It sounds ominous, morbid, and gloomy to say it, but love demands death; death not so much in the physical sense (although that can be temporarily shelved to be talked about later) but more in the sense ofdying to self.
It seems to me that my unwillingness to let die certain urges, compulsions, tendencies, traits, and habits mitigates strongly against the ability to grow in love. Until such conditions die in my life I cannot actually get to true love.
Most of the conditions of my love come from some form of self-concern. In every instance it seems that my love grows when it rises from allowing concern for myself to be conquered by a concern for the other. As in Your life, and in the lives of the martyrs, this can extend all the way to giving up the physical self for love of the other. There is no greater love of man than that he lay down his life for another. But we can, in so many ways, lay down our lives for another without paying the final price of our mortality.
In the course of one short day countless opportunities arise to slay the self in us that seeks to come first. When we say “yes” to that toward which we are strongly inclined to say “no,” our self dies a little and our love grows a little. When I allow my own plans or agenda to besupplanted by the plans or agenda of another, there is a dying of self from which love flows. Indeed, the death of many aspects of me nurtures the growth of my love and its veracity.
There are only a few to whom physical death is offered as a testament to their love, but every one of us can die a little each day to the self-concerns that prevent us from offering ourselves to other