Friday, December 23, 2011

More on getting small

During his October 30, 2010 address, the Pope answered a question from a member of the audience: What does it mean to love completely?  How can we learn to love?  His response, via Irregular Theology:

It is very important, fundamental, I would say, to learn to love, to really love, to learn the art of true love! ... (I)f you only look at yourself, you never grow up! You grow up when you no longer let the mirror be the only truth of yourselves but when you let your friends tell you the truth. You will grow up if you are able to make your life a gift to others, not to seek yourselves, but to give yourselves to others: this is the school of love. 
When I was drinking, the egomaniac with a self-esteem problem was essentially an adolescent, although that does a disservice to many adolescents.  My mirror was essentially inside my head.  I wasn't honest enough -- with myself or anybody else -- to acknowledge that the yardstick by which I measured situations was me and whether something would affect what I wanted to do (mostly drink).

The Pope's direction parallels what a newcomer will hear in an 12 step meeting: Go to meetings and be with other addicts.  Get a service position.  Get involved because you need to be available to others and less reliant on yourself.

While a 12 step program isn't necessary, this attitude is essential.  It is the school of love -- love of family, mature and healthy love of yourself, and a love that the Church calls caritas.

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