Essentially, the equation goes: A > B where C = B but if A < B, than C = 0.
A = Extremely high standards or expectations set for the self to accomplish
B = Achieving the minimum "high standard", usually above the average
C = The self
Please kindly keep in mind that math is something that I failed at horribly. Logic, I can handle. So.. not sure what happens when I try to combine the two.
Anyway, the point is that it is not uncommon to equate one's self-worth with only the visible achievements or set goals that have been set forth, and to then in consequence find one's self-worth null if those achievements are not accomplished.
What does this have to do with Love?
In the little discussion of self-worth and achievement, the underlying system that is at work is that there is a measurable value to an individual, and that it is measured in a system or hierarchy which the individual sets up. If the individual does not personally set forth all of that hierarchy, than the immediate family, the school, society and culture set up the rest. This means that value, which is a good, must be done, or requires action. Another way of saying it is that the good requires work, or must be shown or revealed by action.
In general, many of us can probably agree with that system. We see hungry people, or homeless people, or people who need medicine or education; we understand that they cannot have these things unless other people assist them, and unless they themselves act to change their circumstances.
However, we need to be cognisant of what isn't being said here; that good can exist de facto. If value or good had to be active, than many things could not be considered a good. I, for one, find many types of rocks to be very beautiful. I may be a nerd because of it, but the point is that the beauty is one that is still. It is good because it is beautiful, and not because it does anything. It can be a specific kind of good when it is used in the building of a house, for example, but that does not remove the good that it has simply by being a nice looking rock.
Further, a baby cannot do much. We all know that they eat, sleep, pooh, cry, and that is about it. Of course they smile and laugh and respond, etc... but in a world of activity and accomplishment, babies seem to be on the bottom rung. Does that remove the value they have as a human being? God forbid! Of course it does not (though there are those who argue just that!). The point is that there is certainly and clearly a good that is inherent, innate, intrinsic to the person that cannot be nullified by his or her activity or inactivity.
And therefore, to Love. Love, my friends, is not first and primarily a verb. We certainly do love. We act in love, or we can act unlovingly. We also speak, however, of being in love. This would imply that someone has a state of being which happens to be love. How is this possible? Is he or she constantly and at all times acting the love? Perhaps he or she is constantly feeling love, but there cannot be a perpetual acting of love. Unless, of course, your being (your existence), is acting and is Love.
Hooray! God! Yep. He is always in-action, (and you can enjoy reading St. Thomas Aquinas and Aristotle another time, because it will take a few pages to go through it here) and he is always Love. He is Love. That is, Love is first and foremost a state of being, and that state of being is a Person, and in fact, that state of being is a Godhead, three Persons in One God, the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. St. John says it so simply: "Whoever is without love does not know God, for God is love" (1 Jn 4:8). This means that Love is first a state of being, a knowing, a NOUN, before love is an action-verb.
This is vitally important for us to digest because we are going to spend our entire lives trying to love; most of the time, we are going to feel that we are failing to love adequately, or we are being failed by others who do not love us adequately, and we are not going to feel the warm fuzzies of accomplishment about that high and lofty goal of being a "loving" person or being "in-love" our whole lives.
Guess what? That's ok. It's actually a very good thing. This is because there is only ONE who is Love, and that is God. And therefore if we are to partake in love, whether that is to love another or to be loved by another, to do something good for a friend or family member, to be charitable, to be "worthy of love," we have to participate in the Noun of Love before we can act in the verb.
So... get to praying. I cannot say how strongly my heart has been convicted of the need to pray! We must meet Him who IS Love in his revelation; first and foremost, through his Church, and in the Church, through Sacred Scripture and Sacred Tradition. This is how Love has revealed himself to us. We are to dialogue with him, to get to know him, to understand that he is a proper noun. We are to receive from him the love that he gives, which is always faithful and always true, and then we will be able to give some of that love ourselves. We need to know Jesus more and more, to understand that a living relationship means that daily we are fed by Love. As long as we keep living, we are going to need to actively love. Therefore, as long as we keep living, we are going to need to return to the source, to Love himself, to receive from his bounty.
The value, the good of the Creator, of the Word, of the Holy Spirit, of Love himself in the Blessed Trinity, is given to us, to his creatures. We possess that goodness as a gift! Yet, we have an obligation, duty and requirement because of that gift, to nourish it and to aid it in growing, in maturing, so that the gift becomes actualized to its full potential! What is this full potential? Beatitude. Eternal Life with God, who is Love. That is the aim and the goal of the goodness inherent in us. That is the reason that we must meet Love as the Noun who is the One who came to save us all from sin and death and lead us to eternal life. We cannot give what we have not received; Love has offered himself to us. Will we accept?
The true equation must be something like:
The true equation must be something like:
A = B = C
Where A = God, who is Love
B = Love given to men by God, the invitation to know him and love him in return
C = The fulfillment of each of us as persons, known and loved by God, returning that love with all that we have