As I was listening to NPR Weekend Edition while doing a little time on my elliptical machine, I heard the story “Simone Weil Brought to Life in New Oratorio”. One quote from Simone Weil stuck with me:
“Nothing that exists is absolutely worthy of love. So we must love what does not exist.”
Her comment brought to mind a couple of thoughts:
- 1) Love is an action not a reaction. We chose to love from our free will, and if we want to live in a world of love, we have to consciously and energetically chose love over our emotional reaction to people, events and things around us. Nothing may be absolutely worthy of love, we should love anyway.
- 2) Her comment seems eminently true to me from the point of view that I have never found anything in this world which I feel so attached to that I live for it, or which has become for me a reason to live. I have felt mostly out of place in this world, a sojourner, restless, and unattached, but also homeless, bored, unable to find that which interests or excites me. It seems to me many people fill their lives with “entertainment” and then come to enjoy being entertained. I have never found anything in this world which captivates me, and no “entertainment” or pleasure satisfying. I am consequently not a very good friend. In this void in my life, God has been my constant companion, the God of the gaps as it were. My only true friend is invisible to some and non-existent to others. But He has been everything to me.
- 3) I disagree with her that nothing is worthy of love. I think it all is worthy of love, but the world is not always lovely or loveable. It is arrogant to think the world does not deserve my love. I am unworthy of the world, as St. Paul put it, “the foremost of sinners.”
- 4) Love what does not exist. St. Basil the Great said something to the effect, “if I say I exist, then I must say God does not exist, for existence then is word which describes the created.” Love what does not exist, means to aspire beyond all human limitations, to seek out God, who does not exist but who is existence and in whom we exist.
- 5) We also are to love what doesn’t exist in order to bring it into existence – peace and happiness come to mind. Just because we do not experience the blessedness of life or life as blessed, does not mean blessedness does not or cannot exist, or that we should not pursue them. We should think about things which are good, true, pure, just, commendable, excellent and lovely, and then love them and make them exist in the lives of the people around us.