For Love

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From Wendy Farley’s The Thirst for God: Contemplating God’s Love with Three Women Mystics [speaking here of the medieval mystic Mechtild of Magdeburg]: “Like the troubadours who created beautiful poetry of love-haunted, tragically separated lovers, Mechthild evokes longing and surrender to depict the soul transformed by love, for love, into love. For her, love is not an extrinsic emotion of the soul but the site where the divine and human flow together. The godhead is a flowing light that transforms the soul into itself. Mechthild burned with a devotion to the Holy Trinity and her God-hungry heart was impatient with everything that separated her from her Lover. Flowing light, flowing love: God seeks the soul, hunting after her, his queen and beloved, “a desire of my Godhead.” The Trinity is a noble empress, beautiful, refined, rosy in the blossom of youth. She is the queen whose home is the human heart. To an outcast beguine, Christ is her ready companion; because he has suffered, he is able to carry her sufferings. Through these images and reversals, Mechthild witnesses to the great beauty of divine love that flows unceasingly from the heights of heaven to the most humble soul. Where some church leaders envisioned divine power to be like their own, Mechthild’s theology called the church and society to practices of redemptive love. She invites her readers to permit this love to flow through us toward all the world.”



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