Love wants not guilt as a sacrifice, as repayment for things given. It seeks gratitude as a voluntary response from a generous heart. Gratitude is never forced from the receiver of a gift as a payment, but only accepted when we choose to give it. The age of the world is long because love waits for our hearts to sing this song of gratefulness in place of the guilt we send as a sacrifice. To let go of guilt takes most of us a long time. To let go of guilt is to release all of humanity from its slavery as well. It is to accept at-one-ment for all.
Guilt is given in place of gratitude when the gift of love is not properly understood. Guilt is not love. It is given in place of love as a this-for-that. Guilt is paid as tribute in exchange for love when the payor believes that love is given conditionally, as part of a bargain, in a negotiation. Yet this is not love at all. It is something given in trade. The one who receives love and believe its gift is conditioned on the payment of a ransom believes that sacrifice must be offered in exchange. The feeling that is engendered when love is given to someone who thinks he must pay for it is guilt. He understands love not at all.
When love is truly experienced and understood, it is known without conditions, as it truly is. The one who accepts love and believes its gift is given without expectations understands that by receiving love, she does its giver a great service. The feeling that is engendered when love is given to someone who knows this is gratitude. She understands what love is.
To let go of guilt is to release all of us from its grip as well. It is be grateful on behalf of all creatures, even those who don’t have a voice for expressing thanks. Gratitude is really love. It is the love given by the receiver of gifts. It is equal to the gift itself. For in the end, the giver and the receiver are one, as a right hand giving to a left, both members of the same body. A gift cannot be given unless there was someone to accept it. A gift wouldn’t be a present unless it was received. Love, therefore, requires a recipient. A lover always needs another lover to recognize herself.