Once upon a time there was a man who was alive.

Location: Hattiesburg, Mississippi, United States
St. Cuthbert and Disciples in a Boat


Manikos Eros

Nicholas Cabasilas spoke of God’s love towards us as being manikos eros, 'crazy love', 'foolish love'. It is a vivid term, and has stuck in my head since I read it not to long back. For God’s love towards us is not some mere niceness that gently pats us on the head and whispers a few words of vague encouragement. It is not a philanthropy that, feeling sorry for us offers benevolence-money to salve its guilt. It is not a love that half-way loves: it is a love that seems even reckless, a love that lays down its life. His love is such that He does not only seek our betterment, but He seeks our profit (profit wildly beyond anything we could ever imagine, and utterly beyond monetary value) at the expense of His own life. Our Lord loves His bride- with intense jealousy and holy passion, as the Prophets delight in dwelling upon- and His love compels Him to take on His bride’s wretched estate, to make Himself man, bearing her infirmities, and die for her. His love is so great that He makes Himself man and dies for man, so that He might truthfully say flesh of my flesh to us, and raise us to His own estate. Adam’s bride was drawn from his side during peaceful sleep; Christ’s bride was drawn from His side in terrible agony and suffering. And Adam needed his wife as a helper, but the Lord has no such need; rather, His is the perfect love of God in Trinity.

Such is God’s love: love that gives freely of Himself, to creatures filthy and undeserving. Madness, we would probably call it, scandalous, manikos eros: why should Someone so high and lofty put on rags and poverty to gain a bride arrayed in such filth? Dust and ashes we are, but Immortality has put such on, and in so doing He has made the way for our dust and ashes to become light and life. Our fallen nature He has willingly borne, so that it might perish, and His Beloved be made radiant.

This is love, the love of the Cross, the perfect love of the Triune God, eternal and unfathomable, fiery in its beauty. It is the love with which we have been filled, the love that has pulled us up out of the slimy pit, that has promised to transfigure us into very sons of God. His love is joy, is mystery, is life past understanding.


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