingness. Both of these, despair and assurance of possession, militate against the truth of real things. The only answer that is suitable for man’s authentic existential situation is hope. The virtue of hope is the first appropriate virtue of the status viatoris; it is the genuine virtue of the “not yet”. In the virtue of hope, before all others, man understands and affirms that he is a creature, a creation of God” (A Brief Reader on the Virtues of the Human Heart, p. 47-48).