Tuesday, October 31, 2017

How Do I Love Thee

How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
I love thee to the depth and breadth and height
My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight
For the ends of Being and ideal Grace.

I love thee to the level of everyday's
Most quiet need, by sun and candle-light.
I love thee freely, as men strive for Right;
I love thee purely, as they turn from Praise.
I love thee with the passion put to use
In my old griefs, and with my childhood's faith.
I love thee with a love I seemed to lose
With my lost saints,—I love thee with the breath,
Smiles, tears, of all my life!—and, if God choose, I shall but love thee better after death.

(Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Sonnets from the Portuguese #43; 1845–1846 and published first during 1850; a collection of 44 love sonnets)

While babysitting my granddaughter I heard the above poem on a “Classical Baby” episode – a series of poems brought to live by voice and images.   A mother recited this poem to her child being held in her lap.  She will love this child to the end of her life: “I shall love thee better after death.”

As the first line indicates, there are many ways to love.  For some of us expressing love – deep and abiding love – is difficult and might never be expressed for fear that love will be rejected.  Perhaps we should remember that God is love so fear is misplaced and a barrier to be shed.

So, how does God love us?   Too many ways to count.

Deacon David Pierce

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