Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Loving God

“A man may claim he loves his wife. His wife will want to see the evidence. In like manner, we can talk about God all we please, but God will not be fooled. Jesus told the story of the sheep and the goats (Matthew 25:31-46) for a reason. Saying we’re Catholic does not mean we are, except in the thinnest sense. Relationships have consequences in actions. Otherwise, they’re just empty words. Our relationship with God is no exception. When Jesus asks Peter, “Do you love me?” and Peter answers yes, it’s no surprise that Jesus immediately follows up with: “Then feed my sheep” (John 21:17). God loves us always. We can choose to ignore that. All of the damned do. But if we claim to love him, it’s an “if/then” kind of deal, with obligations of conduct and personal honesty just like any good marriage or friendship.
The twist in loving God is that it’s not a standard “I, Thou” affair. It turns out to be an “I, Thou—and everybody else” kind of arrangement. Christian faith is not just vertical. It’s also horizontal. Since God created all human persons and guarantees their dignity by his Fatherhood, we have family duties to one another. That applies especially within the ekklesia—the community of believers we call the church—but it extends to the whole world. This means our faith has social as well as personal implications. And those social implications include the civil dimension of our shared life; in other words, the content of our politics.”
-Archbishop Charles J. Chaput,  Render Unto Caesar

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