Measuring up to Measurelessness of Love

How can we measure the immeasurable? The fact that we can love we can receive and give love without measure point out that we live a love that is immeasurable. True love is to love without measure. This means love exceeds and transgresses all our measures. Love cannot be calculated, measured and be plain careful. Love is excess and beyond all measures. Love cannot follow the calculus of exchange. It does not belong to the market. It belongs to the absolute horizon where we do the impossible. The horizon of the possible is measurable and is closed. Such a closed horizon closes us. Therefore, the language of love cannot reflect the language of business and economics. Love cannot be an investment. True love loves without attaching any strings. Love calls us to be ‘answerable to’. It is not so much ‘answerable before’ any given ideal of love. But this does not mean that anything can go as love. Love cannot harm the loved one. if it does it cannot be love.

Love transgresses the economic model of exchange. Love follows an excessive model. It is the element of excess that gives power to the initial act of loving regardless of the consequences. It belongs to the order that makes us ‘answerable to’ and not ‘answerable before’. Love that belongs to order that makes us ‘answerable to’ is an original and abundant gift and can be both extravagant and reciprocal. Our love is only ‘answerable before’ the excessive love of God. Perhaps it is in this meeting or comingling of being ‘answerable to and answerable before’ that there is a meeting point of the model of excess and the model of exchange.

One may raise the question that asks: can excess be exchanged? Excess cannot be exchanged. It produces excess. God gives us so that we give what we receive to others. God, therefore, gives through our giving. Our giving continues God’s giving. God’s giving produces its own economy of giving. Love being excessive is also one that produces its own economy of love where there is mutuality as well as simply loving without receiving. This means love does not have to be only reciprocal but carries its own impossibility. It carries its own reverse engineering when love fails to be love. This occurs when love fails to keep its promise and becomes unacceptable. Love is so precious that it carries its own impossibility within it. This is why love remains always in the coming, always in the promise. We are always in danger of transgressing as well as exceeding the algorithm of love (if there is any such a thing). Therefore, love embeds its own deconstruction within it. There is thus, dynamism and indeterminacy in love and stands beyond what Derrida calls the metaphysics of presence.

Love is an ethic of excess. Like love, friendship belongs to the ethic of excess. It calls us to be excessively responsible. We may find similar echoes of excessive responsibility in the encyclical letter of Pope Francis, Fratelli Tutti. There is an unconditional come or future anterior affirmation in friendship since there are only Christic openings or overflows. This is the excessive responsibility that calls us to continuously transform the becoming of friendship so that it always remains saturated into Christic modes of being human in the world. The Christic dynamism in our friendship offers us room to continuously grow and exceed our previous levels of friendships. Christic modes of friendship can only exceed and have to exceed as we are called ‘be answerable before’ an inexhaustible measure of an unmeasurable model of Christ’s Love lived on a daily basis by being ‘ answerable to ’ the call of Christ in the Other ( creation and human).

This indicates that there is a double responsibility. The first is the one that calls us to be ‘answerable to’ Christ in the Other while the other is the one that calls to be ‘to be answerable before’ our Lord Jesus Christ. Our ‘answerability to’ overflows simultaneously into our ‘answerability before’ but we have the challenge to remain in what Levinas calls ethical saying and not merely the ethical said. The ethical said summons our ethical saying challenging us to live up to measure Christ’s Love. To us, the ethical saying is imbued in the ethical said We do tilt towards the an-archy of the dynamism of ‘answerability to’ but we do not turn away from arche of our ‘answerability before’ Christ and His Church. We have the challenge to let the singularity of our ethical ‘answerability’ to Christ in the Other be soaked into our collective/ universal ‘answerability before’ Jesus Christ and His Church. The imperative of ‘answerability to’ the Other in Jesus Christ and the ‘answerability before’ Jesus and the Church has to be based on what the Pope calls the principle of capacity to love. It is through this principle of capacity to love that we can envisage an open world which leads us to go outside of ourselves with a heart open to the whole and find fuller existence in the Other. This means we need a better politics that renders no one useless and expendable. To build a world build on the spirit of friendship, the Holy Father exhorts us to eliminate war and nuclear arms and calls for the establishment of a global fund for the elimination of hunger with the money invested in the weapons

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Hypocrisy is the tribute that vice pays to virtue.

- Fr Victor Ferrao