In last week’s blog post, I shared something from St. Basil about love. A reader emailed me: “I got everything except the part about love being a wound.”
Sounds contradictory, right? If God’s love is perfect, how can we experience it as a wound? And why would that love hurt us?
Think back to the Valentines you gave your classmates in grade school – how often they depicted a heart pierced by an arrow. That arrow hints at the wound of love.
People groan after a big Thanksgiving meal because their stomachs have stretched from holding more food than usual. It hurts a little bit.
Same with our hearts. Sometimes in prayer, the amazement of God’s love starts to overwhelm us. Our heart hurts a little bit—we feel a pang of sorrow for not being able to contain all the love that we feel pouring into us. We might say “my heart is overflowing.” Our hearts are being stretched beyond their previous capacity.
A mother once told me that she didn’t like the prospect of having to divide her maternal love in half when her second child arrived. She later said she found out that love doesn’t divide, it multiplies. Her heart was “wounded by love” in expanding to include the new baby.
We feel the wound of love anytime we are confronted with something bigger and more beautiful than we can take in—a mountaintop view or a baby’s smile—anything that brings us to tears of joy or gratitude.