Kisses and Final
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 equation.
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
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 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
it would be to say that we suffer because we have loved neither wisely
loves wisely? Can we mete out love that is susceptible of measure, such
that it suffices to have been measured well?
love is not worthy of it.
Call to Acceptance
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:
live in the past. It is partly true, for it had been; but it is
far more true that it is no more.
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, even holy.
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
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 for us.
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
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 is God’s.
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 it.
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
Return to Part I
Printable PDF Version of Part 2
Geoffrey K. Mondello
Boston Catholic Journal
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yet you have kept My word, and have not denied My Name.”
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