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Wednesday, November 30, 2011

The Madness of Love

(Rose Window dedicated to Mary,
circa 1235, at Chartres Cathedral,
located about 50 miles south of Paris;
the medieval cathedral was built in the
High Gothic style mainly between 1194
and 1260)

We now conclude our look at Agape, the final part of the study of love we began in June.

In our work we were inspired by C. S. Lewis, who wrote about the four kinds of love, using the Greek names: “Charity means love. It is called
Agape in the New Testament to distinguish it from Eros (sexual love), Storge (family affection) and Philia (friendship).”

The poem below was written by Hadewijch of Antwerp, a 13th-century poet and mystic. She was a member of the Beguines, one of the many medieval Catholic communities of lay women in the Low Countries, including Belgium, Holland, and Luxembourg. The women devoted their lives to their faith and their work with the poor.

The madness of love
Is a blessed fate;
And if we understood this
We would seek no other;
It brings into unity
What was divided,
And this is the truth:
Bitterness it makes sweet,
It makes the stranger a neighbor,
And what was lowly it raises on high.

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