In this post (Love and Sin) i briefly talk about the idea of sin being a rejection of love. I was recently asked how something relatively common, such as a lie, how that would be a rejection of love. It’s an interesting question, that I’m not really sure has a right answer.
In my quote by Merton, he states that the rejection of love is “the pattern and prototype of all sin.” Before diving to far into my thoughts, I want to define some terms:
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I just wrapped up “South of the Border, West of the Sun” by Haruki Murakami. As it has been with all the previous novels, I loved it. This novel is perhaps the most linear of the novels I’ve read so far. An interesting tid-bit about this novel: Murakami wrote this book while he lived in America for a few years during the 90s.
When I read, I normally have my moleskine somewhere nearby, and I often write down passages that move me while I read. Here are a few from this novel that moved me:
She gazed at me steadily as I talked. Something about her expression pulled people in. It was as if–this is something I thought of only later, of course–she were gently peeling back one layer after another that covered a person’s heart, a very sensual feeling. Her lips changed ever so slightly with each change in her expression, and I could catch a glimpse deep within her eyes of a faint light, like a tiny candly flickering in the dark, narrow room.
I stood there a long time, gazing at the rainswept streets. Once again I was a twelve-year-old boy staring for hours at the rain. Look at the rain long enough, with no thoughts in your head, and you feel your body falling loose, shaking free of the world of reality. Rain has the power to hypnotize.
Her eyes were like a deep spring in the shade of cliffs, which no breeze could ever reach. Nothing moved there, everything was still. Look closely, and you could just begin to make out the scene reflected in the water’s surface.
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“In a sense, this terrible situation is the pattern and prototype of all sin: the deliberate and formal will to reject disinterested love for us for the purely arbitrary reason that we simply do not want it. We will to seperate ourselves from that love. We reject it entirely and absolutely, and will not acknowledge it, simply because it does not please us to be loved. Perhaps the inner motive is that the fact of being loved disinterestly reminds us that we all need love from others, and depend upon the charity of others to carry on our own lives. And we refuse love, and reject society, in so far as it seems, in our own perverse imagination, to imply some obscure kind of humiliation.”
–Thomas Merton “The Seven Story Mountain“
It is an interesting idea that sin is really just a rejection of love. To be honest, I had to go to the dictionary to make sense of the term “disinterested love.” My first thought when reading this paragraph was “how can you love something disinterestly?” What the dictionary reminded me was disinterest is not the lack of interest, but the lack of self-interest.
I think that this is one of the most powerful aspects of the character of Jesus. His complete disinterested love for the whole world. It is an ideal that is simply amazing in scope. Just a fraction of this type of love would make such a difference in this world.
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