Day 16 – Love and the Hierarchy of Values
Love, for Augustine, is not a static reality but a dynamic force. It is a movement that pulls the person from within towards the object loved. “My love is my weight” Augustine says. It is like the force which draws the falling leaves to rest on the ground. This mysterious force is experienced by man as a restlessness, a longing. But there is, according to Augustine, a false love and a true love. Augustine defines true love as “charity,” that love by which we love what we ought to love , or the “love of the thing which is to be enjoyed, and of the thing which is able to enjoy that thing together with us.” (De doc. chris. I, 35, 39). Love, to be true, must respect a hierarchy of goods (=values) wherein God alone is to be enjoyed for His sake, oneself and neighbour to be enjoyed for the sake of God (“in Deo”) and things are to be used. False love, on the other hand, is that love which does not respect this order.