Jesus is reported to have said something like, “What you do to the least of these, you do to me.” Since I was a little girl I loved that moment—but as a hyperbole, a charismatic teacher’s device to compel his followers to compassion. Except, it was not, was it? To the end depth of it, in every way and detail, he meant exactly what he said.
I walk through this world, and with every step, every sight I feel that it is Him, His very beloved body, inseparable. He is in all things, as it was from the beginning, but he walked where we walk and felt the wind on his face, and he looked at the faces of his Creation, contorted by pain and by hope, and he told us that we are Him.
It takes us a while to understand that he told us why God had created the world.
I needed him to tell me again, yet we’d known it all along, and we’ve said it again and again: God is Love. And those who don’t use the word “God” have tended to realize also that the ultimate Good is love. Throughout history, humanity has known this. Why, then, do we still think the meaning of life is an unanswered question?
Love is the active Good in that it requires at least two subjects. And it requires awareness of each other. Love, then, is the Divine Reality in its act of flowing between God and the world and between the souls in the world. Love is the flow of Good in the temporal universe. Love is the presence of God in Creation. Love is that which connects all matter spiritually to itself and to its Source and Destination. Love is the glue and the fabric of existence—both completely ecstatic as God’s animating breath and completely indispensible as a necessity of our reality.
But love is only possible when there is more than one, for it is a flowing thing from one to another, a marvel of embrace and sacrifice, the giving over of self, the basking in beauty unknown and the discovery that comes only with trust. Love is the active Good and requires another. I do not know what God had intended or foreseen in His atemporal reality when the world was not—most likely because neither could I grasp such a thing nor does it necessarily matter—but I know that Love as the flow of God’s nature came to be with the existence of a temporal universe. The Eternal Goodness can embrace another in Love, perhaps, only in an imperfect, maybe even only in a time-bound state that allows for the distinction of selves.
Individuation of subjects from Divinity, to whatever degree we are indeed distinct, though not separate, allows us to experience Love and in that to be consciously aware of Divine Goodness. But it also allows us to experience suffering—the inevitable side-effect of imperfection that comes inevitably with temporality, the product of partial distinction from God.
We are coming home in the end. On the Last Day, at the end of time, the goal of temporal existence will have been reached, probably, in a myriad ways unfathomable to a human mind. But profoundly, it will have been reached in that Creation, having changed and developed through its long life, will be ready to become complete and to rejoin its Source once again in eternity, in the most intimate and perfect way, but having been enriched by the temporal experience of individuation and awareness of the active Good. Having learned to love.