“Love alone is capable of uniting living beings in such a way as to complete and fulfill them, for it alone takes them and joins them by what is deepest in themselves. All we need is to imagine our ability to love developing until it embraces the totality of men and the earth.”
– Pierre Teilhard de Chardin
So what links us to God is love. I should remember that when I feel shut off from Him or from others. But the act of genuine love is perhaps the most healing force that exists, and thus it is simultaneously the act which brings us closest to God.
Thich Nhat Hanh reminds us to always be careful and aware of how we are loving. In Peace is Every Step, he sums this up beautifully.
“We really have to understand the person we want to love. If our love is only a will to possess, it is not love. If we only think of ourselves, if we only know our own needs and ignore the needs of the other person, we cannot love. We must look deeply in order to see and understand the needs, aspirations, and suffering of the person we love. This is the ground of real love. You cannot resist loving another person when you really understand him or her.
From time to time, sit close to the one you love, hold his or her hand, and ask, ‘Darling, do I understand you enough? Or am I making you suffer? Please tell me so that I can learn to love you properly. I don’t want to make you suffer, and if I do so because of my ignorance, please tell me so that I can love you better, so that you can be happy.'”
We must ask ourselves if the way we are loving is the way the other person wants to be loved or simply the way we want to love the other person. To make this distinction is to separate true love from false love.
Of course, when we are genuinely and authentically loving ourselves, others or God, we will surely know it, for it is a feeling of wholeness that resounds loudly throughout our being. Pure love will resonate with all beings who surround us. The effect on self and others is quite real and dramatic, as we are lifted up inside. It is physically noticeable as we become aglow with Spirit. The glow of love and the glow of God are inseparable. It is the same glow. And once we find it, we must work tirelessly to cultivate this ability, and to be able to access it at will.
Truly, it is my capacity and ability to love that will save me. To turn away from love is to turn away from God. Boy, do I need to work on that. Addicts are sabotage artists, and we will destroy anything in our way for no apparent reason at all. This is why bad, chronic addicts really don’t get better and stay better unless we remain close to God, which means action and love. This is about so much more than our brain disease, our physical illness of addiction. The majority of our problem is most certainly spiritual, and without spiritual principles, without love, and without God we are truly lost.
God, please teach me to expand my capacity to love, and in doing so remain close to You…