WFT- con amore

08 August 2009

The Merriam-Webster Word of the Day for July 29th was con amore (pronounced kahn uh MOR ee).

1 : with love, devotion, or zest 2 : in a tender manner — used as a direction in music

This was the etymology they provided:

"No matter what the object is, whether business, pleasures, or the fine arts; whoever pursues them to any purpose must do so con amore." Wise words — and the 18th-century Englishman who wrote them under the pseudonym Sir Thomas Fitzosborne may have been drawing on his own experience. At the time those words were written (around 1740), the author, whose real name was William Melmoth, had recently abandoned the practice of law to pursue his interest in writing and classical scholarship, which were apparently his true loves. In any case, by making use of "con amore," a term borrowed from Italian, Melmoth gave us the first known use of the word in English prose.

Con amore brings to mind a few things but it especially brings to mind one of the traditional blessings that are recited during morning prayers:

Our Father, the merciful Father, Who acts mercifully, have mercy upon us, instill in our hearts to understand and elucidate, to listen, learn, teach, safeguard, perform, and fulfill all the words of Your Torah's teaching with love.

In this prayer we beseech our Father to have mercy upon us and to instill in our hearts certain attitudes and that we may we fulfill all the words of Your Torah's teaching with love.  To the Hebraic mind fulfill means "to perform" or in the words of the Nike ad: "just do it".  That is the Hebraic sense of fulfillment.

Both con amore and this heart wrenching prayer bring to mind 1 Corinthians 13:1-3

If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but do not have love, I have become a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.  If I have the gift of prophecy, and know all mysteries and all knowledge; and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing.  And if I give all my possessions to feed the poor, and if I surrender my body to be burned, but do not have love, it profits me nothing.

All these things mentioned only have value and merit when they are done con amore: with love.

Consider this also:

By this we know that we have come to know Him, if we keep His commandments.  The one who says, "I have come to know Him," and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him;  but whoever keeps His word, in him the love of God has truly been perfected. By this we know that we are in Him:  the one who says he abides in Him ought himself to walk in the same manner as He walked.  - 1 John 2:3-6

One additional thought regarding love:

For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. - Romans 8:38-39

To Him who keeps us in His love be the glory forever.  Amen.

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