Thursday, July 2, 2009

What's Love Got to Do With It? -- Evelyn Underhill

I've seen her name come up in a friend's blog (Fr. Mike Marsh's "Interrupting the Silence") and also a post in the email list for the Episcopal Church's House of Bishops and House of Deputies. (I'm a read-only member of that list.) I think Underhill will be on my reading list very soon.

From Wikipedia, a brief biography of Evelyn Underhill:

Evelyn Underhill (December 6, 1875June 15, 1941) was an English Anglo-Catholic writer and pacifist known for her numerous works on religion and spiritual practice, in particular Christian mysticism.

In the English-speaking world, she was one of the most widely read writers on such matters in the first half of the twentieth century. No other book of its type—until the appearance in 1946 of Aldous Huxley's The Perennial Philosophy—met with success to match that of her best-known work, Mysticism, published in 1911.

Here's a quote on love:

This wide and generous spirit of love, not the religious egotist's longing to get away from the world to God, is the fruit of true self-oblation; for a soul totally possessed by God is a soul totally possessed by Charity. By the path of self-offering, the Church and the soul have come up to the frontiers of the Holy. There we are required, not to cast the world from us, but to do our best for all others as well as ourselves.

Underhill's quote speaks of an expansive love, not "love" that constricts, or isolates people from the world around them. Love is not just between the lovers in a couple, or among members of a family, or in a community. When one is filled by God -- by Love -- that person has so much love to give, he gives it all those around him.

(Now, love is not just warm fuzzies given to a person no matter what, or mushy, gushy stuff. I'll write about what I think love looks like in another post.)

And because I like the song, and it's my post title, here's Tina Turner's song of the same name:

No comments: