Thursday, October 26


Defined by Love

In the present moment, I think it is very easy to mistake the Catholic Church for an institution defined by purity of faith and tradition, and therefore to believe that the restoration of purity and tradition in the Church is precisely what the Church most needs. And, I believe, this is rather wrong: the Church is a communion of love; what the Church most needs is a restoration of love; and the essential characteristics of purity and tradition in the Church are only instrumental, not a means in themselves: purity and tradition are needed for one reason alone, the fact that they are necessary to love, radically. Tradition, particularly revealed tradition, is that which tells us about Who we love: Christ, in the Church and His sacraments. Purity, an integrity in Church teaching and practice, is nothing else but the degree of our love: absolute and complete.

I don't even mean simply what St. Paul writes, "if I have all faith so as to move mountains but do not have love, I am nothing." (1 Cor 13:2) What I mean to say is this: that tradition is the way to love (the Who) and purity or integrity is the how (the degree: absolute). The concept of purity and tradition cannot be divorced from love, because they are types of love: and if we begin to speak of them without being completely conscious that they are simply ways to "love the Lord your God with all your heart" and "love your neighbor as yourself," then we are no longer really speaking of tradition or purity at all. (Mark 12:30-31)

I think it is essential, then, to continue to remind ourselves that clarity of doctrine and fidelity to tradition and heroic morals are either a means of making us more loving people, towards each other and above all towards God, or they are nothing at all.

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