Sunday 19th April 2015

Home » Our Catholic Faith » Currently Reading:

God Is Truth And Love

March 28, 2014 Our Catholic Faith No Comments

By DON FIER

Last week, we looked at why the revelation of God’s name is such an important aspect of salvation history and our life of faith. We also considered a topic on which countless reflections have been penned by spiritual writers and theologians over the centuries: who we are in comparison to God. In contrast to the splendor of God, man is nothing; yet, in the mystery of His love, we possess great dignity and are of inestimable worth in His eyes. The Compendium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC) contains an excellent summary of what we spoke of:
“In revealing His name, God makes known the riches contained in the ineffable mystery of His Being. He alone is from everlasting to everlasting. He is the One Who transcends the world and history. It is He Who made Heaven and earth. He is the faithful God, always close to His people, in order to save them. He is the highest holiness, ‘rich in mercy’ (Eph. 2:4), always ready to forgive. He is the One Who is spiritual, transcendent, omnipotent, eternal, personal, and perfect. He is truth and love” (Compendium, n. 40).
The concluding statement in the Compendium’s summary is the topic we will take up in this week’s installment — that God is Truth and God is Love. This is a conclusion that follows directly from an assertion made earlier in this series, namely, that the attributes of God are part of His very Being. In other words, it is more theologically accurate to say that God is Truth and that God is Love than to say that God possesses truth and God possesses love, or to say that God always tells the truth and God always loves. As the Catechism tells us, “These two terms [truth and love] express summarily the riches of the divine name. In all His works God displays, not only His kindness, goodness, grace, and steadfast love, but also His trustworthiness, constancy, faithfulness, and truth” (CCC, n. 214). God is what He displays.
Throughout Sacred Scripture, through the instrumentality of the sacred writers, it is God Himself who revealed that He is Truth and Love. The Old Testament psalmist tells us, “the sum of [God’s] word is truth” (Psalm 119:160) and “give thanks to [God’s] name for [His] steadfast love and [His] faithfulness” (Psalm 138:2). St. John teaches us in the New Testament that “God is light [truth] and in Him is no darkness” (1 John 1:5) and that “he who does not love does not know God; for God is love” (1 John 4:8). The Beloved Apostle goes on to say that “God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him” (1 John 4:16).
Let us take a closer look at what is meant by the first of these terms: truth. In his Modern Catholic Dictionary (MCD), Fr. John A. Hardon, SJ, defines truth as “conformity of mind and reality” (p. 549). We might add to that definition, “as it is perceived by God,” since we may not accurately perceive or understand reality at times due to our limited, finite intellect that is further inhibited by a fallen human nature. However, the same does not apply to Almighty God. He is omniscient — He knows all things exhaustively and cannot deceive nor be deceived.
Furthermore, truth is objective and cannot change. This undeniable fact comes directly from a point discussed in last week’s column regarding the most basic difference between God and man: God is immutable or unchangeable. It logically and reasonably follows that since God is Truth, truth cannot change. Contrary to what contemporary society seems to believe, truth is not subject to Gallup polls, opinion surveys, cultural shifts, or circumstances.
This is a doctrine of our faith that is misunderstood in today’s relativistic world where subjective opinion seems to often trump objective facts in the decisions and actions of much of society. Pope John Paul II wrote a magnificent encyclical entitled Veritatis Splendor (VS), or The Splendor of the Truth, to address this false current of thought. The late Holy Father posits that the most frequently debated issue in modern times is human freedom (cf., VS, n. 31). He goes on to say that the most challenged aspect of human freedom in our day is “the right to religious freedom and to respect for conscience on its journey toward the truth” (ibid.). However, serious error has crept in: Human freedom has been divorced from dependence on God. The subjective and incorrectly formed conscience has become for many the arbiter or ruler in moral matters, apart from the mind and will of God.
Genuine freedom is the freedom mankind has to choose to do God’s will (cf., VS, n. 34). It is dependent on truth, and since God is Truth, it is dependent on using one’s free will to direct the mind to search out and discover the will of God. Instead, man all too often exchanges “the truth about God for a lie” (Romans 1:25) with the predictable outcome of unhappiness, unrest, and so much hopelessness. For it is Jesus Christ who is “the way, and the truth, and the life” (John 14:6); He is “the true light that enlightens every man” (John 1:9). It is only by following the Son of God, who is one with the Father, that one attains true freedom: “If you continue in my word…you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free” (John 8:31-32).
To close this section on how God is Truth, I quote the words of Fr. Hardon. “Since truth is conformity of mind with reality, God is Truth three times over: (1) He is Truth because whatever He has made or done conforms with the mind of God; (2) He is Truth because whatever God knows conforms with reality; and (3) He is Truth because whatever He says conforms to the mind of God. On all three levels, Jesus Christ is the Truth because He is God Incarnate” (The Faith, p. 43).

To Will The Good

Now we turn to the second term that summarily expresses the riches of the divine name: God is Love. What exactly do we mean by love? In the English language, love is used to convey many different meanings, some of which are far from its true Christian meaning. The American Heritage Dictionary defines love as (a) a deep, tender, ineffable feeling of affection and solicitude toward a person…; (b) a feeling of intense desire and attraction toward a person…; (c) an intense emotional attachment, as for a pet or treasured object; and (d) a strong predilection or enthusiasm.
In our culture, love is often associated with sex and romance. Contrast that with Fr. Hardon’s definition of love: “To will the good [for] someone” (MCD, p. 325).
Fr. Hardon goes on to explain that there are two kinds of love: the love of concupiscence or self-interested love (loving another for one’s own sake as something useful or pleasant), and the love of benevolence (the selfless love of another for that person’s own sake).
It is this second type of love that is manifested in Almighty God, for “in the course of its history, Israel was able to discover that God had only one reason to reveal Himself to them, a single motive for choosing them from among all peoples as His special possession: His sheer gratuitous love” (CCC, n. 218). And in the fullness of time, God extended to man His most precious gift: “For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life” (John 4:16). As the Catechism teaches us, “God’s love is ‘everlasting’” (n. 220), “God’s very being is love” (n. 221), and “God Himself is an eternal exchange of love” (n. 221).
In his first encyclical, entitled Deus Caritas Est (DCE) or God Is Love, Pope Benedict XVI has as his purpose “to speak of the love which God lavishes upon us and which we in turn must share with others” (DCE, n. 1). He masterfully shows how love, in the context of its true Christian meaning, is integral in God’s very Being; and how it is linked to the two great commandments, reminding us that we can love our neighbor only because we have first been loved by God. A careful, meditative reading of Deus Caritas Est is highly recommended; it will provide the thoughtful reader with deep insights into the mystery of how God is Love.

+    +    +

(Don Fier serves on the board of directors for The Catholic Servant, a Minneapolis-based monthly publication. He and his wife are the parents of seven children. Fier is a 2009 graduate of Ave Maria University’s Institute for Pastoral Theology. He is doing research for writing a definitive biography of Fr. John A. Hardon, SJ.)

Share Button

Comment on this Article:

Untitled 2

Attention!

Our On-line Store is currently experiencing problems. If you are ordering a print edition of The Wanderer 

CLICK HERE!

Cardinal Burke Responds to Recent Criticisms

In an Italian-language interview, the patron of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta said, ‘I am not against the Pope; I have never spoken out against the Pope. … My purpose is to serve the truth.’ Cardinal Raymond Leo Burke,…Continue Reading

‘Prominent’ Catholics attacking Archbishop Cordileone are big donors to Pelosi and pro-abort Democra

SAN FRANCISCO, CA, April 17, 2015 (LifeSiteNews.com) — Big donors to the Democrat Party and pro-abortion Nancy Pelosi are among those publicly harassing San Francisco Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone for protecting Catholic identity in the area’s Catholic high schools. A big-ticket…Continue Reading

American Sisters accept Vatican reforms on doctrine, theology

Vatican City, Apr 16, 2015 / 04:15 am (CNA/EWTN News).- In a joint report marking the conclusion of a multi-year mandate for reform, members of the LCWR have agreed to corrections called for by the Vatican, and said they will…Continue Reading

Cardinal George, archbishop emeritus of Chicago, dies at 78

DEVELOPING: Cardinal Francis George, the archbishop of Chicago from 1997 to 2014, died Friday at the age of 78 after a long battle with cancer, the Archdiocese of Chicago has confirmed.

We Must Pray For And Defend This Good Bishop

bishopcord

I call on all the readers here to pray and offer fasting and alms for the spiritual defense of Archbishop Cordileone of San Francisco. Will San Francisco be the Alamo of the Church in these USA? Today, in the ultra-liberal…Continue Reading

Prominent Catholics call on pope to oust S.F. archbishop

In an unprecedented move, more than 100 prominent Roman Catholic donors and church members signed a full-page ad running Thursday in The Chronicle that calls on Pope Francis to replace San Francisco Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone for fostering “an atmosphere of…Continue Reading

This teacher cannot sue the Catholic Church for firing him because he openly rejects Catholic teachings: Legal experts

OMAHA, NE, April 14, 2015 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Legal experts agree that, if you openly flout Christian teachings, you have no right to sue a religious school for firing you – in most instances. That analysis comes after a sexually active…Continue Reading

PETITION TO POPE FRANCIS: Declare St. John Paul II “Doctor of the Church”!

johnpaul

I, Fr. John Zuhlsdorf, do hereby petition our Holy Father, Pope Francis, to declare St. John Paul II Doctor of the Church. I ask that St. John Paul II, who instituted the Feast of Divine Mercy, be declared Doctor of…Continue Reading

Cardinal Brandmüller: Advocates for changing Catholic teaching on marriage are ‘heretics’ – even if they are bishops

April 14, 2015 (LifeSiteNews.com) — Cardinal Walter Brandmüller has been among the leading voices critical of proposals stemming from the Vatican’s Synod on the Family that risk subverting Catholic teaching on the sacraments and morality. He was one of five…Continue Reading

Obama administration: Catholic school upholding marriage is ‘sex discrimination’

WASHINGTON, D.C., April 13, 2015 (LifeSiteNews.com) — The Obama administration’s Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has found “reasonable cause” to rule that a Catholic prep school has unlawfully discriminated against a homosexual band director formerly in the school’s employ. Mount…Continue Reading

God or Nothing

ROME, April 10, 2015 – He has said so himself, with candor: “I have the feeling that God has put me here for a short time.” Four or five years, or even less. It is natural that this disclosure of…Continue Reading

USA, 25% more priests in 2015

Good news for the American Church. 595 priests are expected to be ordained in 2015: an increase of 24.7 on the previous year. The news was announced by the United States Episcopal Conference, which nevertheless prefers to err on the…Continue Reading

Untitled 5 Untitled 2

Attention Readers:

  Welcome to our new website. Readers who are familiar with The Wanderer know we have been providing Catholic news and orthodox commentary for over 145 years in our weekly print edition. Now we are introducing the online daily version of our print journal.


  Our daily version offers only some of what we publish weekly in print. To take advantage of everything The Wanderer publishes, we encourage you to subscribe to our flagship weekly print edition, which is mailed every Friday or, if you want to view it in its entirety online, you can subscribe to the E-edition, which is a replica of the print edition.
 
  Our daily edition includes: a selection of material from recent issues of our print edition, news stories updated daily from renowned news sources, access to archives from The Wanderer from the past 10 years, available at a minimum charge (this will be expanded as time goes on). Also: regularly updated features where we go back in time and highlight various columns and news items covered in The Wanderer over the past 145 years. And: a comments section in which your remarks are encouraged, both good and bad, including suggestions.

 
  We encourage you to become a daily visitor to our site. If you appreciate our site, tell your friends. As Catholics we must band together to rediscover our faith and share it with the world if we are to effectively counter a society whose moral culture seems to have no boundaries and a government whose rapidly extending reach threatens to extinguish the rights of people of faith to practice their religion (witness the HHS mandate). Now more than ever, vehicles like The Wanderer are needed for clarification and guidance on the issues of the day.

Catholic, conservative, orthodox, and loyal to the Magisterium have been this journal’s hallmarks for five generations. God willing, our message will continue well into this century and beyond.

Joseph Matt
President, The Wanderer Printing Co.

Untitled 1

A Powerful Weapon: 15 Quotes on the Holy Rosary

We live in evil times. I hardly need elaborate the multitude of crises that fill the globe. Sadly, many are being swept away by this flood of evil and are succumbing to an overwhelming anxiety and discouragement. But no matter how tempting it is, we must not shrink back. We must pray and fast with a living faith and a firm confidence—and there is no better way to…Continue Reading

12 Ways to Become a Committed Catholic Man

There is a Catholic “man-crisis.” Large numbers of men who were baptized Catholic have left the Church and the majority of those who remain are “Casual Catholic Men”, men who do not know the Catholic faith and don’t practice it. This large-scale failure of Catholic men to commit themselves to Jesus Christ and His Church has contributed to the accelerating…Continue Reading

Today . . .

May His Soul Rest In Peace . . .

george

Pope Francis: Christian humility is not masochism, but love

Vatican Radio) Humiliation for its own sake is masochism, but when it is suffered and endured in the name of the Gospel it makes us like Jesus. That was what Pope Francis said in his homily at the Mass at Casa Santa Marta, as he invited Christians to never cultivate sentiments of hatred, but to give themselves time to discover within themselves sentiments and attitudes that are pleasing to God: love and dialogue.   Is…Continue Reading

Pope Francis to visit Ecuador, Bolivia and Paraguay

(Vatican Radio)  A communique from the Holy See’s Press office on Thursday announced that Pope Francis will make an apostolic visit to three Latin American countries in early July. It said following invitations from the respective heads of state and the Catholic Bishops, the Pope will be in Ecuador from the 6-8th, Bolivia from the 8th- 10th  and Paraguay from the 10th-12th. Full details of the programme for the visit will be published at a…Continue Reading

Pope at Mass: Those who do not dialogue disobey God

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis on Thursday offered the Mass at Casa Santa Marta for his predecessor, the Pope Emeritus, on the occasion of Benedict XVI’s 88th birthday. “I want to remember that today is the birthday of Benedict XVI,” Pope Francis said at the liturgy. “I offered the Mass for him, and I invite you to pray for him, that the Lord might sustain him and grant him much joy and happiness.” In his homily,…Continue Reading

Income Inequality: Married Couples With Kids Make Average Of $107,054

By TERENCE P. JEFFREY (Editor’s Note: Terence P. Jeffrey is the editor in chief of CNSnews.com. Creators Syndicate provided this column. All rights reserved.) + + + If American politicians wanted to drive down the income of the American people and make this a poorer nation — and they actually studied the government’s own data…Continue Reading

A Book Review . . . The Artful Ploys Of The Noonday Demon

By MITCHELL KALPAKGIAN The Noonday Devil: Acedia, The Unnamed Evil of Our Time, by Jean-Charles Nault, OSB (Ignatius Press: San Francisco, 2015), 203 pp. $16.95. Available through www.ignatiuspress.com. Some temptations are bold and brazen in their seduction, and some are subtle and artful. While the temptations of the flesh disorder the appetites and produce uncontrollable…Continue Reading

Culture Of Life 101 . . . “Can We Use Our Consciences On Contraception?”

By BRIAN CLOWES (Editor’s Note: Brian Clowes has been director of research and training at Human Life International since 1995. For an electronic copy of chapter 21 of The Facts of Life, “Contraception,” e-mail him at bclowes@hli.org.) + + + “Surveys in many countries consistently show that most Catholics believe that decisions of conscience about…Continue Reading

Protecting Freedom Of Religion

By FR. JOHN FLYNN, LC (Editor’s Note: Fr. John Flynn, LC, wrote this commentary for ZENIT News Agency. Fr. Flynn, a regular ZENIT contributor, holds degrees from the University of New South Wales and from the Pontifical Gregorian University. (ZENIT made Fr. Flynn’s essay available; all rights reserved.) + + + Great Britain’s Equality and…Continue Reading

A Russian Orthodox Bishop Speaks Plainly To Ecumenists

By JAMES LIKOUDIS In a previous article (see The Wanderer, February 26, 2015, p. 6A) attention was focused on the ecclesiological views of the Metropolitan Hilarion (Aleyev) of Volokolamsk, one of the most important Russian Orthodox bishops as chairman of the Department for External Affairs of the Moscow Patriarchate. In an important speech delivered at…Continue Reading

The Wanderer Interviews His Eminence Raymond Cardinal Burke . . .

burk10

By DON FIER Part 1 (Editor’s Note: Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke, Patron of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta, who previously served as Prefect of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura in Rome from June 2008 until November 2014, recently visited the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe in La Crosse, Wis. Prior to that he served as Archbishop…Continue Reading

Advertisement

Our Catholic Faith (Section B of print edition)

The Church’s Origin, Foundation, And Mission

By DON FIER Sacred Scripture reveals a rich and diverse tapestry of images to describe the Church. Each of these symbols enables one with faith to gain additional insights into the various complementary aspects which are present in this great mystery which the Fathers of Vatican Council II refer to as the “universal sacrament of salvation” (Lumen Gentium, n. 48…Continue Reading

Catholic Replies

Q. In the second reading on Good Friday (Heb. 5:8-9), there is a phrase toward the end of the epistle that says: “Son though he was, he learned obedience from what he suffered; and when he was made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him.” I am puzzled by the words “when he was…Continue Reading

The Good Shepherd

BY FR. ROBERT ALTIER Fourth Sunday Of Easter (YR B) Readings: Acts 4:8-12 1 John 3:1-2 John 10:11-18   In the Gospel reading today we hear our Lord telling us that He is the Good Shepherd. We have all heard this many times and, in our minds, we have our own notions of what that means. We can think about…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes… St. Catherine Of Siena

By CAROLE BRESLIN St. Catherine of Siena lived in the 14th century, a century of great upheaval and confusion in the Church. The Church celebrates her feast on April 29. She not only was a great saint, but her writings and her example were so extraordinary that she is one of the few persons who have been given the title…Continue Reading

A Leaven In The World… We Worship The Easter Christ In The Eucharist

By FR. KEVIN M. CUSICK “Christ is risen, Alleluia! The Lord is truly risen, Alleluia!” A blessed Easter full of joy in the graces of our risen Lord to you and your families. During the “three days” of the sacred Triduum, this year I received an email note from a parishioner: “I went to church with my mother on Holy…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes . . . St. Anselm

By CAROLE BRESLIN St. Anselm was born in France near the Swiss Alps around 1033. At the age of 15, he wished to enter religious life by joining a monastery. Sadly, his influential father was so against it that the monastery refused to accept him. This so discouraged the youth that he drowned his sorrows in worldly pursuits. He deeply…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes . . . St. Marguerite D’Youville

By CAROLE BRESLIN By 1701 the European colonies in North America had expanded beyond the Appalachian Mountains. The Anglo population in the English American colonies had reached 275,000. The French had recently established a colony in Detroit. Catholics, however, were persecuted as Massachusetts passed a law ordering all Roman Catholic priests to leave or face execution. New York passed a…Continue Reading