Eighth Sunday after
Thoughts for the Week - Fr R Taouk
19th July 2015
How the Love of God
Works in Us by St. Augustine
All who do not love
God are strangers and antichrists. They might come to the
churches, but they cannot be numbered among the children of
God. That fountain of life does not belong to them. A bad
person can have Baptism and prophecy. King Saul had
prophecy: even while he persecuted the holy David, he was
filled with the Spirit of Prophecy, and began to prophesy (1
Sam. 19). A bad person can receive the Sacrament of the Body
and Blood of the Lord, for it is said, "All who eat and
drink unworthily, eat and drink judgment on themselves" (1
Cor. 11:29). A bad person can have the name of Christ and be
called a Christian. Such people are referred to when it
says, "They polluted the name of their God" (Ezek. 36:20).
To have all these Sacraments is, as I say, possible even for
a bad person. But to have love and be a bad person is
impossible. Love is the unique gift, the fountain that is
yours alone. The Spirit of God exhorts you to drink from it,
and in so doing to drink from Himself.
Could we love Him,
unless He first loved us? He loved the unrighteous, but He
took away the unrighteousness. He loved the sick, but He
visited them to make them whole. Love, then, is God. This is
how the love of God is shown among us: "God sent His only
Son into the world, that we may live through Him". As the
Lord Himself said: "No one can have greater love than this:
to lay down his life for his friends" (John 15:13). This
proved Christ's love for us, the fact that He died for us.
How is the Father's love for us proved? By the fact that He
sent his only Son to die for us. As the Apostle Paul says,
"He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for
us all, how will He not freely give us all things?" (Rom.
8:32). Notice how the Father delivered up Christ, and so did
Judas. Does it not seem that they did the same sort of
thing? There was a delivering up by the Father; a delivering
up (of Himself) by the Son, and a delivering up by Judas.
The thing done is the same, but what is it that sets their
actions apart? This: the Father and the Son did it in love,
but Judas did it in betrayal. So you see that we need to
consider not what a person does but with what mind and will
he does it. Why do we bless the Father and detest Judas for
doing the same deed? We bless love and detest wickedness.
What I have said so
far applies to actions that are similar. When they are
different, we find people made fierce by love; and by
wickedness made seductively gentle. A father beats a boy,
while a kidnapper caresses him. Offered a choice between
blows and caresses, who would not choose the caresses and
avoid the blows? But when you consider the people who give
them you realise that it is love that beats, wickedness that
caresses. This is what I insist upon: human actions can only
be understood by their root in love. All kinds of actions
might appear good without proceeding from the root of love.
Remember, thorns also have flowers: some actions seem truly
savage, but are done for the sake of discipline motivated by
love. Once and for all, I give you this one short command:
love, and do what you will. If you hold your peace, hold
your peace out of love. If you cry out, cry out in love. If
you correct someone, correct them out of love. If you spare
them, spare them out of love. Let the root of love be in
you: nothing can spring from it but good.