Catching up on my back reading of America, I came across an article that quoted from an interview Cardinal Ratzinger gave prior to becoming Pope Benedict XVI. He said that “love means being dependent on something that can perhaps be taken away from me, and therefore introduces a huge risk of suffering into my life.” Love means “seeing my self-determination limited” and “coming to depend on something I can’t control so that I can suddently plunge into nothingness.”
Well, that doesn’t sound all that inviting, does it? One can see the temptation so say, as Ratzinger suggests as a possible response, “I’d rather not have love,” thank you very much. If I don’t love, I don’t face rejection, hurt and disapointment in another. In the words of the old Simon and Garfunkel song, “A rock feels no pain and an island never cries.”
As Ratzinger goes on to suggest, however, we are invited to a different response. “The decision that comes from Christ is another: Yes to love.” The “true drama of history,” he suggests can be “reduced to this formula: Yes or no to love.”
Yes to the possibility of pain. Yes to the possiblity of rejection. Yes to the possiblity of disappointment. Yes to the risk that “I can suddenly plunge into nothingness.”
But also yes, in the words of the author of the article I read, to that which “alone brings us to ourselves and makes us what we should be.” Yes to opening ourself to another. Yes to swimming in the ocean of God’s love. Yes to being that which we were created to be – persons of love.
Yes or no to love? Is there really any question?