Tuesday, April 25, 2017

stars that do not give a damn

There are no events but thoughts and the heart's hard turning, the heart's slow learning where to love and whom. The rest is merely gossip, and tales for other times.
--Annie Dillard, Holy the Firm

How should we like it were stars to burn
With a passion for us we could not return?
If equal affection cannot be,
Let the more loving one be me.
--W.H. Auden, The More Loving One

I wonder if, perhaps, our experiences of unrequited love, our all-too-frequent relationships of imbalanced affection, one-way intimacy, disproportionate vulnerability exist to give us just the slightestoh just the slimmest glimmerinto the mystery of Divine love.

How can we fathom the infinite slights Infinite Love receives from an endless stream of souls?

We cannot. Indeed, to grasp that we have crucified Love, we have nailed him to a cross, he bleeds from wounds inflicted by our selves is to begin to understand Him as victim. He stands not in solidarity with our wounds, inflicted by our own egos, a comfortable medic to salve our own pain; rather, our wounds give us an entryway into his. His cross does not transfigure our cross, our crosses allow us to experience the transfiguration of His.

The cross, as Rowan Williams imagines it, stands over and against us. It calls us to understand ourselves as oppressors, and all those who we hurt throughout our lives as Christ crucified. Our victims (and oh they are many) are the Crucified One, we the crucifiers, the deserters, the deniers. Who are we but Peter, whose reconciliation with the Risen Lord takes place in deep, intimate quiet of extra-canonical silence. Resurrection calls to us, the guiltyguilty of all before allbut forgiven. Christ crucified returns to us, Resurrected, and does not expunge the wounds we scarred into his side does not imagine them erasedbut incorporates them into His new life. Our guilt is not denied, but is forgiven.

I do not know what forgiveness looks like, it baffles my imagination. How can I comprehend it when it is rendered in such a mighty image? Forgiveness is ugly marks of torture still stamped on Risen Body, not erased, but glorified. Such victory tramples my weak understanding.

This God, this being of pure love who extends into the world, the God who has bound the divine self so intimately into creation, has experienced, since the beginning of creation, nothing but rejection. Even with those who love God more than I could ever dream of love with a love that is far from mutual. Our love is always lagging behind, our gift of self is always less than God's, our generosity in time, self, love, heart is miserly compared to the Divine's. Our love is response, not initiation, it is remuneration, not altruism, our love is a gift given, needy, dependent on the giver to provide the gift.

Perhaps even our own broken, selfish loves tawdry, typical, and patheticcan teach us something about the love that burns and moves the sun and stars. Our self-absorption, crucified, frees us to shout at the indifferent stars the credo of Beatrice love on, we will requite thee.

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