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Love Addiction as Theology Bruce K. Alexander Professor Emeritus Simon Fraser University Vancouver, BC, Canada.

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Presentation on theme: "Love Addiction as Theology Bruce K. Alexander Professor Emeritus Simon Fraser University Vancouver, BC, Canada."— Presentation transcript:

1 Love Addiction as Theology Bruce K. Alexander Professor Emeritus Simon Fraser University Vancouver, BC, Canada

2 St Augustine (426 AD) 01 … always rolling, with dark fear and cruel lust, in warlike slaughters and in blood, which, whether shed in civil or foreign war, is still human blood; so that their joy may be compared to glass in its fragile splendour, of which one is horribly afraid lest it should be suddenly broken in pieces.

3 St Augustine (397 AD) 02 … when my groaning bears evidence that I am displeased with myself, you shine out in me and are pleased and loved and longed for, so that I am ashamed of myself and renounce myself and chose you, and except in you, can please neither you nor myself.

4 St Augustine (397 AD) 03 I was starved inside me for inner food…. And for this reason my soul was in poor health; it burst out into feverish spots which brought the wretched longing to be scratched by contact with objects of sense…. It was a sweet thing to me both to love and to be loved, and more sweet still when I was able to enjoy the body of my lover.

5 St Augustine (397 AD) 04 Desiring to be captivated in this way, I fell headlong into love, My God and my mercy, how good you were to me in sprinkling so much bitterness over that sweetness! For I was loved myself, and I reached the point where we met together to enjoy our love, and there I was fettered happily in bonds of misery so that I might be beaten with rods of red-hot iron – the rods of jealousy and suspicions, and fears and angers and quarrels.

6 St Augustine (397 AD) 05 Once when your solemnities were being celebrated within the walls of your Church, I actually dared to desire and then to bring to a conclusion a business which deserved death for its reward. For this you lashed me with punishments that were heavy, but nothing in comparison with my fault…

7 St Augustine (397 AD) 06 … But I was still closely bound by my need of woman … I lacked the strength and … because of this one thing everything else with me was in confusion; I was tired out and wasted away with gnawing anxieties, because I was compelled to put up with all sorts of things which I did not want simply because they were inseparable from that state of living with a wife to which I was utterly and entirely bound…

8 St Augustine (397 AD) 07 Toys and trifles, utter vanities had been my mistresses, and now they were holding me back, pulling me by the garment of my flesh and softly murmuring in my ear: Are you getting rid of us? and … From this moment will you never for all eternity be allowed to do this or to do that? My God, what was it, what was it that they suggested in those words this or that which I have just written? I pray to you in your mercy to keep such things from the soul of your servant.

9 St Augustine (397 AD) 08 Almighty God, surely your hand is powerful enough to cure all the sicknesses of my soul and, with a more abundant measure of thy grace, to quench even the lustful impulses of my sleep. Lord, you will increase your gifts in me more and more, so that my soul … may follow me to you; so that it may not revolt against itself and may not, even in dreams, succumb to … those degrading corruptions which by means of sensual images actually disturb and pollute the flesh.

10 St Augustine (397 AD) 09 … So I will not allow my soul to listen to those who say to her: The difference is in the source of a mans happiness. That beggar found his joy in being drunk, you were looking for your joy in winning glory. What glory, Lord? A glory that was not in you. For just as the beggars joy was not true joy, so my glory was not true glory. Moreover it had a worse effect on my mind. The beggar would sleep off his drunkenness that very night; but I had gone to bed with mine and woken up with it day after day after day and I should go on doing so.

11 St Augustine (397 AD) 10 … I saw with my souls eye (such as it was) an unchangeable light shining above this eye of my soul and above my mind. It was not the ordinary light which is visible to all flesh, nor something of the same sort, only bigger, as though it might be our ordinary light shining much more brightly and filling everything with its greatness. No, it was not like that: it was different, entirely different from anything of the kind. Nor was it above my mind as oil floats on water or as the heaven is above the earth. He who knows truth knows that light, and he who knows that light knows eternity. Love knows it. O eternal truth and true love and beloved eternity!

12 Thomas Merton (1950) 11 Christianity is more than a moral code, more than a philosophy, more than a system of rites … in practice, the integral Christian life is something far more than all this. It is more than a belief; it is a life. That is to say, it is a belief that is lived and experienced and expressed in action … In plain words – if you can accept them as plain – Christianity is the life and death and resurrection of Christ going on day after day in the souls of individual men and in the heart of society.

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