March 6, 2010

C.S. Lewis once wrote “We read to know that we’re not alone.” but for a skeptic, no amount of knowledge will assuage the constant pull of existential loneliness. How can I know for sure that there is a world outside of me? And if I doubt that how can I know that I exist? We want to know that we are not alone in this universe; for if we are then we wouldn’t know whether we existed at all.

I think this is why we read or play games or socialize or anything else in fact. But this is especially evident in our relationships. There is something stately and regal in the meeting of friends who come together for some common interests; there is a sense of heavenly passions in romantic love. But if we do not learn to sacrificially love one another, we can’t really know that we exist. Interests and passions cool; friendships lost and loves broken. We fear that the sacrificially giving of ourselves will leave us with nothing, but it’s the only thing that will allow our self-hood to continue. Oddly enough it’s the soul growing inward that will run out of room to grow.

When Jesus commands his disciples to love one another or when the beloved disciple tells us our love will show the condition of our salvation, we treat these commands as a system of rewards and punishments. But it’s not. Christ has already secured our reward. Instead these commands are descriptions of the ultimate reality, descriptions of truth. So the ultimate answer to our existential wanderings is found in this reality, in this command to love, demonstrated and initiated and carried on and perfected by our great Love, Jesus Christ.

Sometimes in my autonomously happy states of singleness I contemplate the life of solitude and philosophizing and writing poetry and listening to the rain. But these longings too are selfish and too narrow. God has to enlarge my views and my heart to love the world.


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