More Sweet for Hate and Heart's Desire

Dad29 sends some words from Dr. Russell Kirk:
We are not called to material success. We are called to obedience. We are called to love. The True, the Good, and the Beautiful will find their true place in our culture only when many more of us are obedient to Love.
"What is the object of human life? The enlightened conservative does not believe that the end or aim of life is competition; or success; or enjoyment; or longevity; or power; or possessions. He believes instead, that the object of life is Love. He knows that the just and ordered society is that in which Love governs us, so far as Love ever can reign in this world of sorrows; and he knows that the anarchical or the tyrannical society is that in which Love lies corrupt. He has learnt that Love is the source of all being, and that Hell itself is ordained by Love. He understands that Death, when we have finished the part that was assigned to us, is the reward of Love. And he apprehends the truth that the greatest happiness ever granted to a man is the privilege of being happy in the hour of his death. 
He has no intention of converting this human society of ours into an efficient machine for efficient machine-operators, dominated by master mechanics. Men are put into this world, he realizes, to struggle, to suffer, to contend against the evil that is in their neighbors and in themselves, and to aspire toward the triumph of Love. They are put into this world to live like men, and to die like men. He seeks to preserve a society which allows men to attain manhood, rather than keeping them within bonds of perpetual childhood. With Dante, he looks upward from this place of slime, this world of gorgons and chimeras, toward the light which gives Love to this poor earth and all the stars. And, with Burke, he knows that "they will never love where they ought to love, who do not hate where they ought to hate."
Well, now.  What ought a man to hate?

Not his enemy, to be sure!  Jesus said "I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you[.]  If you love those who love you, what reward will you get?  Are not even the tax collectors doing that?"

Chesterton put it into verse, a verse that all of you know well:

How white their steel, how bright their eyes! I love each laughing knave,
Cry high and bid him welcome to the banquet of the brave.
Yea, I will bless them as they bend and love them where they lie,
When on their skulls the sword I swing falls shattering from the sky.
The hour when death is like a light and blood is like a rose, --
You never loved your friends, my friends, as I shall love my foes.

If it is not the enemy, it is his evil; and you must hate the evil while loving the man.  This is fitting, for he ought to hate your evil -- and all of us have evil within us -- while loving you.

Follow the first link on the sidebar under "Chivalry," and you will find this:
 If I am to love a man, I must love him as he is; yet if I am to love him as I love myself, then I may fight with him to the degree that I would fight myself. I may even kill him, if there are things I would rather kill myself than be guilty of having done.  

If I can but forgive his soul, I am doing all that is asked in the Lord's Prayer: "Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us." If I can do that, then we may fight each other as hard as needs be -- and we may even love the chance to strike a blow for what is right, best, just. Even the most wicked man is therefore lovable, insofar as he gives us the greatest opportunity to create good in the world. Even our own capacity for sin is lovable, for the same reason. 
We are meant to hate the evil, but love the man. We often find evil in ourselves, which we should hate; and we should seek mercy for it. Yet we might also remember the good that comes of it. Another man, evil in his way, fights against us in his own glorious cause. For a moment, while he is fighting the evil in us, that wicked man is bright.

So, there are two lessons of substance here.  The first is this:  One of the things we might forgive God for is the idea of original sin.  For if it were not for the evil in us, others would not have the chance to strive brightly against a terrible foe.

The second is the answer to a question Cassandra once asked:  'Why can't we just do the right thing, because it is the right thing?'  The answer is that, if we did -- if we did just that -- no one would have the chance to brighten their spirit.

The evil in us bends to the good of others, and so even it is worth loving, in its way.  

4 comments:

Bob said...

Deep and heavy, my brother.

douglas said...

What's truly troubling is that we live in a world today where many around us deny the evil within each of us- everyone is good, all efforts are worthy of praise, self-esteem is all important. Would that we could make them see the importance of having esteem for your enemies instead.

Grim said...

You would first have to convince them that it was acceptable to have enemies. The preferred system is one in which we're all friends; if anyone is an 'enemy,' someone is being aggressive.

What we take as fundamental to the meaning of life -- indeed, very tightly related to the purpose or telos of life -- is a thing they would prefer to interpret as an error. A life that avoids the creation of enemies, however, is not a life worth living on any model I recognize; it is a very timid sort of life indeed.

douglas said...

Indeed, sir. Indeed.