(NOTE: This transcription has been automatically generated through an AI program. Consequently, this transcript may not match everything you hear in the podcast episode, and it may contain errors such as spelling, grammar, word choice, etc., due to the limitations of current AI technology.)
Hi everyone and welcome to this week’s episode of Midnight Carmelite. This is your host Andrew Gniadek. So this week I wanted to discuss the connection I thought about that I think might be helpful for our meditations this week, and in the weeks to come in prayer. And it’s the connection between wonder, gratitude, and real love. And I qualify real love because I feel like sometimes love, as we know, is obviously confused today with what I’m going to term logical love or sentiment love. I will quickly deal now with the distinction. So logical love is love where someone will affirm love, but their actions belie that affirmation.
I think we can all think of an example of that. Sentiment love is saying I feel good around this person and they make me feel good without any sort of notion about the fact that love requires a kind of equalization in a kind of going out to the other rather than a reception of good feelings. So the point is that real love is not really about how you feel; it’s about going out to that which you love. So therefore it can’t be about your feelings, even though you may have good feelings about going out to that which you love.
So let’s let’s start with wonder. So little known fact is that all philosophy begins with wonder since wonder specifically sense wonder is a species of fear. And I was reflecting on this week about this fear, and I believe that this fear is the seed from which hate in anything that’s contrary to love arises, which is a bold claim. Here’s why I think that. So, since wonder basically occurs when you encounter something you don’t understand in reality, so for example, you’re let’s say, you’re a gardener and you’re out in your garden and you see the flowers, you planted the vegetables, the berries.
Then all sudden you see a plant that doesn’t belong there, that you didn’t plant. Now, the gardener’s first reaction is immediately there’s this arresting. The gardener thinks, “Wait, this plant is not supposed to be in my garden. I planted this whole garden. I planned it out. I had the string to create the grid that put the different plants in, I have a raised bed. This shouldn’t be here.” And so there’s an arresting which is a kind of fear which is, “I don’t know what I’m dealing with here.”
That’s really what the fear is. You’re seeing something; you’re relating to something in sense reality, you’re saying, I don’t know what I’m dealing with here. Whatever this new plant is you obviously what you would do is you’d go over and get your garden gloves on and start figuring out what this plan is. Maybe you google it or ask someone else. Maybe you’d look look at it a little bit and then realize what it is. Regardless, this is the starting point of philosophy. It is this wonder about what’s responsible for this.
What is this thing I’m relating to in reality? And that’s the fear. This type of fear. And the problem is that some people will go the first step, they’ll say, okay, I can deal with, you know, my fear and my wonder of things in the garden, but maybe they don’t go another step and say, what is love’s meaning? They’ll be able to handle basic sense, reality things, but they don’t take the next step. And when let’s say, they meet the person they’re supposed to be with; they’re looking at this person and you get that wonder again, now it’s a different type in this case because it’s a one it’s based on love.
So now you’re dealing with different things, but you’re still arrested, you still have a wonder, like a shock. You know, people say love at first sight, right? That’s kind of what I’m thinking of here. It’s you again, you have this species of fear. What am I dealing with? What is this thing that is arresting me so much that, you know, for me, out of the ordinary, something I’m experiencing, it’s out of the ordinary. And obviously to overcome that, let’s say now you’re at a party where you’re arrested by this feeling of wonder, love-wonder, we’ll call it in this case, which is related to sense of wonder, obviously because if you see a person, that person exists material reality.
So, but I’m speaking strictly about the aspect of this wonder as love at first sight, this kind of love wonder, we’ll call it. Now you have to overcome that and to ask the person out or to go talk to the person. Like there’s, there’s again, just like the garden plant, there’s a overcoming of this type of fear. This arrested wonder in being the arrested by wonder in something that you’re relating to in reality, that you can whether by love or by knowledge in the case of garden plants, right?
You’re arrested by this. And so you have to overcome this fear. So let’s say this person you met at the party, you marry the person, the love is going to call you to further go out to the person to further sacrifice. So what’s going to happen, you’re going to have situations where you’re going to be called despite your feelings and despite what you want to do to move out into an unknown to serve that person better. You may have to learn something you never really thought you wanted to learn because it would help that person get through some trial or pain.
You know, maybe the person gets sick. You have to learn about that illness and you have to want to be able to go out to that person to be able to empathize with that person and to sympathize with that person, have compassion, you can have this act of compassion with that person, which is suffering with, and it’s not about your feelings, it’s about the person. And what have you done again again, you’ve had this fear because you’re exposing yourself when you do that. You know you go out to that person, you start loving that person, and you overcome this wonder of this new discovery and what this is.
In one case, in the case of love, it’s knowledge gained from love; in the case of the garden and the plants, it’s knowledge gained by abstraction. So the reason the person is gardening is they love the science of gardening, right? So the reason the person is loving this person, because they believe this is the person who the person is supposed to be with. I don’t say that the person believes that in like a relativist sense. I say that in a the person believes it from the fact that initial reaction, that initial wonder of like who is this person and the arresting species of fear.
What happens is you start sacrificing yourself for the sake of this person. And it becomes clear that what you’re doing is it’s really about the other person. And what I mean by that is this is you can look at the person and you can say I don’t care what you do, you can say like I don’t care how you look, but obviously you’re going to say with a caveat of like I want you to be healthy, right? Because that’s good for you, that you can’t sit there and say I don’t want you to be healthy, right?
But you’re basically saying, I don’t care about how you look, I don’t care what you do, I want to be with you, I want to you know in marriage, I want to spend the rest of my life with you, I don’t want to be with anybody else. And you are bound by your relation, your real relation, not again, not a logical thing, you may say it and not do it, then that’s logical. But if you’re actually doing and you’re actually committed to that reality that you will go out to that person, you will serve that person as Saint John of the Cross says, you will create equalization, which makes you a servant of that thing and he’s right and what’s going to happen is that it’s really more about when you hit that point and overcome that fear.
Now you’re getting to the point of of dealing with what I’m going to call the real love now, what you’re doing is it’s not about you anymore. Like in the beginning it may have been like, well is this person right for me? But it becomes more about like I need to go and console this person, I’m thankful for this person, so I need to act on that gratitude. I need to make the person’s life better. I’m living for that person.
And if you pull this out more, that’s what Christ is calling us to with Him. He’s saying I am, St. John’s letter, he says God is love, what is love demand? Love demands a complete gift of the other, what is God doing for us? He’s given himself completely to us. That’s the evidence we have with the Cross that, there you go, you have all the other things in the Gospel say, okay, maybe the cross is the evidence, that is the evidence of his love.
That’s how far he will take it to the end, right? And so if the cross is the evidence of that and we have that evidence of his love, but then we sit there and say, “well, you know…”, and you have that wonder moment where you’re like, “I probably should be doing this, but this is going to be kind of hard.” Do we treat Christ the same way we treat our hobbies, our professions, spouses or our families, like if you look back through what I just explained from the garden and from the distance between logical and emotional love of the garden, the garden example, the meeting of the person example, and you walk up to where we are now, you’re loving Christ right?
Do you go out to him? You know, it’s a common misconception. I think this is an encyclical, Pope Pius XI, there’s a common misconception with preparation that has to be out of the ordinary, extraordinary would be the proper word, but it doesn’t. Reparation is exactly what I was just talking about. It’s this idea that in the regular things in loving God, you’re doing it perfectly just as again, you would with a spouse or you would with your profession or your hobby. You’re constantly working and serving that and constantly refining yourself in relation to that real thing, God, because God is really is not some abstraction, he’s a Person.
So you’re relating that and refining that relationship and refining yourself in relation to that thing, that person or in the case of gardening, it’s not a person, but in relation that thing and you’re building out this love. And then what happens, through that service comes gratitude because what’s going to happen is if it’s a real love relationship, you will receive out of the abundance of the one you love in some way, despite the sufferings you go through despite that fear you’ve overcome of going through these ordinary sufferings, dealing with these everyday problems.
Not shirking back from the wonder, which is the fear really of these new encounter problems that you’re going to come in through the day, I call them encounter problems because there’s circumstantial, you’ll see different things in this real relation of loving that are going to come at you. Like for example, you may pray one day and have distractions and then you go in your car breaks down and you know while they’re horrible, are you bearing them for love of Him? And that’s what I think we keep hearing all time.
“Do you bear your suffering for love of him?” It’s this; you need to overcome this fear. It’s really the rejection of the love is based in a fear. The fear of losing yourself what you want, who you are, like all the things in your will. And again, you don’t look at, to go back to the garden, you don’t look at the plant and say, “well I don’t want plants in my garden. So therefore I’m gonna yell at this plant to, you know, to get out of my garden.”
No, you’re gonna take your garden glove and put your hand in the dirt and rip it out. Right? Get weed killer or something. I don’t know. And that’s the key here is it’s not about how you feel. It’s not about the words you say, it’s about what you do based on that real relation. Overcoming that fear and loving God more and more completely every day. And so then when you love God like that, then that’s when gratitude is coming in because, like I said, a real loving relationship, he’ll love you back.
You’ll see that love clearer through blessings in your life, you’ll see that love clear sometimes in the suffering because you’ll see because you’ve overcome that fear and give it to him, you’ll say, you know what? I know you’re doing this for my good. I trust you, I hope in you, and I love you. You’ll say thank you for that too.
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