St. Paul has this to say about love (charity):
- 1 Cor 13:1-13
If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels,
but have not love,
I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.
If I have the gift of prophecy
and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge,
and if I have a faith that can move mountains,
but have not love, I am nothing.
If I give all I possess to the poor
and surrender my body to the flames,
but have not love, I gain nothing.
Love is patient,
love is kind.
It does not envy,
it does not boast,
it is not proud.
It is not rude,
it is not self-seeking,
it is not easily angered,
it keeps no record of wrongs.
Love does not delight in evil
but rejoices with the truth.
It always protects,
Love never fails.
But where there are prophecies, they will cease;
where there are tongues, they will be stilled;
where there is knowledge, it will pass away.
For we know in part and we prophesy in part,
but when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears.
When I was a child,
I talked like a child,
I thought like a child,
I reasoned like a child.
When I became a man,
I put childish ways behind me.
Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror;
then we shall see face to face.
Now I know in part;
then I shall know fully,
even as I am fully known.
And now these three remain:
faith, hope and love.
But the greatest of these is love.
I love this passage (note: pun), and it's one of the reasons I cannot consign St. Paul to Gnostic Hell. It's beautiful, for it shows why we fall in love, and why human love changes and falls apart.
I believe that God is Love, that the Ground of All Being, at the heart of everything, that joins everything together, is that Love. It is eternal.
When we fall in love, we peel away the veils of the world, the constructions we've built, the defenses we've put up, and we see reality for what it is: Love. We see it surrounding us and filling us and pervading us in a way we don't normally. We are vulnerable, we are trusting, and we hope in the protection of the love we see and feel and experience and do.
When relationships end, we lose sight of that reality. We close our eyes, or we turn away from it, and focus on something else: pain, sorrow, darkness, fear. And it's especially hard when one part of the relationship stays focused on the reality of love, and the other part turns away. The love is still there, it just can't be seen, sensed, felt. The veil has dropped in front of our eyes, and again we are blind.
We see only in part. We are unable to know and to speak of the enormity of love, to express it with our finite material form as best we can. To love in the face of pain, in the face of rejection, in the face of fear: that is what saints are made of. They glimpse the whole, and try to express it with their whole being.
Most of us only glimpse that whole with one other person. Some lucky few glimpse it with more, either their family, or their friends, or their lovers. The more people we involve, the easier it is to get distracted, to lose sight of the fact that all people are joined, pervaded by that spirit of Love, that all of us contain that divine spark. So often we focus on the external, and not the eternal.
It is my hope that someday, we shall all fully know the Love that is the Father, the Ground of All Being, the Divine. I hope the Kingdom of God can be made manifest here, and we can strip away the structures and veils that obscure our view of the source of all. For now, I am content with my glimpses, my interactions with the divine here in the World of Forms. Even though they are temporary, they are Eternal.