There is a common, human temptation to only satisfy ourselves without consideration for who we hurt in the process. We try to prove ourselves every day and mould our identities through the actions we perform. It can be argued that goodness in the face of persecution and temptation is a performative deed. It can also be said that goodness is based on the intent behind the action so it is not only about the act itself. I think that goodness is based on the ability to exhibit the most important type of love out of the three is agape, which is Greek for selfless love as it bears all pain and transcends the physical love. It becomes a spiritual communion between you and God. Agape is based upon the offering of undeserved love that gives without expecting anything in return, the kind of love that comes without conditions. This kind of goodness is not pursued for the sake of achieving eternity or a reward, but is practiced because of the genuine desire to be at one with God and to share in divine union. This kind of goodness, I imagine, allows one to feel enlightened and to grow in patience and love for others. It involves the arduous and uncomfortable process of going outside of ourselves and intentionally putting ourselves in discomfort for the sake of another’s comfort. Goodness and love are both based on communion, it allows a new way of viewing the world and it opens us up to a new way of viewing reality and serving others, seeing the world through the eyes of the beloved. Being good or doing good deeds necessitates loving others out of love for God or love for life itself. This union with God opens our eyes to what humans truly want and what will fulfill their cyclical battle against time. Thus, we can understand that our hearts are not made for this earth since all the riches and luxuries will not fulfill us.
C.S Lewis said “If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world.” I think that C.S Lewis aptly articulates that our desires for comfort, love and security are mainly focused upon possessions and achievements, but he identifies that these things are just shadows of what could truly satisfy us if we allowed our hearts to be open. Our bursts of courage or refusal to conform stems from a desire to experience and live in a state of total surrender and spiritual harmony with the world. possessions are fleeting, but our identity and choices are aspects that frame the type of person we will be. Sometimes we get lost in the world’s dog-eat dog, defeated perspective on life and we inherently seek our own experience of what it means to truly live. Pursuing this search for meaning exposes our restlessness and desires to know the secret to living a full life. We get stuck living in a “half life” that leaves us hollow, thirsty and impatient to fulfill the void. We use drinking, entertainment, sex, and stimulants to suppress that void. Sometimes we are so desperate to fill this void with the ephemeral charms that bring temporary joy, that we inadvertently blind ourselves to the beauty and flavor of life. St. Augustine of Hippo said it best when he wrote, “Our hearts are restless until they rest in You.” I believe that our hearts were made to be in union with God. We are invited to be at one with life, to feel, to empathize, to experience life without the enslavement that binds us to the world’s demands. We are called to be servants to life, not masters to life and the way in which we practice goodness dictates what kind of people we are and will become.
Knowing who God is brings freedom of the spirit and can help us escape the bondage of this world. I have never received so much love from anywhere else because the world cannot fill the void in my heart, Heaven is sealed on my heart. I desire true and full communion with the Beloved. The need for love, the desire for something greater than this world are mysteries in my heart that I do not fully understand but I know that it has to do with the nature of my humanity and the need to build on virtues that will help us live a truer, fuller life. At the worst points in my life, at my ugliest and weakest, I feel at one with Jesus, who also was broken, scorned and shamed by the world. I think that at my weakest, I am most beautiful and valuable to God because it is then that I can allow Him to move in my life. When I am strong, I feel pride and declare that I do not need him and slowly forget all the times that I did need God. When I reflect on the darkest parts of my life, I now understand that it is in times of poverty, distress and heartache that I truly grow into a better and stronger person. I like to think of my suffering as a privilege of sorts as it gives me an idea of what Jesus experienced on the cross for me. When I learn to love myself at my worst, this is when I can also love others at their most vulnerable.
As God loves my potential more than my actuality, my aspirations more than my ephemeral actions, my poverty more than my beauty, I also feel convicted to do the same for others. This is not something that is easy because I know what it feels like to receive compassion. This is something that has been the biggest burden, blessing and motivation of my life. It pushes me to look beyond the mask that people wear, and to make an effort to look into their eyes and make a connection. This connection is never earth shattering or awe inspiring, but it is a moment that is savoured between the both of us where we both understand each other and can be truthful about who we are. To know God is to allow truth to penetrate us. It is meant to widen our hearts, to allow ourselves to be loved and to love others, in an authentic love that demands, reveals our superficialities, harasses our barriers and finally brings our soul to the light.