In his Treatise on the Love of God, Saint Francis de Sales closes a chapter with the following remark:
For even as man is the image of God, so the sacred love of man towards man is the true image of the heavenly love of man towards God. But this subject of the love of our neighbour requires a treatise apart, which I beseech the sovereign lover of men to will to inspire into some one of his most excellent servants, since the supreme love of the divine goodness of the heavenly Father, consists in the perfection of the love of our brothers and companions.
Francis asks his Lord that someone, or maybe many someones, should come along to teach us about the perfection of love and the union with God which consist of seeing Jesus in our neighbours and being, praying, and acting accordingly.
Who has come? So many! Some of the most precise and compelling formulas I can remember come from Jacques Maritain LBJ:
We listen to them, are ready to be of service, become attentive to all that they are, to their infinite value as people loved by God. That is what a contemplative attitude toward others is. It calls for a dispossession of the self, a true detachment, in which we no longer belong to ourselves. Love for others is as demanding and unmerciful as is the love of God. It demands that we live with others, that we exist with them. It is truly contemplation but of a particular kind. It is contemplation on the roads by which Jesus leads us, following him, going with him towards the little ones, in order to make us discover with them the loving face of God.
In addition, I can think of – and I have tried to reproduce on this blog – many passages and lengthy teachings from
- Blessed Charles de Foucauld
- René Voillaume LBJ
- Charles Cardinal Journet
- Marcel Văn CSsR
- not to mention so many saints from before Francis’ own time, whose emphasis on this love of seeing Jesus in our neighbours has often been left unduly unnoticed
– all of which more or less give such a “treatise”, piecemeal or entire. That is contemplation on the roads and in the mud: to see Jesus in our neighbours, really deeply see and know and thus, of course, be and act.
And if, with this blog, I can draw even the slightest attention to this fact, then the blog will have served a good purpose indeed. ^^