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Monday, August 21, 2006

Love Without Limits (III) In his current "Life in Christ" column, Fr John Breck provides us with another excerpt from Archimandrite Lev Gillet's Love Without Limits (Amour Sans Limites): “My child,” God declares, “you have seen the Bush that burns without being consumed. You have recognized Love, which is a consuming fire that desires you completely. The ‘great vision’ of the Burning Bush can help you give Me a new name. That name will not replace the name or names you have used until now. Nevertheless, like a lightening flash in the night, the radiance of this new name can enlighten your entire surroundings. “Many times you called Me by a name that was not mine. Or, rather, that eternal name, although it was indeed mine, failed to express clearly the most intense manifestations of divine life. It could not adequately express what I wanted to reveal of myself in your times of prayer: that particular aspect of my Being by which you might have spoken to Me. “You call me God. This traditional name has been worshiped and blessed by countless souls, to whom it has given, and never ceases to give, depths of feeling and strength. Foolish are those who would depreciate it, and ungodly those who would reject it! It is for you, rather, to worship me precisely as God, and to venerate that name by which I am known. “Nevertheless, without lessening that veneration, you recognize that, from the point of view of the word itself, this name, “God,” does not have a specific content; it is lacking in precision. Those meanings people have attached to it were not all direct expressions of the word “God.” For that word is so vast, so open to elaboration, that at times, because of human weakness, it can somehow seem empty. “In your prayer you call me ‘God,’ ‘my God,’ ‘You who are God,’ and ‘Lord God.’ In this ancient designation, this sacred name ‘God,’ you can surely find new strength. But you can also find a fresh source of enlightenment in calling me by names that correspond more closely to your immediate experience or your immediate need. You can appeal to those aspects of my Being that are revealed by present circumstances. For example, depending on what is happening in your life, you can call me ‘You who are Beauty,’ or ‘You who are Truth,’ or ‘You who are my Purity, my Light, my Strength.’ You can also call me, ‘You who are Love.’ “This last expression will draw your language more closely to my heart. You can say to me, ‘Lord of Love.’ Or more simply, you can simply speak the name ‘Love.’ “Here I would set before you, in your reflection and your prayer, a term which, if you so desire, can become like the sun, the sun that knows no setting, the sun of your life. My beloved ones, I am ‘Boundless Love,’ ‘Love without limits.’ “Love without limits… I am above and beyond every name. The qualification ‘without limits’ expresses precisely the truth that my Person and my Love are beyond every category known to the human mind. I am ‘Supreme Love,’ ‘Universal Love,’ ‘Absolute Love,’ ‘Infinite Love.’ “If I now insist on the words ‘without limits,’ it is to evoke in your mind the image of barriers that have been overturned. It is to call up for you the image of something unlimited, boundless: a Love that, like some violent wind or hurricane, breaks down every obstacle. I am that Love that nothing can stop, nothing can contain, nothing can impede. ... “Our present reflection goes ‘beyond’ a Person or the divine Persons. It concerns what those Persons are in their depth, their common inner Being, rather than what is proper to each one individually. In this moment we are contemplating ‘the divine essence.’ We are daring to explore the reality of God, to seek out the original generating emotion of all things. That emotion we have called Love, ‘Love without limits.’

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