Love's Sacred Order: The Four Loves Revisited

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9780898707915: Love's Sacred Order: The Four Loves Revisited
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When seeking to understand Christian love with some precision, we inevitably come to speak about order in loving. The title of this book, Love's Sacred Order, is intended to address the problem of the need for clarification in the matter of love, above all the question of the relationship among the different kinds of love, all of which make their legitimate claim on us. A central concern of these reflections is the fact that we can do as much harm to ourselves by being too restrictive as by being too permissive in what we allow to come under the heading of Christian love.

The main intent of these meditations is to explore what the hierarchy might be that God established among all our human loves, on the one hand, and between these and the gratuitously revealed love of God?that uncreated mystery, "kept secret for long ages", to which we could not have had access if God himself had not taken the initiative to manifest it in Christ Jesus.

The author approaches this subject pondering and responding to issues raised in the widely known work of C.S. Lewis, The Four Loves, of which the year 2000 marks the fortieth anniversary of publication. This volume, then, is offered as a modest contribution to our celebration of this year of the Great Jubilee of our redemption, as well as an homage to the great Christian writer.

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Leiva-Merikakis presents these meditations as, at least in part, a fortieth anniversary commemoration of C. S. Lewis' influential The Four Loves, originally published in 1960. Although he hasn't written a commentary on Lewis, Leiva-Merikakis does illuminate the earlier book, and that illumination infuses his meditations structurally and stylistically. Leiva-Merikakis is best when he struggles toward an understanding of friendship rather than erotic attachment as the shape of human love that underlies community. Like Lewis, he takes his meditations in a theological direction that is generally conservative, but, also like Lewis, his appreciation of language often carries him to insights that transcend theological conservatism. Many may find in these meditations a congenial way to reconnect with Lewis' work and also an accessible point of contact with biblical and classical accounts of friendship, some of them dating from as far back as the earliest extant literature. Steven Schroeder
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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