The Art of Love

“The art of arts is the art of love.  Nature, and God, the Author of nature, has reserved to himself the teaching of it.  Love itself has been planted [in us] by the Creator of nature; so if its natural noble-mindedness is not destroyed by an kind of adulterous affections, then, I say, love teaches itself to persons who are docile to it, God’s teachables.” William of St. Thierry, The Nature and Dignity of Love, trans. Thomas X. Davis (Kalamazoo, 1981), p. 47.

The monastic writers of the twelfth century focused intently on the nature of love.  Drawing on biblical and Latin Fathers, they developed a theology based on Christ’s love.  In this work, William of St. Thierry sought to explain the nature of divine love and its role in the devotional life of a monk.  He defined love as “a power of the soul, leading her by a kind of natural gravity to her place or destination.” [Ibid.] (Emphasis added)

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