Rosicrucian Writings Online


By Martha Pingel, Ph.D.

[From The Rosicrucian Digest May 1960]
One expresses well only the love he does not feel.
                                    --J. A. Karr
There are times when I tend to agree with this statement; at other times it arouses a strong healthy skepticism.  Love is not an intangible; it is the force that welds us into solidity as members of the human family, the force that literally as well as figuratively holds the world together.
Without love there can be no inspiration, no beauty, no lasting achievement.  To say that real love is incapable of expression is to deny the main feature of love--an outgoing of self toward others; a capacity for sharing.
Probably J. A. Karr was thinking of verbal expression alone.  All of us know that words can fail us in time of crisis, tragedy, or great joy.  Yet there are times when words are capable of expressing deep feeling.  For example, would anyone rule out the abiding love for God found in the Psalms of David?  Would anyone deny that Elizabeth Barrett Browning created a lasting verbal tribute to her husband in expression of a great love?  And was it not love and the ability to express that love to others that made Jesus the founder of a great religion!
But why limit our idea of expression to words?  Think of all the non-verbal expressions of love--love in action; the unselfish behavior of lover to the beloved; the love of mother for child expressed in shining gratitude in her eyes; the thousand-and-one little signs of the deep and abiding love by the awakened soul for all creation.  To be sure we cannot analyze love, or explain it.  We either comprehend love and feel its power, or we know nothing at all of life and its force.  And, if we love sincerely, our lives become the finest expression of that love.
Webmaster's Note:  Elizabeth Barrett Browning's famous poem to her husband reads:
              How Do I Love Thee
How do I love thee?  Let me count the ways.
I love thee to the depth and breadth and height
My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight
For the ends of Being and Ideal Grace.
I love thee to the level of every day's
Most quiet need, by sun and candle-light.
I love thee freely, as men strive for right;
I love thee purely, as they turn from praise.
I love thee with the passion put to use
In my old griefs; and with my childhood's faith.
I love thee with a love I seemed to lose
With my lost saints. I love thee with the breath,
Smiles, tears, of all my life!--and, if God choose,
I shall but love thee better after death.
Elizabeth Barrett Browning
From Quotable Poems: An Anthology of Modern Verse, Volume Two
compiled by Thomas Curtis Clark

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