A few months ago, I began going with Mercy to Barnes & Noble to study. Every time I would give myself a break after finishing an assignment and would wander from aisle to aisle while admiring the books. One afternoon, I walked through the Philosophy section and grabbed a book title Works of Love. I read the review and was tempted to buy the book, but when I looked at the price decided to place it back in its shelf. However, my mind changed after a few visits and I decided to spoil myself, so I bought the book.
It was not until yesterday, however, that I was able to begin reading Kierkegaard’s piece. I read the foreword, translators’ introduction, author’s preface, and prayer–then I stopped. There were two things that kept me from reading ahead: something mentioned by the author of the foreword (George Pattison), and something mentioned by Kierkegaard.
First, Pattison suggest a way in which we ought to read the Kierkegaard’s discourses: “Although…there is often a clear link between one discourse and the next, each is a self-sufficient entity that it can be read and appreciated on its own. We are not to finish one and hurry on to the next, but are to consider how each can be made fruitful in its own terms” (xvi).
Second, Kierkegaard writes in his own preface: “These are Christian reflections; therefore they are not about love but about the works of love” (xxvii).
These two statements make me both excited and afraid to read the reflections. Works of Love refer to my actions as a Christian, as a product of the love in me, as a reflection of Christ who lives in me. I am afraid to continue reading and find that my actions are not the fruit produced by God’s love in me. I’m afraid I will find that I have not been a good enough neighbor, friend, daughter. Nonetheless, I am anxious to read on and be illuminated. I am anxious to know if my actions have not been the fruit of love, for if it is so, then I will be challenged and changed.
Additionally, Pattison’s statement calls me to take time and think about each reflection read. As a form of reflection I will write, blog; And hopefully invite anyone who reads this to be illuminated and transformed along with me.