“Don’t worry about what you ought to do. Worry about loving!”
~ Carlo Carretto (1910 -1988)
What are we supposed to do? With our days, with our lives, with the choices and decisions before us, with our problems, and with each other?
What are we supposed to do?!
It’s no wonder that anxiety rages within us and and all around us. It defines our world.
Is there a unifying idea or principal which can set us on a better course? One which might help cut to the heart of the matter, and salve the disquieting ache and anxiety which so often fills our days?
40 years ago a young priest by the name of Carlo Caretto agonized over this question, retreating for a number of years into the most desolate parts of the Sahara. There he wrote his classic, “Letters from the Desert.”
In this site we are mainly exploring ways to restore and revel in sexual and romantic life and passion. Most agree this is a reasonable idea, but it seems we are often lost as to where to begin. What can we do anyway, that will really make a difference? It’s easy to be discouraged, and tired. Efforts can easily feel pointless.
Caretto argues that extravagant and reckless loving not only brings healing to our marriage relationships, but to everything else as well.
Ponder these words and this frank invitation to consider very intentional loving as the antidote to what ails us.
“In the world, everything is problematic except one thing: charity, love. Love alone is not a problem for him who lives it.
I can only say, “Live love, let love invade you. It will never fail to teach you what you must do.”
It is love which gives things their value. And it is love which must determine one’s actions, love which must give unity to what is divided.
Love is the synthesis of contemplation and action, the meeting-point between heaven and earth, between God and humanity.
Don’t worry about what you ought to do. Worry about loving!
Don’t interrogate heaven repeatedly and uselessly saying, “What course of action should I pursue?” Concentrate on loving instead.
And by loving you will find out what is for you. Loving, you will listen to the Voice. Loving, you will find peace.
Love is the fulfillment of the law and should be everyone’s rule of life; in the end it’s the solution to every problem, the motive for all good.”
~ “Letters from the Desert,” by Carlo Carretto
This candid counsel and encouragement is in such stark contrast to what we mostly hear.
“Take care of your own needs, your own plans and passions; negotiate your marital and family life to advantage, protect your interests,” and then, to top it all off indulge in that curiously egocentric obsession; “simplify your life.” A self-focused and pretentious luxury that so many cannot afford.
Are these things really the answer to our loneliness and emotional pain? To our anxieties and countless frustrations?
Carretto suggests that to everything that confronts us in our day, that we apply first… the salve of love.
Not “random acts of kindness,” (a feel-good fix at best), but something quite conscious and intentional. Something wily and adamant. A kind of self-forgetting, and perhaps quite counter-culture. But maybe the way out!
Think of something that is currently quite harassing or anxiety provoking; a person or a situation or a blatant reality. Something that (perhaps) is driving you nuts, and maybe wearing you out. The “insanity” of course, is that we often keep going after these things the same way, day after day.
How might the very intentional choice to pour love into this situation affect and shape this problem, and outcome?
How might this decisive offer of love differ from what you’d planned? What you normally do?
How might things unfold in your life if you stay the old course; nothing new?
What might happen, what impasse might be permanently broken by this unrestrained practice and expression of love?
Perhaps pick just one thing that comes to mind, and consider an almost revolutionary tact.
Truly, we have nothing to lose by trying, and maybe everything to gain.
Once again, “carpe diem!