I write often about love, but there is always something more to ponder about it. If I believe that love is an unconditional giving of oneself, how might I account for the varying degrees and measures of love I dole out to different people?
In Anthony DeMello’s metaphorical comparison to Your love of the flower’s aroma, the lamp’s light, and the tree’s shade, we see that each is offered to all indiscriminately and equally. I have a wife, children, relatives, and friends and this list pretty much summarizes the hierarchy of the degrees and measures of my love. Whatever is left over from that goes to others.
My imaginitive consideration that You love the Father, or Your Mother, or the saints morethan us seems to support the idea of degrees and measures of love. Yet, such a notion is most probably an artificial construct of our own desire to define love. If You, indeed, are love, then what we are able to see of You in others affects our ability to humanly describe it. It is folly for a mere mortal to even begin to attempt to define the love of God even in inviting metaphors like the flower, the lamp, and the tree. But we are on firmer ground when we try to describe it in terms of the human experience.
The idea that we humans love in varying degrees and measures is an expression of our response to that which we perceive as loveable in another. The degrees and measures of this perceived lovability generate varying degrees and measures of love in us. Your love in us is the constant. What varies is how we accept it and live it in ourselves and how we perceive it in others. My lack of love is always based on some blind-spot to You. Where I see You clearly I love most. Where my perception of You is fuzzy or dim, I love less. When I cannot see You, I do not love.
Being what I am then, it seems inevitable that, at the very least, I place the “condition” of lovability on my love. What is loveable in the other is the condition by which I dole the degree and measure of my love. It is an imperfect reflection of Your love which is contained by no such perceptions, measure, or degrees – it just is!