Love Intensifies Knowledge

Jesus Falls a Second Time

In the course of my meanderings around the political blogosphere for well over two years, I’ve sought to offer up a Catholic perspective on the issues of the day. As I look interiorly during this Lenten season, I am seeing myself a bit differently than I expected to. What I expected to see in this opportunity to reassess my spiritual life, was a soul in bit of disrepair, still on the right track, but needing a simple nudge to be able to surge onward with more Christian vigor than before — to be better equipped to win the battle (intellectual battle, that is) in the year ahead. Instead, I see a soul that is careening forward as mightily as before, but that has switched tracks altogether.

 

We live in troubling times. The threat of economic disaster looms. The culture has become more and more corrupt. Christian persecution is rising on a global scale, ranging from pressures on youth in American classrooms to outright slaughter in the Middle East. These manifestations of the world groaning in labor pains can be intense, particularly for a political blogger whose job it is to read the headlines and the stories about injustice day in and day out. This Lent, I see the toll that it has taken on my own soul. It has become clear to me that I am spending far too much time on making intellectual arguments to win the great debates of our time, but not nearly enough time practicing kindness and sharing the Love of Jesus Christ with others.

As Catholics, we have a great blessing in being given the Truth….and not only the Truth, but the Fullness of the Truth. How often I have forgotten that the Fullness of the Truth includes Love, not merely the ability to Reason rightly in accordance with the precepts of our Faith. It is not enough to merely know the Truth intellectually. We must also Live the Truth so that we may bring others to the Light of His Eternal Love. These intellectual battles will always exist, in every age, but the main battle that we should be concerned with is the one within ourselves and in how we treat each other as fellow human beings.

The Church is called to continue Christ’s work on earth, leading those whose hearts are open to her mission into communion with the Triune God. There will never be a shortage of opposition on the part of the world as on the part of the heart of fallen man. (“Cor ad cor loquitur” John Henry Cardinal Newman’s Coat of Arms, Newman Friends International)

Just as it is not enough to merely know the Truth intellectually, it is not enough to simply “perform”, either:

“Neither theological knowledge nor social action alone is enough go keep us in love with Christ unless both are preceded by a personal encounter with him. I have found that it takes some time to catch fire in prayer. This has been one of the advantages of the Holy Hour. Sitting before the Presence is like a body exposing itself to the sun to absorb its rays. In those moments one does not so much pour out written prayers, but listening takes place. The Holy Hour became a teacher for me. Although, before we love anyone we must have knowledge of that person, nevertheless, after we know, it is love that intensifies knowledge.” (“Treasure in Clay“, Archbishop Fulton Sheen)

Love teaches….and if we fail to Love, then we fail to know in fullness the Truths we boldly proclaim. Not only that, we set up limitations on our ability to grow even more completely into the Fullness of the Truth.

Faith and reason are like two wings on which the human spirit rises to the contemplation of truth; and God has placed in the human heart a desire to know the truth—in a word, to know himself—so that, by knowing and loving God, men and women may also come to the fullness of truth about themselves. (Fides Et Ratio, Encyclical of Pope John Paul II)

I’m a bit appalled by myself, having taken it upon myself to argue so frequently the Truth that Reason alone is not enough…that Moral Reasoning is the right path….and yet have failed to live this in my interactions with people on a personal level.

To all whom I have offended, I ask forgiveness and a chance to start anew. I have committed myself to a renewed effort to Live what the Church proclaims, and not to merely stand with her to proclaim it. I offer a renewed effort to be Christ to those around me. Before I can change the world, I have to first be willing to change myself.

Please let me know if, and when, I fail.

God bless you.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

About the Seventh Station: Jesus Falls a Second Time

My Jesus, often have I sinned and often, by sin, beaten Thee to the ground beneath the cross. Help me to use the efficacious means of grace that I may never fall again.

 

12 Responses to Love Intensifies Knowledge

  • Easy trap to fall into and you are not alone. I fall for this one every hour. Thank you for assuring me, although I suspect I already knew, that I am not alone in this failing.

    We may not be of the world, and yet we are in it. There is no question that it often has an undue influence on us. In these post-Christian, post-modern times, the intellectual and moral plagues of our ‘Enlightenment’ past do necessarily have an influence on how we think and communicate. Thankfully, we do always have recourse to Divine Wisdom, yet that requires a complete and total self-abandonment to Divine Providence. Much as this is appealing, compelling and totally attractive as Christ Himself always is to those who seek Truth; this kind of mysticism seems so out of place in our materialist world. Especially for those of us not in a cloister or monastery. That tells me how true it must be all the more.

    This makes the coming ‘correction’ (properly just more correct) translation of the Liturgy so important.

    . . . all that is seen and unseen. . . becomes . . . all that is visible and invisible. That is much more than a subtle linguist turn.

    We spend too much time trying to see with our minds; we should spend more time seeing with our hearts. Yet, I know I am more comfortable with my intellect than my will. God has other plans. Of course, He’s right and I am a fool.

  • Thank you so much for adding your affirmation and for expanding on it. God bless you. I’m more comfortable with my intellect, too. Thank you for your empathy on that.

  • Lisa dear, God bless you take heart and be strong
    One thing we must remember is this; we are in a battle for the souls of men whom God desires to be returned to Him. We are at war! There is no retreating or deserting. We are guaranteed victory but not without casualties. Our only weapon is the Truth and every sacrifice or wound is in honor of it. Maintaining its power and might within us requires consistent prayer, meditation, and devotion to our duty and His just cause. Be sworn to do all that will be asked of you for we can also be assured that our “leadership” can not fail and our “reward” will not be taken from us.
    Our nations “faith and values”, so abundantly proclaimed in our founding documents and derived of our Judeo Christian heritage, gave birth to a kind of government the world had never known which in time became the shining city on a hill and a hope for all peoples with the grand Lady of Liberty holding a torch to guide them here.
    The peace and prosperity which, at great price, the people of our land have embraced and offered to the world is unparalleled in human history. People from around the world come to our shores to partake of it. But as with all good times and human societies, some will desire through deception or with their power to take advantage of their freedoms and way of life to the detriment of others. Unfortunately our elected officials are not immune to this practice, often to the point of establishing policies and programs which buffet or corrode the very faith and values which formed our unique society.
    Treason, disguised as justified social “progress” or awarding “rights” to special interest groups regardless of the consequences to the greater good and benefit of the people at large, with the help of elitist and media can be presented to and consumed by a public mindset dulled by periods of peace and prosperity without personal sacrifice.
    Today the nation’s conscience is being challenged more than ever before. The issues have been emboldened by societies continued tolerance of evil practices fashioned often by well meaning authorities and appearing as needed social reforms or benefits to politically protected groups or persuasions without any clue as to the eventual consequences.
    Many of our religious leaders are finally beginning to question the validity of such policies within political party platforms admonishing congregations to search their souls and scriptures for guidance before going to the polls or joining political action groups.
    This is good advice to those devout souls with religious affiliations or those who at least understand that God has indeed blessed America and that as a people we are the most generous in the world.

    Prayer and reflection on the scriptures are powerful responses to problems both seen and unseen because within these pages is written humanity’s ultimate and everlasting destiny. However, going to the bible to find the words needed to answer the questions of today is one thing, ignoring or questioning the validity of what we find there is quite another. We must trust in it even when social “engineers” or politicians scoff at our clinging to it.
    Today pray that our lives will forever be bound in faith to the word of God for truly it is the Eternal Living Word which has come down from heaven in Christ and his church and its truth can not be overturned by politicians no matter what office they hold among us. Cling to the Church and the Holy gospels it teaches for though “heaven and earth may pass away” the word of God will forever remain and sustain you.

  • Thank you, and God bless you, Bill.

  • I’m pretty comfortable with your intellect too, you are brilliant! You have a gift. I often forget, so often, that what started me on the path to conversion and healing was not a good argument, but love.

  • Thanks, Stacy. ;-) You’re wonderful.

  • Indeed our faith is intensified by love, a Divine Love which comes God alone. Mankind was all but incapable of adequately evaluating God prior to the Incarnation. This is one reason why we often have difficulty absorbing the works of the Old Testament writers. Once, through his merciful love, God exposed himself to us in the flesh and allowed a glimpse of his divine nature to be present among us it became easier to joyfully express the “witnessing” and proclaiming the God of the heavens to humanity. The Kingdom of God came to us in the Lord Jesus Christ not only for our salvation but also that we might have a deeper understanding of God’s nature. Through this we were blessed and invited to accept and surrender to his Divine Love and Truth personified in Christ

  • I’m new to the Blogosphere, but have to say that you are a beautiful writer. I was able to see clearly that you are well read, well researched and well respected (by some of the responses to your posts).

    I have a friend who is a very holy man and devout catholic. He reminded me that it’s by our faith that we will know the voice of our Shepherd. Many of the political debates of our day are full of worldliness and continue an argument of “right vs. wrong” vs. a promotion of understanding. I have a saying that I use:

    “A person of great knowledge has conviction, while the person of great understanding has faith.”

    Our world has lost the ability to understand our connectedness, our need for God alone and we continue to feed fear to each other as the mainstay of our existence. The “good fight” is maybe more the decision to do the unpopular, since our reputation means nothing in the end.

    Thanks for the effort you put toward this body of work.

    j

    http://awakenedchristian.blogspot.com/

  • Thank you, J. I have a lot of knowledge and conviction. I struggle with empathy, though. I have extreme trouble understanding where other people are coming from in their particular situations and thought processes. Here’s my bio. http://lisagraas.com/about-lisa/
    It’s like God just didn’t put that mechanism in my brain. But I have the deepest empathy in regard to the physical body. When people are murdered or otherwise brutalized in a physical manner, it tears at my soul. This is why I have always been the first to speak out against abortion and euthanasia, and am so well-studied on the Holocaust, and very sensitive to the things that end up causing genocide. I am very much now, currently, outspoken against the slaughter of Christians in the Middle East and in Africa. I have trouble understanding people’s situations except where physical brutality is involved, and it cuts me deeply. I have pledged to work hard to develop virtue through habit. I know that can happen with mental disorder on some level, though not always. So, I’m trying to learn how to inquire about people more on a personal level. It is very very hard for me…..but I am trying.

    Much love to you, and thank you for your comment.

  • Lisa, it’s so obvious you are a kindred spirit to many of the readers of TAC in that you have a hungry heart for a fuller knowledge of God’s love. We share your desire. However, I wish to caution you that we must understand our human limitations in this regard. Remember the “cloudy glass” we are looking through now and how, thankfully, one day we will see clearly the glory of God. Don’t be disappointed one bit with your own humanity; your light in there is “ON” as I like to say when we see a loving soul in action.
    Here is my explanation for you to consider.
    The very Spirit of God’s message is that he has given us life and we in turn give our lives in service to others for the sake of his people. The “Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven” is accomplished by our doing His will here among His people. And the “do unto others as you would have others do unto you” is fulfilled by our selflessness within our families first and as much of the world around us as possible. Can you imagine a world where everyone is doing all they can for everyone around them? This is the Spirit of creation God had in mind for us in the beginning before we became “selfish” children.
    Having said this, we need to understand we are “human” and as such we do fail occasionally even with our best efforts. Our loving Father is aware of our finite nature and he has told us that as we forgive others he wants to forgive us. Most importantly as the “children of god” and wishing to be like him we must be willing to forgive ourselves also. Otherwise we will self destruct falling into the hands of the “Deceiver” in despair or hopelessness. We have to be fearless and willing to fight the good fight for our sake and for our Father in heaven.

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