St. Teresa of Avila on Spiritual Love, continued

According to St. Teresa of Jesus, spiritual love is impassioned for teh salvatoin of the beloved and detached from self-interest. Spiritual love seeks the other’s spiritual best interest, even if that means that the beloved must suffer, or that the lover must be separated from the beloved (Way of Perfection, Ch. 7, paras. 1-3).

“I say again that spiritual love seems to be imitating that love which the good lover Jesus had for us. Hence, these lovers advance so far because they embrace all trials, and the others, without trial, receive benefit from those who love. And believe me, either these lovers will cut off their relationship–I mean special friendship–or they will obtain from our Lord that the one loved walk along their own way toward the same goal, as did St. Monica with St. Augustine. These lovers cannot in their hearts be insincere with those they love; if they see them deviate from the path or commit some faults they immediately tell them about it. They cannot help but do so” (Way of Perfection, Ch. 7, para. 4).

Co-dependency is not spiritual love. Toleration is not spiritual love.

So often, we are told that “unconditional love” means to ignore and tolerate faults. So often, we are told that “love” means being nice to people and avoiding conflict. Yet such sentiments are necessarily self-love: the person is afraid of losing the comfort or security of the relationship, so the person will not take a stand when it counts.

In fact, spiritual love means being willing to say “no.” Spiritual love means being willing to go so far as to even shun someone who is not living for God.

Spiritual love does not maintain earthly relationships with those who stray from God (Ch. 7, para. 7).

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