Losing It To Find It
Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.
The Loyalty of Agape is beyond immediate conditions, or personal gain or loss. It produces the clarity of purpose necessary to transcend circumstances that encroach on our comfort and survival, calling those who seek to love into action.
There are only two purposes in any communication; either to love the one being spoken to, or to get love from them; either to give to them or to take from them. Love your neighbor as yourself is simply stated so we can understand it in our limited minds and eternally challenging, because without God; it cannot not be done. Loving your neighbor can’t be done without the grace of God, but what does it require from us?
We must be ruthlessly honest with ourselves and confess the secret of our soul. We are born into a reality that we are, in and of ourselves, helpless to do anything about. We cannot change our heritage, we cannot change what happens to us, nor how or when we die, we cannot change the suffering inherent in living and loving, nor can we predict how others will be with us and what we will feel about the way they treat us. So we keep our secret not from others as much as from ourselves. The secret is so profound that we crave to be entertained, to be diverted from its encroaching presence. Noah Webster’s 1828 Dictionary of the American Language defines entertainment:
To please; to amuse; to divert.” What is it we wish to divert ourselves from? What is the secret we hide from ourselves, that seems to haunt our souls? We are unbearably alone!
We are helpless to share our “self.” We are faced with the reality that we are powerless to overcome the gulf between the “I” and the “other.” What is the significance of our isolation? Peter Kreeft says: “I am alienated so that I can overcome alienation. I become an individual self so that I may give myself to another and receive another’s self.” Yet, every desperate attempt to reach out and conquer the separation just reminds us of how separate, isolated and lonely we truly are. The irony is we are alone and individual, yet our eternal purpose is to be united. Frances Frangapane says: “Love is a passion for oneness.”
This is God’s eternal objective and it demands loyalty, not to self but to Him, and to those whom He loves. So, we are caught in a conundrum. We are called to do what we are unable to do. He has called us to do the very thing we know we cannot do on our own! How many times have you looked at your spouse, your child or friend and said, “There is no way I can love you after what you have done.” How many times have you sat in your tears despairing over the impossibility of reaching the object of your love? We must lose our life here in time in order to join Him in eternity. We must be loyal by continuing in a state of grace until God brings a state of glory! What does it take to love with agape? It shares the unshareable, gives the ungiveable, and receives from the other the gift that can no more be received than given; the gift of self, the gift of the giver, the I. Agape, as distinct from eros (desire) or philia (friendship) or storge (affection), is a gift not just of pleasure, or the body, or possessions, or time, or actions, or interests, or feelings, or thoughts, but of self. There is a second paradox to agape: it performs the apparent contradictory feat of individuating by uniting, as well as uniting by individuating. The self, once given, is (truly) found. ‘He who loses his self shall find it.’
Peter Kreeft, Love Is Stronger Than Death
May the coming year be one in which you lose your life to the unreasonable calling God has placed in you for others!