This week, I wanted to share one of my favorite pieces of prose on love, whose author, Kahlil Gibran, is a Lebanese-American artist, philosopher, and poet. If you’ve never heard of him, consider this your first introduction. He published an incredible work called “Jesus, Son of Man”—a stunning collection of vignettes about Jesus, imaginatively written through the eyes of those who knew him on earth.  Although secular, many of Gibran’s works reflect his Catholic upbringing.

If God’s self-proclaimed identity is Love—and Jesus is the visible image of God’s invisible nature—then Christ is its fullest embodiment. But what I find most compelling is how Jesus expresses his love through his Crown as fully as he does through his Crucifixion. Jesus modeled a love that is resolute despite apparent weakness; a love which is as stubborn as it is supple. His love is powerful and authoritative—yet meek and submissive, always drawing from its Source.

Growing in love is not a walk in the park, but rather a journey from mountaintops through valleys. It’s a high-risk, high-reward endeavor—there’s no way for us to increase in love except by letting the Lover carve out more room in our hearts. But as anyone who’s gone through the painful process of surrender will tell you, it is worth every tear.

 

When love beckons to you, follow him,
Though his ways are hard and steep.
And when his wings enfold you yield to him,
Though the sword hidden among his pinions may wound you.
And when he speaks to you believe in him,
Though his voice may shatter your dreams
as the north wind lays waste the garden.

For even as love crowns you so shall he crucify you. Even as he is for your growth so is he for your pruning.
Even as he ascends to your height and caresses your tenderest branches that quiver in the sun,
So shall he descend to your roots and shake them in their clinging to the earth.

Like sheaves of corn he gathers you unto himself.
He threshes you to make you naked.
He sifts you to free you from your husks.
He grinds you to whiteness.
He kneads you until you are pliant;
And then he assigns you to his sacred fire, that you may become sacred bread for God’s sacred feast.

But if in your fear you would seek only love’s peace and love’s pleasure,
Then it is better for you that you cover your nakedness and pass out of love’s threshing-floor,
Into the seasonless world where you shall laugh, but not all of your laughter, and weep, but not all of your tears.
Love gives naught but itself and takes naught but from itself.
Love possesses not nor would it be possessed;
For love is sufficient unto love.

When you love you should not say, “God is in my heart,” but rather, “I am in the heart of God.”
And think not you can direct the course of love, for love, if it finds you worthy, directs your course.

Love has no other desire but to fulfill itself.
But if you love and must needs have desires, let these be your desires:
To know the pain of too much tenderness.
To be wounded by your own understanding of love;
And to bleed willingly and joyfully.
To wake at dawn with a winged heart and give thanks for another day of loving;
To rest at the noon hour and meditate love’s ecstasy;
To return home at eventide with gratitude;
And then to sleep with a prayer for the beloved in your heart and a song of praise upon your lips.

When you love you should not say, “God is in my heart,” but rather, “I am in the heart of God.”

Comments

comments