Hecato, says: “I can show you a philtre, compounded without drugs, herbs, or any witch’s incantation: ‘If you would be loved, love.'”
Seneca ~ Moral Letters to Lucilius IX.6
My dad has cancer. This is one of those numbingly painful things that has been pulling my heart and peace to shreds. So I have been going to back to essentials: prayer and Mindfulness, a heart turned toward simplicity and Stoicism resting in the peace of Christ. It has also led to some conversations with family. Most particularly a very insightful moment with my mom.
We were talking about life – that whole messy business and something clicked. She was expressing how her whole life she had never really felt loved. My dad and I were assuring her that she was loved but there was the feeling of standing on the edge of a cliff. I came up with some wholly inarticulate version of “I have been trying to tell you I love you my whole life but you never believe it.” Which led to her realizing the kind of odd cruelty her own lack of self worth inflicts on everyone who loves her. No one can ever love you enough that you feel loved unless you have the faith that you are loved. The only way you feel love is love someone else and have faith that they love you.
With a new appreciation of this truth I see it all around me. In Seneca’s quote from Hecato. in random articles I read online and in thr Prayer of St Francis:
Lord, make me an instrument of Thy peace;
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
Where there is injury, pardon;
Where there is doubt, the faith;
Where there is despair, hope;
Where there is darkness, light;
And where there is sadness, joy.
O Divine Master, Grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled, as to console;
To be understood, as to understand;
To be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive;
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
And it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.
It seems that it is always in pain that we learn more about love. I hope that my mother can see that the truest path to being loved is to love with no regard for any return but to love wholly and Holy and true.