But what do I love, when I love Thee? — Saint Augustine, “Confessions”
We become like what we love. So runs the psychology of the ancients. In the process of loving, we behold, admire, and seek to grow similar to those things we love. If you want to be virtuous, love and habituate yourself to be like the virtuous person you know. If you want to be an artist, love what is beautiful. If you love what is beautiful, you might become much more than an artist. You might just become a beautiful soul.
The word “amateur” has negative connotations in English (or it can have). It denotes a non-professionalism. A naivety or a unskilled-ness. But what it meant originally was one who does something for the sake of their love for it. They don’t do it for money or because they are forced to. They practice whatever the art or occupation, because they loved it.
What do you love? What do you do because you love it? Does that activity make you become the type of person you want to become? Does it make you the type of amateur you want to be?
Saint Augustine asked the very interesting question, quoted above. He was praying to God, and he wondered, what did he love when he says he loves God? God is not a body somewhere, or an entity seen. God is Spirit, Truth, Beauty, Goodness, and Love. As well as a plethora of other qualifiers but in their absolute and transcendental sense. God is also a community of persons, the Trinity: three-in-one and one-in-three. When I love God, I grow to reflect this perfect love and unity of God.
Despite fairytale claims, our love is not limitless; that is, we are not vessels without bottoms holding an infinity of love. We pour out and we grow weary. What we love, and those we love, need to recharge us as well. But love does not exist in an economy or exchange. It is not a zero-sum game. We produce more than we pour out. Love is a creative action. And we could all fill the world with love.
May we learn to love well; may we learn to love what which transforms us into the people we want to be and to love that which will make the world into a better place. May we love without fear and without hesitation. And may our love always reflect the perfect love of God, who is Love and Light.