Love is only perfect when the lover is lost irremediably in the beloved, “I am my beloved’s and my beloved is mine.” (Song of Songs 6:3). There is a science of love as well as a love of science. There are souls also which God has given a special attraction for the former as well as the latter. God appears sometimes to certain souls so beautiful that they can acquire nothing but the science of loving.
“Love” says Saint Thomas (Aquinas) “is a certain affection by which the lover is transformed into the object loved.” Where two creatures in the same order of creation love each other, there will be a mutual transformation. If the object loved is equal in all respects to the capacity of the lover then a perfect love would give the lover, or if they are both equal to each other, would give the lovers both repose. But man having something divine in his nature, therefore nothing created can give perfect repose but God.
RESPONSE: FR. PAUL ROBICHAUD, CSP
Human beings are incomplete by themselves; we need other people. We live out our lives in the company of friends, partners, spouses, families, and communities both small and large. Our search for completion is a search for love and happiness. It begins with an infant being dependent on a parent for nuture. It continues as we grow up in our families and schools. What is it that draws us to other people? What is it that makes others attractive, or causes us to feel affection in their company? In today’s post-modern world we speak defer to evolutionary psychology and biology, anthropology and neuroscience. These are the sciences that contribute theories about the origin of love and why we feel attraction and affection for others.
In today’s reflection, Servant of God Isaac Thomas Hecker introduces us to his understanding of “the science of love.” He begins with God. Using the writing of Saints Augustine and Thomas Aquinas, Hecker believes that human beings are by nature spiritual beings. God has made us in such a way that there is a part of us that cannot find peace unless we find it in God. As we open our hearts to God’s love, our eyes to God’s presence and our minds to God’s word, the spiritual part of our being experiences a sense of purpose, a sense of peace and a true sense of fulfillment. Our capacity for attraction begins in God. Then as it grows and develops we begin to find God in others. From this Father Hecker builds up the science of love. (More next week).
Paulist Father Paul Robichaud CSP is Historian of the Paulist Fathers and Postulator of the Cause of Father Hecker. His office is located at the Hecker Center in Washington D.C.