Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Lectio: The Four Loves

{recommended reading}

Up, The Four Loves, C.S. Lewis, Carl and Ellie, married love, love and friendship, Catholic wedding planning, Catholic wedding blog, Catholic brides
Carl and Ellie's lifetime of love
  Like most people with a  heartbeat, I cry my eyeballs out every time I watch Up.  Carl and Ellie, two of the sweetest lovebirds I've ever seen in a movie, are childhood pals who grow up together, then fall in love for the rest of their days.  We get to see every minute of it, and they draw out the best in each other: she inspires a cautious man to pursue adventure, and he grounds a dreamer of a girl with the contented routines of their life together.  Watching the movie, you get the sense that these two aren't just the loves of each other's lives, but best friends and teammates through life's victories and burdens.

This post isn't about Carl and Ellie.  It is, however, about the kind of love they share.  To say that love takes dozens of forms is stating the obvious.  Consider, though, how its array of varieties can be all rolled up into a singular love.  You know what I mean?  We have that desire for a love that mixes deep passion with goofy affection and the serious with the ridiculous.  I bet you've already experienced this personally- it's hard to imagine a couple whose relationship isn't enriched by a connection that goes beyond just the giggly, "I love you!  I love you too!" stuff.  That's important, of course, but we adore it because it's special (even when it's frequent), not because it's the norm.

What I'm trying to say is that romance is great and all, but it becomes even more romantic when it's reinforced with true friendship, spiritual closeness, and sincere admiration.  C.S. Lewis says it better.  The Four Loves is such a wonderful book for marriage prep- he discusses eros, or romantic love, so beautifully, as well as the loves of affection, friendship, and agape, or unconditional, perfect charity.  There's a lot of theological goods here, but if you've read anything else by good ol' Mr. Lewis, you know that he has a way of articulating truths about human nature that are so recognizable.  Of friendship, he says in this book, "the typical expression...would be something like, 'What?  You too?  I thought I was the only one.'"  He might as well be talking about a reader's reaction to his words.  Insights galore.  Every form love takes, he says, is ultimately ordered towards charity as love of God.  It makes so much sense.  Of course Love Himself amplifies all the little tastes of heavenly love that we experience here on earth.  We beg for love, we want to give love to the people we care about most, we long to express love.  Check out for yourself what Lewis has to say:

Need-love cries to God from our poverty; gift-love longs to serve, or even to suffer for, God...Need-love says of a woman "I cannot live without her;" Gift-love longs to give her happiness, comfort, protection-- if possible, wealth; Appreciative love gazes and holds its breath and is silent, rejoices that such a wonder should exist even if not for him...

Does this take your breath away like it does mine?  A love that rejoices not just in happiness, but equally in vulnerability and sacrifice, is an exhilarating thing.  So, use your engagement to contemplate all the loves you share.  When you're friends, lovers, and each other's biggest spiritual allies, you're setting yourselves up for a heck of a marriage.

Next up: Four today, five the day after tomorrow

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