Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Separation, Faith, and Love

Christians often lament that we are “far from the home we love,” that is far from eternal unity with God. My question for you is this: Are you ready for that eternity, and if not, how will you become ready? The answer must, of course be, by means of life here and now. Primarily, I am thinking about the nature of physical and perceptual separation and how this plays into Love.

One of the classic clichés is that “distance makes the heart grow fonder.” Thought of practically, this is of course true, for any relationship which lasts a prolonged separation of persons comes out with a special bond. I think of those I know who dated with great success while in college away from their beloved and see now the fruits of their labor shown forth in multifarious expositions of compassion. Even a negative weasel like me finds great solace in seeing this kind of actualized love.

Well, if this is the case for physical separation on Earth, how much greater the case must be in the separation of God from his creation. If undertaken with the proper disposition of the heart, the striving of creation for the Creator is much more intense than any interpersonal love between separated humans. Faith is intense when an employer hires a new employee, even if that person has impressive credentials. How much more so is Faith expressed in those persons who believe in an unseen Creator who nonetheless is involved in the world and who has come to the world in the form of a man?

It doesn’t stop at Faith, though, for Love and Faith are interlocked. Love requires faith in the beloved, it requires a trust in the reciprocity of their love. Since Faith is much greater in that which is neither seen nor experienced directly, Love abounds as well. This distance, because of the great amount of Faith which it requires, enables the greatest amount of Love. The world becomes the “training ground” of the soul by making it truly pine for the Living God beyond all else; it trains us to seek God first with an intense love. While this love may require amelioration in the afterlife, its beginning in this life most definitely prepares the human for an eternal beatific vision.

Of course, this post can’t end there, for we have ended up speaking of Faith and Love; Hope too must enter. “Faith is the realization of what is hoped for and evidence of things not seen” (Heb. 11:1). Faith is the realization of hope in another, a choice for an unknown hoped-for. Hope moves to Faith and Faith to Love, and Love is what remains as the center of all our activity. We walk in Hope and in Faith of a better tomorrow, but it is the journey of Faith today that makes that better tomorrow of True Love possible.

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