communion Nature of Love

Different Kinds of “Mine”

4:23:00 PMUnknown

“Give it back! That’s mine.”

When anyone steps into a daycare or preschool classroom, this phrase is not uncommon to hear. From a young age, we understand the meaning of “mine” according to possession. However, the “mine” that goes with owning something is only one of the different kinds of meanings.
On one hand, we can indicate something as “mine,” pointing it out as an objective relation. However, it is another thing to experience this belonging. In The Nature of Love, Dietrich von Hildebrand examines the classical relations of belonging that speak to the experience of “mine,” particularly those relations that figure prominently in love.
The first meaning that he assesses is that of the fundamental belonging to oneself. As a person I belong to myself. This includes my body and my activities. These have been “mine” since the beginning, not requiring my conscious experience of them as “mine.” This dimension of “mine” is rooted in God’s gift to us. We receive it with our very self.
The second meaning refers to possession or the relation of owning something. It is not conscious; rather, it has an objective and formal nature. I possess my clothes, my car, my books. To some extent, it has a legal aspect because this thing is my property. The thing possessed is dear and significant to me.

Being a part of a community is significant for the functioning of human beings. People seek groups for a sense of belonging and a source of friendship and companionship. From a young age, they participate in scouts or swim on a recreational swim team. As one gets older, he or she might join a bible study or a reading club. This brings us to another category.

The third is the “mine” that comes with being a part of something such as a political party, family, or country. In this case, I do not possess the object and it is not a part of me, but I belong to it. It stands in relation to others. This is my family, my country.
“To this objective belonging there corresponds an experience of belonging.” [1]
An experience of belonging is expressed through one’s patriotism or love of family. This expression of “mine” should not be confused with an exalted ego. Rather, the essence of this “mine” refers to someone’s lived responsibility and bond to that which he belongs.

Next week we will continue, examining the experience of being at home and the “mine” of love.

[1] Von, Hildebrand Dietrich. The Nature of Love. South Bend, IN: St. Augustine's, 2009. Print.

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