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April 24, 2008

Love is patient, love is kind . . . love is manly?

Man_baby At least, so says Thomas à Kempis. I've been reading The Imitation of Christ for research and I stumbled across one of the most eloquent passages describing love I've ever read.

I also stumbled across the phrase, "Love is manly." I'm thinking about putting it on t-shirts and selling it.

My fiancé and his guy friends have this ongoing joke about things that earn them "man points." There are also things that make them lose "man points." I'm sure you can imagine. Anyhow, now I can tell him that according to Thomas à Kempis, he's been earning lots and lots of man points by loving me well.

If you don't believe love is manly....Read it for yourself here:

Love is an excellent thing, a very great blessing, indeed. It makes every difficulty easy, and bears all wrongs with equanimity. For it bears a burden without being weighted and renders sweet all that is bitter. The noble love of Jesus spurs to great deeds and excites longing for that which is more perfect. Love tends upward; it will not be held down by anything low. Love wishes to be free and estranged from all worldly affections, lest its inward sight be obstructed, lest it be entangled in any temporal interest and overcome by adversity.

Nothing is sweeter than love, nothing stronger or higher or wider; nothing is more pleasant, nothing fuller, and nothing better in heaven or on earth, for love is born of God and cannot rest except in God, Who is above all created things.

One who is in love flies, runs, and rejoices; he is free, not bound. He gives all for all and possesses all in all, because he rests in the one sovereign Good, Who is above all things, and from Whom every good flows and proceeds. He does not look to the gift but turns himself above all gifts to the Giver.

Love often knows no limits but overflows all bounds. Love feels no burden, thinks nothing of troubles, attempts more than it is able, and does not plead impossibility, because it believes that it may and can do all things. For this reason, it is able to do all, performing and effecting much where he who does not love fails and falls.

Love is watchful. Sleeping, it does not slumber. Wearied, it is not tired. Pressed, it is not straitened. Alarmed, it is not confused, but like a living flame, a burning torch, it forces its way upward and passes unharmed through every obstacle.

If a man loves, he will know the sound of this voice. For this warm affection of soul is a loud voice crying in the ears of God, and it says: "My God, my love, You are all mine and I am all Yours. Give me an increase of love, that I may learn to taste with the inward lips of my heart how sweet it is to love, how sweet to be dissolved in love and bathe in it. Let me be rapt in love. Let me rise above self in great fervor and wonder. Let me sing the hymn of love, and let me follow You, my Love, to the heights. Let my soul exhaust itself in praising You, rejoicing out of love. Let me love You more than myself, and let me not love myself except for Your sake. In You let me love all those who truly love You, as the law of love, which shines forth from You, commands."

Love is swift, sincere, kind, pleasant, and delightful. Love is strong, patient and faithful, prudent, long-suffering, and manly. Love is never self-seeking, for in whatever a person seeks himself there he falls from love. Love is circumspect, humble, and upright. It is neither soft nor light, nor intent upon vain things. It is sober and chaste, firm and quiet, guarded in all the senses. Love is subject and obedient to superiors. It is mean and contemptible in its own eyes, devoted and thankful to God; always trusting and hoping in Him even when He is distasteful to it, for there is no living in love without sorrow. He who is not ready to suffer all things and to stand resigned to the will of the Beloved is not worthy to be called a lover. A lover must embrace willingly all that is difficult and bitter for the sake of the Beloved, and he should not turn away from Him because of adversities.

(Bold, ital. mine.)

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Comments

Travis

Catherine -- Love is definitely manly. In fact, there is absolutely nothing more manly than a husband loving his wife, being afraid to neither humble himself and wash her feet nor to lay down his very life for her. Major, major man points. And even better -- major Christ-like points.

Thanks for sharing this great passage from a Kempis.

LeeQuod

Catherine, can you ask your fiance' if "man points" are like Frequent Flyer Miles, in that they expire without warning, redeeming them is tricky and sometimes carries additional costs, you earn them in one context only and can't combine them, and tracking them is a pain?

Thanks for an excellent quote.

Rolley Haggard

Manly love. This was the first image that popped into my head.

http://wwwuuwuu.tripod.com/misc/ardennes

LeeQuod

Rolley wrote: "This was the first image that popped into my head."

The Matrix? (At least, that's what it looked like to me, as a lot of symbols scrolled down my screen: http://movieimage.tripod.com/matrix/matrix01.jpg .) Or do I need Photoshop installed to be able to decipher this?

Gina Dalfonzo

That's what I'm seeing too.

Rolley Haggard

My exceedingly bad. I left off the file extension. Try this:

http://wwwuuwuu.tripod.com/misc/ardennes.jpeg


Kim Moreland

LeeQuod,

You're right! Banking "man points" is very tricky--you can wipe out a million points with one careless action.

You're too funny ;-}

Rolley Haggard

"One careless action"? OOOOOOOOPS.

So much for my reserve of man points.

And I only had 30 to begin with.

Rolley Haggard

If this link doesn't work, I'm going to sue Al Gore for poor Internet design.

http://www.487thbg.org/Photos/ca2w.shtml

Gina Dalfonzo

They both work, Rolley -- this one and the one you posted at 4:13 yesterday. Thanks. Excellent reminder.

Jason Taylor


I don't know about there being NOTHING more manly then loving your life. What if there is someone who is cowardly, faithless, talebearing, and disloyal who prefers talking about babies and clothes to talking about,war, work, fishing and football. And yet by some curious mischance loves his wife?

Gina Dalfonzo

Jason, bless your heart, you come up with the wildest examples. You really do. :-) I guess I would question whether someone who was cowardly, faithless, etc., was really capable of loving anyone at all in the way Catherine was describing. Having all those traits would make it pretty nearly impossible. However, a liking for babies and/or clothes (two very different things, incidentally) would not automatically seem to preclude such love. And if you ask a woman which is more manly, the football hero who sleeps around or the, say, nicely dressed OB/GYN who is faithful to his wife, what do you think she's going to say?

LeeQuod

Gina wrote: "Jason, bless your heart".

(SNORT!) Stand-up comedian Chonda Pierce, who's from backwater Tennessee, says in the South you can say *ANYTHING* if you add "bless their heart". As in "You're a complete idiot, bless your heart".

I think what my buddy is trying to say is (contra what he read in Travis's comment, but probably not what Travis meant) that simply having a good day-to-day relationship with one's wife (being able to talk and such) yet not being willing to sacrifice one's life for her is less manly than being a monosyllabic grunt machine who would not hesitate to give up anything including life for the sake of his wife and family.

I've learned how to give up my desires for those I love, but I still struggle with being bitter.

And BTW, "monosyllabic grunt machine" is not my phrase, but my wife's. So you won't hear me claiming that I've arrived, even after more than a quarter-century of practice.

Gina Dalfonzo

Hey, wait a minute, THAT'S what my mom meant with all those years of "bless your hearts"??

(Didn't mean that, Jason, I promise! :-) )

Samuel X

Dave Ramsey says,

"'Bless yer heart' means a whole lot of things that you don't want to know."

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