Translation Louise Thunin
A taste of sweetness in a brutish world was the slogan – a happy choice ! – by a brand of chocolate. And our contemporaries adopted and repeated it, proving, finally, that we don’t always feel all that strong. In France, we consume a lot of tranquilizers, and we also love our chocolate, which is a very good anti-depressant : ˝a bar of tenderness,˝ as one teenager said, despite her fear of gaining weight.
John said : ˝ Let us love one another, for love is of God.˝ (I John 4 : 7) It’s an appealing idea. In our day and age we like compassion and kindness ; we need love. What we fear the most is violence and hatred. Take, for example, Jihadists. Their terrorist attacks horrify us a thousand times more than automobile accidents, cancer or AIDS. Everyone nowadays has a natural streak of brotherly tenderness, if not maternal as well, in his heart.
John said,˝ God is love.˝ And it’s true that in thirteenth century Valenciennes, a Beguine sister, Marguerite Porète, extended that idea : ˝ and love is God,˝ she said. But she was carried off to Paris and burnt at the stake on Place de la Grève on June 1st, 1310, because she was more interested in love than in the Credo, the Eucharist, the Trinity, the Incarnation, Redemption and all the other Church dogma.
But indeed, the majority of our contemporaries are no longer interested in listening to priests and pastors repeating truths that they don’t believe and that, moreover, are of no use to anyone. They no longer want to go on eternally singing hymns with outlandish words. And yet, all these people who like to hope for a taste of sweetness in a brutish world are talking about love. And even if they never go to church, I don’t find them far from the Gospel. For John really did say, ˝love is of God,˝ and Marguerite Porète felt it too : ˝love is God.˝