Merton says, “without my love for them they may perhaps not achieve the things God willed for them.” If we do not love one another, others cannot become who God intended because we didn’t do our part.
Merton has such wisdom in this chapter called, “charity.” He says,”Selfish love insists the he conform himself to us, and it works in every possible way to make him do so.” This is all over our world! We call it love but it’s really far away from love. This is manipulation, requiring someone to conform to us.
Merton continues, “our friend’s exist only in order that we may love them. In loving them we seek to make pets of them, to keep them tame.” How ugly… There’s truth here that if people are as we wish for them to be we accept them. We withdraw love if someone doesn’t measure up.
As a foster mom I’ve loved in the trenches. Some have been harder to love than others. Some have rejected my love and shut me out. Loving is hard especially when we feel hurt.
God never stops loving and asks the same of us. “So, Love can be kept by being given away, and it can only be given perfectly when it is also received.” – Thomas Merton. We receive from God and then we can fully love others.