By Frederick Buechner
I am a collector of quotes. I am drawn to those that are clever and pithy as well as those able to express an age-old truth in an unexpected and original way. This quote, from author and theologian Frederick Buchner, is more of the latter. Buchner has written more than 30 books and is known and appreciated far beyond the theological world, including The New York Times and the National Book Foundation, where he was once a finalist for the National Book Award. He is 92 years old and lives in New York City.
The love for equals is a human thing — of friend for friend, brother for brother. It is to love what is loving and lovely. The world smiles.
The love for the less fortunate is a beautiful thing–the love for those who suffer, for those who are poor, the sick, the failures, the unlovely. This is compassion, and it touches the heart of the world.
The love for the more fortunate is a rare thing–to love those who succeed where we fail, to rejoice without envy with those who rejoice, the love of the poor for the rich, of the black man for the white man. The world is always bewildered by its saints.
And then there is the love for the enemy — love for the one who does not love you but mocks, threatens, and inflicts pain. The tortured’s love for the torturer. This is God’s love. It conquers the world.