Thursday, August 13, 2015

Without Love, We Can Do Nothing

"We want to build something beautiful and what emerges from our hands is a grand and spectacular monstrosity. Such is the world in which God is obscured...."

This world is our world. As Christians, we must not try to escape the significance of this fact. We have been given a gift, the gift of faith. If we know God, it is not because we are wiser or stronger than everyone else, as if by our own power we have found a technique to clear the obscurity away. It is not our own greatness that has brought us to know God. And God is not a secret that we possess that allows us to exalt ourselves over others.

We "know God" (i.e. we have a relationship with the Mystery who is the origin and fulfillment of all things) only because He has come to meet us. In the places and times of this world, we have encountered God in Jesus Christ who reached out to us through the communion of His Church.

We can only offer something to others if it is the fruit of what we have received, of the work of Jesus that awakens our hearts, heals us, changes us, makes us live as a new creation, and live together as a new people who share His love. This is the love that God wills to communicate to the whole world, to every human person. 

Without God's love, "religion" becomes just another spectacular monstrosity, and we are profoundly tempted to misuse the gift of faith to build our own misshapen constructions that only cast more dark obscure shadows upon our world. If we make the greatest arguments, and put forth the most coherent political programs and social theories, but do not have love, we accomplish nothing. We can say, "Lord, Lord," and construct megachurches, universities, and social programs; we can defend human rights and exhaust ourselves day and night fighting against evil, but without love we achieve nothing.

The world will remain in darkness. And, having hidden the lamps of His light, we will make it darker still. We will be all the more blind because we think we see.

But what is this "love"? It is God's gift that grows in us and is given through us in the measure that we surrender ourselves to Jesus in self-abandonment, offering, trust, obedience, and in the living faith that does the works of mercy, that lets others encounter the compassion of God.