Love Is Stronger than Death

Love: Week 2

Love Is Stronger than Death
Friday, January 8, 2016

I believe the meaning of the Resurrection of Jesus is summed up in the climactic line from the Song of Songs (8:6) that I translate as “love is stronger than death.” If the blank white banner that the Risen Christ usually holds in Christian art should say anything, it should say: “Love will win!” Love is all that remains. Love and life are finally the same thing, and you know that for yourself once you have walked through death.

Love has you. Love is you. Love alone, and your deep need for love, recognizes love everywhere else. Remember that you already are what you are seeking. Any fear “that your lack of fidelity could cancel God’s fidelity, is absurd” (Romans 3:3), says Paul. Love has finally overcome fear, and your house is being rebuilt on a new and solid foundation. This foundation was always there, but it took us a long time to find it. “It is love alone that lasts” (1 Corinthians 13:13). All you have loved in your life and been loved by is eternal and true. Two of the primary metaphors of final salvation are Noah’s ark (Genesis 6:19) and “the Peaceable Kingdom” (Isaiah 11:6-9). Interestingly enough, both are filled with images of animals—as worth saving and as representative of paradise regained.

My fellow Franciscan friar, Father Jack Wintz, has written a theologically solid book on why we can consider all things loved, loving, and lovable as participating in eternity, including animals. [1] What made us think we were the only ones who loved and are lovable? If unconditional love, loyalty, and obedience are the tickets to an eternal life, then my black Labrador, Venus, will surely be there long before me, along with all the dear animals in nature who care for their young at great cost to themselves and accept their fate far better than most humans.

Gateway to Silence:
“There is nothing better or more necessary than love.” —St. John of the Cross

References:
[1] Jack Wintz, O.F.M., Will I See My Dog in Heaven? (Paraclete Press: 2009).
Adapted from Richard Rohr, Immortal Diamond: The Search for Our True Self (Jossey-Bass: 2013), 178-179.

Pomegranates, Majorca (detail) by John Singer Sargent, 1908. Private Collection.
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