Jesus said to his disciples: “You have heard that it was said, You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy. But I say to you, love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your heavenly father.”
Love your enemies are just words. But when lived, they deliver a deadly blow to enemies!
Can we deny the early Christians their finest moment when they lived and died by these words and delivered their deadliest blow to all the pagan religions of the Roman Empire?
Can we forget the young Jesuit and Franciscan missionaries of the Americas who, while being cut to pieces and eaten alive, once and for all laid to rest the tribal religions of the Indians? Can anyone deny that by dying at the hands of their enemies these martyrs celebrated the most eloquent requiem Mass for man-eating religions?
May we never underestimate the power of love, especially while we are being tortured and killed out of love! Yes, tortured and killed out of love, for this is love’s finest moment! Who would ever have thought such a thing?
And here lies the trouble with logic.
I have learned the hard way that logic is simply the wrong tool to use to comprehend the impossible, the contradictions, the depths and fathoms of life and death. I am not saying that logic is useless. No, I’m not that naive. What I am saying is that love is better suited for the serious business of life and death.
The problem with logic is that it is too limited, way too limited, while love is unlimited. Logic can only move horizontally, from mind to mind, whereas love moves in all directions: horizontally (from man to man), diagonally (from heart, mind, body and soul) and vertically (from God to man).
Logic answers everyone and everything but not our life. On the other hand, love answers to no one, not to the brain, not to the heart, not to anyone or anything but only to life – our life to be specific - and for this reason alone it leaves us in awe, wonder and tears. This brings me to Confession.
Logically speaking, sinners should be held responsible for their negligence; be judged according to their deeds; and pay for their sins. But love answers to no one. Love says to the sinner, “You are free to go”. This is not what anyone in their right mind would expect, especially after having said what they have said and done what they have done; and especially after having confessed to the Lord-Of-All-That-Is Right, Good and Holy!
Only love can turn the sinner sinless. Rather than receiving a sponge full of vinegar, a slap in the face, a punch in the gut and a piercing in their hands and feet, the sinner is filled with awe, wonder and tears for having received a light sentence, a reduced sentence, a life sentence of grace and mercy!
I am still amazed at how amazed Catholics are of the beauty and romance of the Sacrament of Reconciliation, especially if it has been ten, twenty, thirty, forty or fifty years since their last confession!
The trouble with Logic is that it is too logical and not very lovable. It denies us a good laugh at the end of a joke or a surprise ending at the end of a book. Logic demands an apparent reason for a hearty hug or a gentle kiss, love does not. Logic is very intuitive and deductive but not very creative. It has the power to poke an eye out, but not to heal and mend the hidden wound. Logic hates enemies, while love cures an enemy.
I can only experience life if I learn how to love, and to learn how to love requires the surprising virtues of faith, hope and trust. The Lord demands that I stay true to all his Commandments regardless of pain or fortune. Christ made it all a little easier for me, for he loved the unloveable man like me.
Heavenly Father, help us to love the unloveable just as you loved us.