Think for just one second about why anybody does anything. What’s the driving force behind our actions? From the mundane to the sublime – brushing our teeth, eating, doing this instead of that, walking from this place to that, making love, going to church – you name it; why do we do anything?
Perhaps it’s because the basic human condition is to desire.
Even our simplest decisions any given day can be traced back to a fire buried deep within our chests – this fire that yearns, longs, aches, burns and serves as the guiding light for all of our decisions. When it comes down to it we are hungry. We are restless and unsatisfied. We are looking for something we’ve never had; searching for union with something, someone – whatever has inflicted us with this wound of love.
We launch out into the world saying, “Have you seen who has done this to my heart? Do you feel this too? Am I the only one? Am I crazy?” We are not complete and we are seeking completion. We are one vast lack, in some type of misery – seeking total satisfaction and totally helpless to achieve it on our own. Yet the foundation of our existence lies upon an abyss of desire running so deep that we can’t trace it or control it.
And that scares us. We are afraid to let this fire really burn. Do we think that it will be too much for us – that the ache will overcome us? Or, faced with our helplessness, are we scared that these desires really can’t be fulfilled (filled-full)? Why don’t be let the fire roar? Perhaps it helps, first, to know what exactly it is.
Might it be love? Not something dirty and unholy, but the mark of a Creator who says I will “draw all men to myself” (John 12:32)? Might it be our Lover reaching deep into our chests and squeezing our hearts so that we can sing that Song of Songs with all creation as we gasp, “I am sick with love” (Song 2:5). This face of love is what has been known as eros for thousands of years (erotic desire is much, much more than we think it to be nowadays). Eros is that unabashed desire for union, for ecstasy, for unqualified bliss, for total fulfillment, for being swept up in a pummeling of love, to know as we are fully known.
If, then, this is love that burns and aches within us – why don’t we let it loose? Sure it can be a bit unruly, but if we entrust it to God, He will unite it to that Fire which is completely trustworthy – the Holy Spirit. Moreover, the more we just let ourselves stay in the ache and long for wholeness, for union, for God (i.e. the more we let ourselves love), the more we will be propelled toward He who is the fulfillment of this desire. Our desire is our fuel; it is our breath. The more we have, the more we can speed toward His Heart. Listen to Papa Benedict:
The Fathers of the Church say that prayer, properly understood, is nothing other than becoming a longing for God. (Mary, The Church at the Source)
AH! “Deep calls unto deep” (Ps. 42:7). My friends, let’s unleash that pure desire buried in our souls. A desire that only gives rise to hope – for every bit of it shall be consummated! Let’s allow it to burn, let’s stay in the ache – for it will lead us to our Lover, the One who has “ravished our hearts” (Song 4:9). Like a bride and bridegroom on the eve of their wedding night, come to Him with naked desire – His desire is for you; unleash your desire for Him.
All of this was inspired by Christopher West’s book Fill These Hearts – read it.