Fatal Kisses and Final
To One Contemplating
of us at some point in life have seriously contemplated or even attempted
this occurs when love has failed. Our love — and being loved —
invests us with a sense of worth, value, beauty — in many ways it revealed
to us the necessity, the immense value of our being, at least to the
beloved who, in their love for us, gave us tangible meaning. We are
told that we are loved. We are told that we are needed
— even necessary to them, at least in the way of their happiness. This
confers a tremendous sense of value upon us. Whatever the world may
think of us, however little it may esteem us ... we have value and beauty
in the eyes of the beloved! We need nothing more. Our life becomes,
in a sense, complete because it becomes meaningful and valuable.
life. Is not God Himself Love? Is He Himself not Life? Take away love
and you take away life. It is a simple, if sometimes brutal equation.
One can be alive but experience nothing
of life; in which case we live posthumously: life itself, seemingly,
had been interred when love had been buried, but in a paradox we cannot
grasp, we yet live on — exsanguinated, a pallid and perfunctory semblance
of something that once was and is no more. We lose our authenticity,
our sense of being real because the most vital part of that reality
— being loved — has been taken from us ... buried and forgotten
by all ... but us.
We stand endlessly at the grave mourning the life we
lost ... and it was our own.
We are both mourner and the mourned. The living and
the dead. What was and is no more.
Is it any wonder that the world spins about us senselessly,
without meaning, purpose, the possibility of fulfillment (“of what?”,
The same love that gave us life is the love that now
slays us. Bringing us life, in leaving it left us with death.
We begin to understand the tremendous responsibility
inherent in loving; that love, because it is life, will also and equally
be the harbinger of death. Instinctively we recognize the fatality,
the mortality, involved in loving ... even as it brings life and meaning,
purpose and value.
What it can invest us with, we realize, it can also
deprive us of. We are vulnerable before it. In embracing it we as surely
embrace death because we have embraced life. Despite our best
efforts we remain deeply aware of final things and the inevitable, ineluctable,
end of all things, whether we will it or not.
It is beyond us; once we have embraced it we have embraced
the potential of our extinction through it.
How simple it would be to say that we suffer because
we have loved neither wisely nor well.
What lover loves wisely? Can we mete out love that is
susceptible of measure, such that it suffices to have been measured
Who measures love is not worthy of it.
The Call to Acceptance
Clearly, then no one allows love to go uncontended. We strive, beg,
plead to keep it, for it is keeping life itself. Unwilling to accept
the death of love, three responses are open to us:
We can live in the past. It is partly true, for
it had been; but it is far more true that it is no more.
We can expunge the past by joining our life to the
love that is no more, and thus bury both, the mourner and the mourned,
make the living like unto the dead, for what is dead no longer knows
can turn to God ... and make of our suffering something good, even
Not prepared to moved beyond ourselves
and our confinement to a past that would keep us as lifeless as the
dead love we grieve, we cease to be, choosing to have been,
instead; to have been loved, happy, valued, wanted, needed.
It is a consolation as shallow as the grave into which our love had
Unable to destroy our
love, we propose to destroy ourselves.
The two are inseparable ...
or are they?
A metamorphosis begins. We had
been one with the beloved, but the beloved is one with us no more. We
are still invested in them, even as they have divested themselves of
us. Soon our loss of love acquires a greater scourge still: it begins
to share in the contempt of the beloved for us. We see ourselves
as unlovable, for they had deemed us so — and we had become so much
at one with them in our love, as to even now share in their own contempt
Ever seeing the world through the eyes of the beloved, we behold
ourselves as we imagine them to behold us. Unworthy. Without value.
Unneeded. Unnecessary. Elsewise would they have left? And so we heap
ignominy on our pain. Guilt, regret, confusion, blame, all come cascading
down upon us ... and we wither beneath the burden of shame, collapse
under the onus of two-fold pain: the loss of love and the loathing of
the self that somehow survived the loss of life that went with the loss
of love. If we are fortunate, this will culminate in either a burgeoning
anger or the humility of acceptance.
If we are not, it may culminate
in our own death, and by our own hand. This must never be.
There are two paths open to you: either despair or indignation.
concurs with the assessment of the erstwhile
beloved ... that has become your own: you are worthless.
Holy indignation categorically disagrees.
God created you good and He created you for a reason. Your deepest
instincts tell you this. Listen to them! They were given you by God,
as surely as He had given you aversion to pain. Perhaps you had been
loved before. Most assuredly you will be loved again and by another.
Why? You are intrinsically loveable. Were you not you would
never have been loved, and even were you never loved by man, by woman,
you have ever been loved by God, by His Holy Mother, by the Angels and
the Saints. This is no small love. You need only look at a Crucifix
to realize just how much you are loved by at least One ... and all who
are gathered in Him.
So, holy indignation ensues: you contend in your heart against the
heart of who loves you no more. Against the cruel pronouncement, "you
are not worthy", you reply in mighty indignation — the indignation that
comes from a son or daughter of God Himself — “I am
worthy!” This is not just your pronouncement, it
You begin to see that, whatever the cause of the loss of that love,
it is not a loss of yourself, of your dignity, of your worth. It does
not diminish your value. It cannot, for your value is not radicated
in one person only, no matter how much you love them and would that
you were loved by them. One has ceased to love you. Have all else? And
were all others to cease loving you, still you would be unspeakably
loved by God Himself, and it is a love before which all other loves
pale — as one day you will see. But not now. Not this day. Not here.
If still you wish to linger on the lie of despair, if still the bouquet
of death is fragrant to you and not fraught with corruption, take comfort
in knowing it awaits you yet ... but not in the manner, nor at the hour,
of your own choosing. Your life was not yours to give. It is not yours
to take. Life is conferred by God for a purpose that may now, at the
moment, be utterly opaque to you — but this is certain: it is
inexorably bound up with the lives of others, those you know and those
whom will come to know. The warp and weave of this multiplicitous fabric
of life is a golden skein of many crossings that you cannot now begin
to grasp, and to what extent you will never comprehend in this life.
It is too vast — and you are literally a vital part of
Give to God what is His ... your very life! Do not throw it under
the feet of false lovers who will trample it remorselessly, and with
what astounding resolution! It would leave you breathless. God Alone
is the absolutely faithful Lover of your life and your being — Him from
Whom it comes and to whence it goes. You are His far more than ever
you were another’s.
Do not squander your life on promiscuous lies that would seduce you
to believe that you are anything less.
Return to Part I
Printable PDF Version of Part 2
Geoffrey K. Mondello
Boston Catholic Journal
February 6, 2021