Fatal Kisses and Final Whispers:
To One Contemplating
of us at some point in life have seriously contemplated or even attempted
Most often 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.
Love is 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
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?”, we ask).
The same love that gave us life is the
love that now slays us. Bringing us life, in leaving it left us with
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
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
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
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 our pain.
We can turn to God ... and make of our suffering something good,
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 been thrown.
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
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.
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
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 is God’s.
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.
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
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