This is a guest post by Tim Muldoon.
Dante’s epic poem The Divine Comedy ends with the line that describes love as moving the sun and all the other stars. Love, for Dante, is nothing short of the way the universe is supposed to be. Sin, on the contrary, is an interruption in the divine order of the universe—almost like a rearranging of the furniture in God’s living room. When we assert ourselves too much, we sin: we throw a perfectly tuned instrument out of pitch; we introduce a melody that does not harmonize with the rest of the heavenly chorus; we splash our own fingerpaint across a masterpiece of art.
I have found that I love best when I recall that cosmic vision of what love means. Why? Because it’s fabulously easy to get stuck in the smallness of what I want at the moment, whether food or rest or sex or time to myself or order or professional respect or whatever. My desires are small; God’s desires for me are eternal. On my wedding day, my Jesuit friend who gave the homily prophesied that, “you go into marriage imagining you’ll make sacrifices, and end up making sacrifices you could never imagine.” That prophecy has become more true every year, and especially now as we sprint headlong into another adoption. Love is ultimately not about me, nor even about Sue and me, but about the cosmos that God has created and into which he has placed us to do some good that only God can rightly order. Our job is to be humble and to listen. Remarkably, that hard lesson is at once the one with the lightest burden, for it is also the prerequisite for our greatest joys.
Tim Muldoon is the author of Longing to Love: A Memoir of Desire, Relationships, and Spiritual Transformation and The Ignatian Workout.