Friday, February 18, 2011

Beggars From Calcutta

Carl Anderson writes boldly in his book, A Civilization of Love, "there is no gap between love of neighbor and justice." Attempts to contrast justice and love, serve to distort them both. Within justice is the meaning of mercy itself. To pursue justice without love is to engage in revenge. Love is not about revenge. From the earliest time, religions have pursued the liberation of the self, and the collective from every type of oppression and evil; they have promoted in degree, the dignity of the individual.

Within the civilization of love, there comes the realization that love is not mere sentiment, it is not mere feeling. Love is action, it is active; it includes the necessity of vocation, so that a civilization founded upon the dignity and value of all Creation may be realized. The sharing of love is basic to human life.  A heart which 'sees' and directs itself accordingly is one of the first actions taken in a civilization of love; priority must be given to the formation and re-formation of human hearts-- all hearts. The heart that 'sees' is one that has learned to see its own history, thus it knows how to recognize the other. Indeed, when the moment arrives that the heart in charity recognizes an experience of love and gift, it can no longer be perceived without awareness of one's own history. That is, the awareness of the loves that came before us: our parents, our family, the Divine, who loved us first and most.

There was, at one moment, a great act of Creation that begot us from seeming nothingness; we were brought into the world. In the civilization of love, someone's love is revealed as the initial source of our existence. The heart now awakened is able to see with 'eyes'. With the heart, events are viewed not only from one perspective, but from the greatest perspective of the acts of a co-creator in creation. The one who is blind, who does not see, then lives as if the divinity rests solely within them. Others may easily be forgotten or omitted. And yet it is not divinely demanded that we, as individuals, produce a feeling, or any feeling that we are not yet capable of producing. In the civilization of love, all are called to action for hope that our sight shall illuminate the way of the other. This is what is also called charity. Thus is the founding principles for actions such as those of the Missionaries of Charity, first of Calcutta, Blessed Mother Teresa, its foundress and now present in 133 countries including Peoria county, Illinois.

Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta modeled her life upon this civilization of love. She called all to it; divinity and love are inseparable. She was well-seeing into the truth that loving one's neighbor was a central task of the heart in action. It is this which will form a better society for the common good, she wrote.

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