The Love Connection
The Beatles sang that all you need is love. The sixties chanted make love not war. Yes, love gets a lot of play, but rarely is it ever used as it should, as Christ meant it, as the Church teaches it.
"If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing.
Love is patient and kind; love is not jealous or boastful; it is not arrogant or rude. Love does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrong, but rejoices in the right. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things" (1 Corinthians 13:1-7).
We hear that, out of love, we should bless same sex 'marriages'. We hear that, out of love, we should allow abortions, any sexual contact, women priests, etc. In fact, we hear that, to teach against those things is not love, but hate. For example, Soulforce, a radical, pro-homosexual 'Christian' group, intended to intimidate the Catholic Bishop's meeting in Washington DC in November of 2000, by surrounding them as they proceeded to the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception. Their campaign to "Stop Spiritual Violence" is done with the notion that 'the official teachings of the Roman Catholic Church about sexual minorities lead to suffering and death for our lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender sisters and brothers.' Of course they can't show any evidence of this, but, to them, 'love' means giving them what they want!
Any parent will tell you that, often, when their child wants to do something, or wants something that the parent knows is wrong, and/or will hurt them, they risk being accused of hating their child for not allowing it. I never understood how, as it occurred at least once, how a mother could see the body of her dead child and say, "Well, she wanted to do it and I would never say no to her." If she had, her daughter might still be alive
So, rather than the Church showing hate, or lack of love, it's often Her detractors who do so.
"Love does not insist on its own way" But isn't that what they are doing? Haven't we seen that 'compromise' to them means submitting totally to what they desire? What they want? Now some feel that the Church does this. But does it? By the Church holding to the truth she teaches, does she show hate for those who oppose her or disagree with her? Not at all. More to the point, it illustrates Who the object of her love is: Jesus Christ.
Children, taught by their parents right and wrong, can either obey or disobey. Willful disobedience is a sign of a lack of love. Now, they may obey out of fear of punishment, and though this is not what the parents may hope for, it's better than nothing. However, love would see the child obeying, not out of the fear of punishment, but out of fear of hurting those they love.
"Jesus answered him, 'If a man loves Me, he will keep My word, and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make our home with him. He who does not love Me does not keep My words; and the word which you hear is not Mine but the Father's Who sent Me'" (John 14:23-24).
"...it does not rejoice at wrong, but rejoices in the right." Could the Church taunt and say, "We told you so!!!" Sure, but it won't, it doesn't. I recall watching a show featuring Fr. Benedict Groeschel where he was speaking of a young homosexual dying of AIDS. He didn't chastise him for being so foolish to engage in unprotected sex. He didn't condemn him for engaging in homosexual sex. No, he cared for him, cried with him, brought him back to faith. He didn't 'rejoice in the wrong', but in the right. As the young man was about to die, he told Fr. Benedict that he was ready and died in peace.
Yet, if a member of the Church falls due to weakness, bringing scandal to the Church, who is among the first to rejoice in their fall? Who do we see often in the forefront of using their weakness as an attack on the Church?
"Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things."
Love means seeing the good in what some think is a wrong. The Church tries to teach us the way to salvation, but because many refuse to carry the burden, they wish to remove it.
Love means believing. Not all things as in ALL things, or anything, but all that the Christ, through His Church teaches!
"Many of His disciples, when they heard it, said, 'This is a hard saying; who can listen to it?"….. After this many of His disciples drew back and no longer went about with Him" (John 6: 60, 66).
Christ's disciples didn't, or couldn't believe what He taught them. He didn't change His teachings to suit what they wanted, but prayed that they'd return to Him. The Apostles gave the 'Catholic' answer.
"Simon Peter answered Him, 'Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life; and we have believed, and have come to know, that You are the Holy One of God'" (John 6:68-69).
It wasn't that they fully understood, but they believed Him because they loved Him. Now some may say, "Well, of course they did. Jesus is God. But neither the Pope nor the Magesterium is!"
Let's recall that the people didn't know Jesus was God.
"'The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because he has anointed Me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent Me to proclaim release to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord.' And He closed the book, and gave it back to the attendant, and sat down; and the eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on Him. And He began to say to them, 'Today this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.' And all spoke well of Him, and wondered at the gracious words which proceeded out of His mouth; and they said, 'Is not this Joseph's Son?' (Luke 4:18-22).
And if we acknowledge Jesus is Lord, and say we love Him, how can we so flippantly disregard those He sends to teach and guide us?
"He who hears you hears Me, and he who rejects you rejects Me, and he who rejects Me rejects Him Who sent Me" (Luke 10:16).
And out of love, we hope in their return, we hope in their conversion. So, where we may see bishops, priests, and others openly opposing, disregarding, or even attacking the Church, the Church holds back in the hope they will return. And out of love, will endure all the slings, attacks and slanders thrown at her. Why? Because unlike her detractors, attackers and dissenters, she follows the example of the object of her love: our Lord, Jesus Christ.
"Greater love has no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends" (John 15:13).
When we see the crucifix, we see the perfect example of love. We see what love really means. Maybe that's why so many dissident groups prefer empty crosses or 'risen' crosses, because the sight of the crucified Lord is a glaring example of their lack of love?
"He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me; and he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me; and he who does not take his cross and follow Me is not worthy of Me. He who finds his life will lose it, and he who loses his life for My sake will find it" (Matthew 10:37-39).
Yes, we often see from many places how 'love' is used as reason to hate.
"Do not love the world or the things in the world. If any one loves the world, love for the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the pride of life, is not of the Father but is of the world. And the world passes away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides for ever" (1 John 2:15-17).
The Beatles were right, all we do need is love. Not the love the world preaches and demands, but love as Christ taught.
"But they all cried out together, 'Away with this man, and release to us Barabbas'-- a man who had been thrown into prison for an insurrection started in the city, and for murder. Pilate addressed them once more, desiring to release Jesus; but they shouted out, 'Crucify, crucify Him!' A third time he said to them, 'Why, what evil has he done? I have found in Him no crime deserving death; I will therefore chastise Him and release Him.' But they were urgent, demanding with loud cries that He should be crucified. And their voices prevailed. So Pilate gave sentence that their demand should be granted. He released the man who had been thrown into prison for insurrection and murder, whom they asked for; but Jesus he delivered up to their will" (Luke 23:18-25).
"And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of man be lifted up, that whoever believes in him may have eternal life" (John 3:14-15).
"Now is the judgment of this world, now shall the ruler of this world be cast out; and I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to Myself" (John 12:31-32).
"And He said to all, 'If any man would come after Me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow Me. For whoever would save his life will lose it; and whoever loses his life for My sake, he will save it. For what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses or forfeits himself? For whoever is ashamed of Me and of My words, of him will the Son of Man be ashamed when He comes in His glory and the glory of the Father and of the holy angels'" (Luke 9:23-26).
As we can see, Jesus has set the tone and that is that love, real love, is hard, very hard, but oh so rewarding!
For past columns by Pat Ludwa, see VIEW FROM THE PEW Archives
February 5, 2001
volume 12, no. 36
Pat Ludwa's VIEW FROM THE PEW column