Love and need

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When people are truly in love, they experience far more than just a mutual need of each other’s company and consolation. In their relations with each other they become different people: they are more than their everyday selves, more alive, more understanding, more enduring… They are made over into new beings. They are transformed by the power of their love. Love is the revelation of our deepest personal meaning, value and identity. But this revelation remains impossible as long as we are the prisoners of our own egoism…. My true meaning and worth are shown to me not in my estimate of myself, but in the eyes of the one who loves me; and that one must love me as I am, with my faults and limitations, revealing to me the truth that these faults and limitations cannot destroy my worth in the eyes of that one who loves me; and that I am therefore valuable as a person, in spite of my shortcomings, in spite of the imperfections of my exterior “package.” The package is totally unimportant. What matters is this infinitely precious message which I can discover only in my love for another person. And this message, this secret, is not fully revealed to me unless at the same time I am able to see and understand the mysterious and unique worth of the one I love.

— Thomas Merton (1915-1968),  from “Love and Need”

 

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