Thursday, May 3, 2007


How many times have you been in a conversation about “those people” and the direction of the conversation devolves from debating what those people do or believe to just plain dislike of those people themselves? It is easy to get caught up and difficult to repair once the line is crossed. The odd thing is though, as soon as the line is crossed, we automatically become “those people,” that is we become what we hate: the bearers of un-truth.

Alice von Hildebrand (she is just so cool) points out in her article in the Pastoral and Homiletic Review (April 2007) that St. John tells us that God is love. “No other religion has united Truth and Love as two essential perfections of God Himself.” It is antecedently impossible therefore to proclaim truth without love.

“When Christ chases a devil from a man possessed, and he exclaims, ‘Though art the Christ, the Son of the living God,’ Christ, to our amazement, forbids him to say so. . . . it becomes luminously clear that the Evil One when proclaiming the key Truth of Christianity does so without the charity of which he is forever deprived: the Evil one knows the Truth but this knowledge is totally severed from love and is therefore poisoned. To proclaim truth without love is to insert a subtle poison in the nectar of truth.”

Let us be clear though. To love is not synonymous with being nice. Nice is synonymous to a type of tolerance which is not necessarily connected to truth or love. Nice means doing whatever it takes to keep everyone happy, not holy. Love on the other hand since it is always united to truth does not always look nice. It can call people on the carpet. It allows people to deal with the consequences of their actions. But it always does so with charity.

The Eucharist is the source and summit of our lives as Catholics. Pope Benedict XVI in his Eucharistic Exhortation the sacrament of charity (1) which should embrace our “whole life” (77). We are called to love all persons, even those we do not like (88). “A Eucharist that does not pass over into the concrete practice of love is intrinsically fragmented” (82).

So love that is true love cannot be said to exist without truth and conversely, truth cannot be said to exist without love.

A woman in the parish experienced this: She was protesting in front of an abortion clinic when two people (though a true story, you can insert almost any one of “them” here – abortionists, homosexuals, liberals, anti-Catholics, radical feminists, whatever) started heckling them. Later, when one of the hecklers was standing alone she felt moved to talk to the person. It was an inner conviction which she tried to fight off but couldn’t. She went up to the person and was eventually able to minister to the man and tell him that God loves him too. God hates no one. People do, but not if they are truly in God. And that if he wanted, he could find a place in the Church. He was moved to tears. No one told him that these simplest of Christian thoughts could apply to him. Funny, if you tell prostitutes and tax collectors that they can get into heaven (even if it requires something of them) they start coming to Church.

If we want to be men and women of the Gospel, followers of Christ, and true representatives of His Church there is only one way to proclaim truth and that is to become like Him. And to be like Him is to be a source not only of truth, but also of charity.


I will be away for a couple of days. Habemus Papem will be posting in my stead. Enjoy!

1 comment:

Adoro said...

We'll miss you Fr. V.! Please pray for interview is today. A priest at my parish told me that if I don't know an answer then my reply should be "Jesus" because that's always the right answer.

Now I'm terrified I'll forget my name....

Oh, and I LOVE Alice von Hildebrand. I have her book, "The Privilege of being a Woman."