"The fox knows many things, but the hedgehog knows one big thing."


Glenn Reynolds:

Barack Obama:
"Impossible to transcend."

Albert A. Gore, Jr.:
"An incontinent brute."

Rev. Jeremiah Wright:
"God damn the Gentleman Farmer."

Friends of GF's Sons:
"Is that really your dad?"

Kickball Girl:
"Keeping 'em alive until 7:45."

Hired Hand:
"I think . . . we forgot the pheasant."

I'm an
Alcoholic Yeti
in the
TTLB Ecosystem

Monday, February 01, 2010


Yesterday was the fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time in the Catholic Liturgical year for the Ordinary Form of the Mass. (In the Extraordinary Form, it was Septuagesima Sunday, that is, (approximately) 70 days until Easter, but I digress.) The Collect for the Ordinary Form was:

Concede nobis, Domine Deus noster,
ut te tota mente veneremur,
et omnes homines rationabili diligamus affectu.

Father John Zuhlsdorf slavishly translates this as:

Grant us, O Lord our God,
that we may venerate you with our whole mind,
and may love all men with rational good-will.

Father Z uses this prayer as his launching pad for a discussion of "love." His entire essay falls into the category of "things I wish I'd written," but the following excerpt struck me as particularly moving:
We are commanded by God the Father and God Incarnate Jesus Christ to love both God and our fellow man and God the indwelling Holy Spirit makes this possible. But the word and therefore concept of “love” is understood in many ways and today, especially, it is misunderstood. “Love” frequently refers to people or stuff we like or enjoy using. Bob can “love” his new SUV. Besty “loves” her new kitten. We all certainly “love” baseball and spaghetti. But “love” can refer to the emotional and affections people have when they are “in love” or, as I sometimes call it, “in luv”. Luv is usually an ooey-gooey feeling, a romantic “love” sometimes growing out of lust. This gooey romantic “love” now dominates Western culture, alas. The result is that when “feelings” change or the object of “luv” is no longer enjoyable or useable, someone gets dumped, often for a newer, richer, or prettier model.

There some other flavors of “love” you can come up with, I’m sure. But Christians, indeed every image of God in all times everywhere, are called to a higher love, the love in today’s prayer, which is charity: the grace-completed virtue enabling us to love God for His own sake and love all who are made in His image. This is more than benevolence or tolerance or desire or enjoyment of use. True love is not merely a response to an appetite, as when we might see a beautiful member of the opposite sex, a well-turned double-play, or a plate of spaghetti all’amatriciana. True love, charity, isn’t the sloppy gazing of passion drunk sweethearts or the rubbish we see on TV and in movies (luv). Charity is the grace filled adhesion of our will to an object (really a person) which has been grasped by our intellect to be good. The love invoked in our prayer is an act of will based on reason. It is a choice – not a feeling. Charity delights in and longs for the good of the other more than one’s own. The theological virtue charity involves grace. It enables sacrifices, any kind of sacrifice for the authentic good of another discerned with reason (not a false good and not “use” of the other). We can choose even to love an enemy. This love resembles the sacrificial love of Christ on His Cross who offered Himself up for the good of His spouse, the Church. Rationabilis affectus reflects what it is to be truly human, made in God’s image and likeness, with faculties of willing and knowing and, therefore, loving.
Just so. Read the whole thing.


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