Archdiocese of Chicago

Cardinal George's Network Archive

Monday, July 19, 2010

Loving God and/or Neighbor?

Can you love God without loving your neighbor?  Can you love your neighbor without loving God?  The faith answers “no” to both questions; but those without faith would insist that they do love others and don’t love a God they don’t believe in.

What has been called “atheistic humanism” can show many good works done by non-believers, sometimes to help individuals and sometimes to help all of humanity.  The believer’s acknowledgement of altruism and generosity among non-believers, the recognition of true love for others among people who don’t believe in God, still goes on to press the case for God’s involvement in any love, whether He is acknowledged or not.  The inner logic of love carries a lover beyond any particular object or person to a horizon of perfect or infinite love.  No matter the good accomplished, no matter the depth of love among human persons, it is never enough; if the object of our love is less than God, hope vanishes and a kind of desperation captures one’s life.  This life becomes a circle closed in on itself.

For some, this establishes the inevitable tragedy of human life; for others, it elicits a courageous railing at fate.  For believers, it is a reminder of St. Augustine’s confession: “Our hearts are restless until they rest in Thee.”

Francis Cardinal George, OMI

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