Saturday 6th February 2016

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:

COMPLETE 3 PART Interview With Cardinal Burke . . . Insights On The State Of The Church In The Aftermath Of The Ordinary Synod On The Family

Cburke3

By DON FIER Part 1 (Editor’s Note: His Eminence Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke, Patron of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta, recently traveled from Rome to the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe in La Crosse, Wis., a magnificent place of worship which he founded and dedicated. (His Eminence graciously granted an extensive interview to The Wanderer during which he…Continue Reading

Marco Rubio, David Daleiden; Chi-Town priest ‘outs’ himself

The young investigative journalist and pro-life activist David Daleiden – whom GOP presidential hopeful Marco Rubio recently defended – will present himself before Judge Brock Thomas in Houston on February 4. Peter Breen, special counsel for the Thomas More Society,…Continue Reading

Catholic Italy mobilises as conservatives mount last stand against same-sex unions

It has been 2,000 years since Romans gathered at the Circus Maximus to watch chariots roar around the racetrack, but a new battle was brought to the ancient site on Saturday . Clutching banners reading “We defend our children” and…Continue Reading

New documents prove Planned Parenthood profited from selling aborted body parts: pro-life group

HOUSTON, January 29, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) – A pro-life organization has released documents that may show Planned Parenthood illegally profited from the sale of aborted babies’ body parts, furthering a Texas state investigation and possibly triggering a new grand jury in…Continue Reading

TRUMP’S SPOKESWOMAN MUST APOLOGIZE

Bill Donohue comments on a remark made by Donald Trump’s national spokeswoman, Katrina Pierson: On December 18, 2011, Katrina Pierson sent the following tweet: “Just saw a commercial from Catholic Church stating that Catholic Church

Faithful Catholic Education Offers Understanding of True Freedom, Says Archbishop Lucas

Catholic education prepares students to live a life of faith, but also offers students a true understanding of God-given freedom in an environment in which they can grow in virtue, said Archbishop George Lucas of the Archdiocese of Omaha, Neb.,…Continue Reading

NFL star who refused to meet Obama over abortion gives powerful talk at March for Life

WASHINGTON, D.C., January 22, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) – All the speakers at the 2016 March for Life play a pivotal role – but only one was regularly called an MVP. Matt Birk, the former center for the Minnesota Vikings and the…Continue Reading

2016 March for Life heats up blizzard-stricken Washington (PHOTOS)

WASHINGTON, D.C., January 22, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) – The blizzard snows are falling on the nation’s capital, layering the city in a blanket of frost that could be two to three feet thick by tomorrow morning. But for awhile this afternoon,…Continue Reading

SPECIAL REPORT: Planned Parenthood Offices Located Near Half of Catholic Colleges, Alarming Pro-Life Leaders

Half of all four-year, residential Catholic colleges in the U.S. are within five miles of Planned Parenthood facilities, a study by The Cardinal Newman Society has found. Catholic pro-life leaders warn that the close proximity of these Planned Parenthood centers…Continue Reading

81 percent of Americans support dramatically stronger pro-life reforms: Poll

WASHINGTON, D.C., January 19, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) – An overwhelmingly majority – including two-thirds of self-described “pro-choice” Americans – would support greatly strengthening laws that protect the unborn, according to a new poll released this morning. In all, 81 percent of…Continue Reading

New initiative aims to make Catholic men ‘watchmen’

For years, Chad Crow has attended the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis’ annual conference for men. And the father of four, who is a parishioner at Transfiguration in Oakdale, said that he and other men who attend the conference…Continue Reading

Vatican Parishes Are Now Welcoming Refugees

Diocese of Rome Responds to Holy Father’s September Invitation for Parishes to Host a Family of Refugees January 15, 2016  By ZENIT Staff Responding to Pope Francis’ appeal this September, Vatican parishes have begun welcoming refugee families. In his Sept.…Continue Reading

Planned Parenthood sues group that exposed its trafficking of babies’ body parts

Ben Johnson IRVINE, CA, January 14, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) – Planned Parenthood has filed a lawsuit against the organization that exposed their practice of receiving financial remuneration for collecting the body parts and tissues of aborted babies. Planned Parenthood sued the…Continue Reading

Newsmax

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 su
bscribe 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 . . .

INTERVIEW: Padre Pio In Rome: Saints as Living Icons of Divine Mercy

Stefano Campanella, Director of Padre Pio TV and Author of Publications on the Friar of Pietrelcina, Reflects on Significance of the Historic Transfer •February 4, 2016•Osvaldo Rinaldi• Stefano Campanella, born in 1964 in Putignano, Italy, lives with his family at San Giovanni Rotondo. He has been a parliamentary journalist and Vatican expert. Currently, he serves as director of Padre Pio TV and heads the press office of the religious province of Sant’Angelo and Padre Pio…Continue Reading

Pope: The Faith is the greatest inheritance we can leave

(Vatican Radio) The most beautiful inheritance we can leave to others is the Faith: that was Pope Francis’ message during Holy Mass on Thursday morning at the Casa Santa Marta. In his homily, he invited us to not fear death, because the course of life continues. Thinking about death illuminates life The day’s first reading tells the story of the death of King David. “In every life there is an ending,” the Pope said. This…Continue Reading

The Pope: consecrated life must be close to the people

pope301

Vatican City, 2 February 2016 (VIS) – The following are extensive extracts of the Holy Father’s extemporaneous address to the participants in the Jubilee of Consecrated Life, which took place yesterday in the Paul VI Hall. This afternoon in St. Peter’s Basilica he will celebrate the Mass to conclude the Year of Consecrated Life. “I have prepared a text for this occasion regarding the themes of consecrated life and three of its most important pillars:…Continue Reading

Pope’s Morning Homily: If You’re Not Humble, You Won’t Be Holy

During Mass at Casa Santa Marta, Francis Says Sometimes We Need to Be Humiliated to Entrust Ourselves Truly to God February 1, 2016 Deborah Castellano Lubov Zenit If you wish to be holy, then you better start by being humble. According to Vatican Radio, Pope Francis stressed this during his daily morning Mass at Casa Santa Marta this morning, as he recalled the story of King David who, aware of his own sin, accepted humiliation…Continue Reading

Pope’s Address to Congregation for Doctrine of the Faith

pope920

ZENIT ‘This attention to the works of mercy is important: they are not a devotion. It is the concreteness of how Christians must carry forward the spirit of mercy.’ Dear Brothers and Sisters, I meet with you at the end of the works of your plenary session. I greet you cordially and I thank the Cardinal Prefect for his courteous words. We are in the Holy Year of Mercy. I hope that in this Jubilee…Continue Reading

Sources, Methods, And Lives

By JUDGE ANDREW P. NAPOLITANO This has not been a good week for Hillary Clinton. She prevailed over Sen. Bernie Sanders in the Iowa Democratic presidential caucuses by less than four tenths of one percent of all votes cast, after having led him in polls in Iowa at one time by 40 percentage points. In…Continue Reading

Is A New Era Upon Us?

By PATRICK J. BUCHANAN Whoever wins the nominations, the most successful campaigns of 2016 provide us with a clear picture of where the center of gravity is today in both parties and, hence, where America is going. Bernie Sanders, with his mammoth crowds and mass support among the young, represents, as did George McGovern in…Continue Reading

Fire From Ice

By DONALD DeMARCO One of the most improbable ways of getting a fire started is by using ice. That’s right, using ice. No survivor’s manual would be complete without describing how this can be accomplished. First, one finds some clear ice and then shapes it into a disk that can be used as a lens.…Continue Reading

The Jurisprudence Of Benedict XVI Vs. That Of August Comte

By JUDE DOUGHERTY In his address to the German Bundestag on September 22, 2011, Benedict delivered a lecture on the framing of law that is worth revisiting in this election year. Well, in any year. Speaking to that body of lawmakers, he asks, “How do we recognize what is right and may be given the…Continue Reading

Federal Report: 40 Percent Qualify For Need-Tested Benefits

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.) + + + As of December 2012, the total population of the United States — including members of the Armed Forces stationed overseas — equaled 315,255,012, according to the Census Bureau’s estimate. At…Continue Reading

Advertisement

Our Catholic Faith (Section B of print edition)

Catholic Replies

Q. I know that in this Jubilee Year of Mercy, we are supposed to practice more fervently the Corporal and Spiritual Works of Mercy. Most of these are fairly easy to understand, but I wonder about the one that says we are to “admonish the sinner.” How can one do that without judging another person, which we’re not supposed to…Continue Reading

One Truth, One Lord, One God

By FR. ROBERT ALTIER First Sunday Of Lent (YR C) Readings: Deut. 26:4-10 Romans 10:8-13 Luke 4:1-13 In the Gospel reading today we hear about Satan tempting our Lord. In the third temptation the Devil offers all of the kingdoms of the Earth to Jesus if He would just bow down and worship the tempter. In response, our Lord quotes…Continue Reading

Pope’s Address To Roman Rota… Proclaim The Truth Of God’s Plan For Marriage

VATICAN CITY (ZENIT) — Below is a ZENIT translation of Pope Francis’ January 22 address to the tribunal of the Roman Rota in the Vatican. In his talk, the Holy Father affirmed: “The Church, in fact, can show the indefectible merciful love of God to families, in particular those wounded by sin and by the trials of life and, at…Continue Reading

A Leaven In The World… Rest In Peace, Fr. Mark Wayne Ervin

By FR. KEVIN M. CUSICK In a welcome example of bringing greater clarity to moral teaching, Pope Francis is urging us to distinguish sacramental marriage from other unions. As reported by Catholic News Service on January 22: “Pope Francis said there can be no confusion between God’s plan for marriage as an indissoluble bond between one man and woman who…Continue Reading

An Apologetics Course . . . Summing Up And Answering Objections

By RAYMOND DE SOUZA, KM Part 39 Yes, to join the Church of Jesus Christ is necessary for salvation. But we must understand that when the Church teaches that outside her pale there is no salvation, she does not intend to pass judgment on individual cases, nor on God’s mercy and Providence. Whatever is connected as exceptions to the rule…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes… Blessed Boleslava Maria Lament

By CAROLE BRESLIN The Catholic Church observes the Church Unity Octave from January 18 through January 25. For each day of the octave, we pray for a different form of unity. For example, on January 18, the intention is for the return of separated Eastern Christians to communion with the Holy See. Another day the intention is for the restoration…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes… St. Vincent Pallotti

By CAROLE BRESLIN Throughout the history of the Church, beginning with Christ Himself, disenfranchised youth have found a friend in the followers of the Lord. St. John Bosco and St. Philip Neri come to mind. There is another saint who also helped both young men and young women, St. Vincent Pallotti, a man born and raised in Rome during the…Continue Reading