Fr. ROY CIMAGALA,
August 5, 2020
WITH Christ, it is not
enough to know him. We also have to love him. With Christ, to know
him truly is to love him also. In fact, we cannot say we really know
him unless we love him too.
With him, these two
spiritual operations of ours merge into a unity, although they have
different directions. In knowing, the object known is in the knower.
It has an inward movement. The knower possesses the known object.
In loving, the lover is in
the beloved. It has an outward movement. It is the beloved that
possesses the lover. The lover gets identified with the beloved. The
lover becomes what he loves.
In knowing, the knower
abstracts things from his object of interest and keeps them to
himself. In loving, the lover gives himself to the beloved. In a
sense, the lover loses himself in the beloved.
Of course, there are many
things that we know but which we do not have to love, or even that
we should not love. We can know a lot of evils, but we should never
love them. If anything at all, our knowledge of them is just for the
sake of prudence.
But whatever good we know,
we should also love, otherwise we would fall into some anomaly of
inconsistency. In whatever is good, we should not be contented with
knowing it. We should love it. Let’s remember what St. Paul said in
his first letter to the Corinthians in this regard:
“Knowledge puffs up, but
love builds up. If anyone imagines that he knows something, he does
not yet know as he ought to know. But if anyone loves God, he is
known by God.” (8,1-2)
And we can add that if one
is known by God, he somehow already knows everything that he ought
to know since God, who possesses him because he loves God, knows
everything. In other words, he shares in the knowledge of God.
Since Christ is for us the
highest good we can have, we should both know and love him to the
max. We should not just know him and not love him, nor should we
just love him without knowing him – or at least, trying to know him
the best way that we can, since being God, Christ has aspects that
are a mystery to us, that is, beyond our capacity to know him fully.
It’s when we love him with
all our heart as we are commanded to do (cfr. Mt 22,37) that
whatever inadequacy we have with respect to our knowledge of him, is
taken care of. If our heart is united we the heart of God, that is,
when we are in love with God, we in a mysterious way share in the
omniscience of God.
That is why we can say
that those simple people with great love and piety for God has
greater knowledge of God than those erudite theologians and
philosophers whose love and piety for God is not as great as those
of the simple people, in spite of the fact that they may have
studied the faith a lot more.
This does not mean that
loving God with the heart more than the head is a matter of
indulging in emotionalism and things like that. If one truly loves
God with his whole heart, he also will do everything in his human
capacity to study his faith well and to conform his life to that
Loving God never
compromises our rational nature that has both the intuitive and
discursive capabilities. Loving God uses these capabilities to the
hilt but also acknowledges the limitations of these human powers.
Loving God, more than anything else, involves the role of grace that
God himself unstintingly gives us but to which we have to correspond
properly with our acts of piety.