Topic: Love

Br. Michael James Rivera, O.P.'s picture

The Lord God is My Help

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Why did Jesus endure such agony in his passion and death? To save sinners, and to show us how to endure suffering and persecution.

Br. Peter Junipero Hannah, O.P.'s picture

Behold the Cross

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Holy Week is upon us once again.  We are summoned urgently to prayer and spiritual focus, to experiencing with Our Lord his Passion, Death, and Resurrection.  My reflection on Palm Sunday gives a picture from the Mount of Olives of the drama to come, the drama of divine redemption in which we are called to participate with Jesus.

Br. Thomas Aquinas Pickett, O.P.'s picture

Truth and Love

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Truth and Love

Would you rather have truth or love?

It's a rather interesting question, but take a moment to think it over...would you rather have truth or love?

On the surface this seems like the age-old debate between the head and the heart, between the nobility of reason and the power of human affection. But, if we take our cues from Saint Thomas Aquinas, we see that truth and love need not be regarded as opposite from one another. Truth involves the knower being conformed and joined to what is known. Love involves the lover being united and joined to the beloved. Truth resides in the intellect, and love resides in the appetite of the intellect (i.e., the will). When we say heart, then, we really mean, not the organ in our torso, but the power of our intellect to seek what we perceive to be good, and true, and beautiful. In both cases, of love and truth, there is a sense of union and relationship. When our ideas are not related and united to what is real, then there is no truth. When our love does not unite us to another through the relation of the other's mutual love, then there is no true love. And what is true love but a love that unites us to the reality and truth of another? If we want true love, we must know an other, because you can't love what you don't know. With this understanding of truth and love, a whole new dimension of life opens to us, especially with regards to God. Jesus' commandments of loving God and loving our neighbor are connected with His revelation, "I am the way, the truth, and the life." We are called to a union with God that begins with our minds being opened to His truth by faith, and is completed by a love that lasts through all eternity in Paradise. Truth and love, for the Christian, are the sine qua non of eternal life, and true, lasting, perfect happiness.

But what does "the world" offer us with regards to truth and love? "The world" (i.e., not the physical earth, but the existence and reign of sin among humanity) tells us that love is a feeling, and that truth is an opinion. Love is what makes you feel good and is what is useful to your own desires. Truth is an antiquated word used by fools which must be replaced by utility, popularity, sensitivty, or opinion. Whereas the truth and love of a Christian requires change on our own part, and a relationship with an other person or reality, the truth and love of "the world" requires that others change for us, and that reality fit our prejudices and ambitions. Hence, "the world" offers us an existece where we become more and more isolated, as we progressively regard others as mere objects, and reality becomes a continual eruption of inconvenience to our plots and sensitivites. To these concepts of truth and love, Jesus stands as a monolithic paradox. Jesus' love was expressed, not with pleasure, but with blood and nails. Jesus' truth wasn't expressed by blind tolerance, but by hard sayings that provoked both fury and outrage, joy and praise, sorrow and conversion. Jesus presented His truth with love, so that those open to listening, may find His true love. In a like manner, we today who speak Christ's unalterable truth must do so with the strength of love so as to lead others to conversion.

At a time when so many people long for relationships that are deeper than facebook, and so many people want to find the truth that underlies the fabric of matter and time, perhaps a good place to begin is by asking ourselves if we really have love in our lives, and if we really want to to know the truth. Are we willing to love in the way that Jesus loved? Are we willing to know the truth that Jesus lived?