i am rereading a book right now - one of my absolute "must read" recommendations" - and something he says in the opening interview of the book struck me like a thunderbolt. this author is not a poet or a reclusive scholar-priest, but the son of a russian diplomat, raised in persia during the russian revolution, shipwrecked in gibraltar, gypsied across europe in poverty, eventually teaching math, chemistry and latin to pay for his education as a doctor. he became a french citizen, joined the revolution and served in WWII as both a surgeon and a revolutionary. he secretly took monastic vows because you could not be both a monk and a doctor. he is no dusty couch potato.
"so often when we say 'i love you' we say it with a huge 'i' and a small 'you'. we love as a conjunction instead of it being a verb implying action. it's no good just gazing out into open space hoping to see the Lord; instead we have to look closely at our neighbor, someone whom God has willed into existence, someone whom God has died for. everyone ... has a right to exist, because he has value in himself, and we are not used to this. the acceptance of otherness is a danger to us, it threatens us. to recognize the other's right to be himself might mean recognizing his right to kill me. but if we set a limit at his right to exist, it's no right at all. Love is difficult. Christ was crucified because he taught a kind of love which is a terror for men, a love which demands total surrender: it spells death."