Love, obedience, and absurdity

“Whoever holds to my commandments and keeps them is the one who loves me; and whoever loves me will be loved by my Father, and I shall love him and reveal myself to him.” – John 14:21


St. Augustine preached, “Love and do what you will.” Augustine’s meaning, however, can be misunderstood. He wasn’t saying that any action done with a feeling of affection or tenderness is by virtue of that motivation ipso facto “loving.” After all, this is the same Augustine who stated, “What is not loved in its own right is not loved,” making clear that love is “disinterested” and focused solely on the true good of the one loved. In fact, one of the main points in the sermon was that certain actions that appear unloving, like a parent disciplining his or her child, actually are expressions of love. And such actions may require doing things that are displeasing to the one loved and don’t make anyone feel very good at all. Continue reading