Do not say
“I love her for her smile—her look—her way
Of speaking gently,—for a trick of thought
That falls in well with mine, and certes brought
A sense of pleasant ease on such a day”—
For these things in themselves, Beloved, may
Be changed, or change for thee,—and love, so wrought,
May be unwrought so.
Elizabeth Barrett Browning was right: our hearts long for this kind of love—beyond looks, qualities, attributes, smiles, dimples, and pleasantries. We long for a love that embraces our very existence: that no matter what happens I’m a necessary part of someone else’s world—a part that they can’t live without. This is the love that gets Moses up “early in the morning” (Ex 34:4). Indeed, it is the love that keeps us up late and gets us up early: “My soul has yearned for you in the night, and as morning breaks I watch for your coming” (Antiphon from Morning Prayer, Week 3).
Wonder and Awe
Adam discovers this wondrous love at the creation of Eve: “This one, at last, is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh”! (Gen. 2:23). It’s not about the right qualities: Adam finally sees in Eve one whom he can give his heart to and who can give her heart in return. Adam exclaims, “This one, at last”!—“Of all the things that arouse wonder, love is the most wondrous” (Called to Love, 61). She is his equal, but they are more than just equal partners. In their mutual gift of one to the other, Adam and Eve each discover their own identity: “She will be called woman (’issa), because from man (’is) she has been taken” (Gen. 2:23).
Because God is Real
Moses speaks with wonder about the reality of this Love: “Ask now…Did anything so great ever happen before? Was it ever heard of? Did a people ever hear the voice of God…and live? Or did any god venture to go and take a nation for himself…by signs and wonders…which the LORD…did…before your very eyes? All this you were allowed to see that you might know the LORD is God and there is no other.” (Dt.4:32-35, emphasis mine). Moses saw this wondrous love in signs and wonders, but we have touched God incarnate: More than Adam or Moses could have asked or imagined, God Himself has become bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh! And we are filled with wonder at God’s most merciful coming.
To say, ‘I believe in the Trinity,’ is to believe that solitude is neither where we come from, nor loneliness where we are going. In Jesus we discover that self-giving Love is our origin and our destiny: “by sending his only Son and the Spirit of Love in the fullness of time, God has revealed his innermost secret: God himself is an eternal exchange of love, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and he has destined us to share in that exchange,” to share in that Love (CCC 221). When Jesus took flesh and then sent the Holy Spirit upon us through the Sacraments He plunged us into the inmost Love of the Trinity.
Fr. Peter John Cameron, OP, writes, “Our misery arises when we live without a love strong enough to justify our existence no matter how much pain and limitation go along with it. What our heart is crying out for is a true companion in whose love we experience how truly necessary and invaluable our existence is.” In Jesus’ Love, in His Sacred Heart, we find a doorway into the fiery Love of the Trinity where His Heart reaches out to ours: I have created you for Myself, and My Heart is restless until your heart rests in Mine.