Ordo amoris, the ordering of affections, of loves, is a notion attributed to Augustine of Hippo, the north African bishop and saint from the fourth century. I've been pondering this idea all night. There is so much out of order. Margaret Guenther was on campus to deliver a lecture and answer some questions. She's really quite astonishing as were some of her insights into the spiritual life.
Spirituality is, in the most simple terms, the ordering of our loves. There are then many, many spiritualities out there. Some are beneficial. Some are not. Some are saintly. Some are dangerous. Often there is overlap. Often we're working several spiritual paths simultaneously. A great deal of self-awareness must be developed if we are to navigate these waters.
Though she said nothing "new," this is spirituality after all, she said some things in ways that I had not heard before and that was helpful. This Augustinian notion especially was helpful for me in my work. How does Naomi Cumming's idea of "listening as an act of love" immesh with "ordo amoris"? There is much to consider.
In other news, it rained last night.
Again You have come in the form of the Sraban,
You have enveloped Yourself in a cloud veil.
The sun is lost,
Lost too are the stars;
In the darkness
they lose their way.
Waves surge up
in the river water.
The whole sky, the whole earth
are filled with the message of pouring rain.
My dark night rings out madly
with the constant drumming
of battering sheets of rain;
in every vein of mine.
One more thing from last evening: You cannot give what you do not have. If you wish to give love, you must cultivate it in yourself. If you wish to give peace, cultivate it within yourself. If you wish to offer wisdom, insight, humility, you must cultivate it within yourself.
This thing that we do, this "religious life," this "spiritual path," is no joke. It is not a plaything. It is not simply a tool for self-improvement. It is, instead, a means of understanding how we are all, in the end, part of one another. There is no other life than life together.