Love is seen as an experience associated with the world of fleeting emotions, no longer with truth. But is this an adequate description of love? Love cannot be reduced to an ephemeral emotion. True, it engages our affectivity, but in order to open it to the beloved and thus to blaze a trail leading away from self-centredness and towards another person, in order to build a lasting relationship; love aims at union with the beloved.
Here we begin to see how love requires truth. Only to the extent that love is grounded in truth can it endure over time, can it transcend the passing moment and be sufficiently solid to sustain a shared journey. If love is not tied to truth, it falls prey to fickle emotions and cannot stand the test of time. True love, on the other hand, unifies all the elements of our person and becomes a new light pointing the way to a great and fulfilled life. Without truth, love is incapable of establishing a firm bond; it cannot liberate our isolated ego or redeem it from the fleeting moment in order to create life and bear fruit.
If love needs truth, truth also needs love.
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Love and truth are inseparable. The truth we seek, the truth that gives meaning to our journey through life, enlightens us whenever we are touched by love. One who loves realizes that love is an experience of truth, that it opens our eyes to see reality in a new way, in union with the beloved. In this sense, Saint Gregory the Great could write that " amor ipse notitia est ", love is itself a kind of knowledge possessed of its own logic. William of Saint-Thierry, in the Middle Ages, follows this tradition when he comments on the verse of the Song of Songs where the lover says to the beloved, "Your eyes are doves" Song This discovery of love as a source of knowledge, which is part of the primordial experience of every man and woman, finds authoritative expression in the biblical understanding of faith.
In savouring the love by which God chose them and made them a people, Israel came to understand the overall unity of the divine plan. That is why, in the Bible, truth and fidelity go together: the true God is the God of fidelity who keeps his promises and makes possible, in time, a deeper understanding of his plan.
Through the experience of the prophets, in the pain of exile and in the hope of a definitive return to the holy city, Israel came to see that this divine "truth" extended beyond the confines of its own history, to embrace the entire history of the world, beginning with creation.
Faith-knowledge sheds light not only on the destiny of one particular people, but the entire history of the created world, from its origins to its consummation.
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Precisely because faith-knowledge is linked to the covenant with a faithful God who enters into a relationship of love with man and speaks his word to him, the Bible presents it as a form of hearing; it is associated with the sense of hearing. Saint Paul would use a formula which became classic: fides ex auditu , "faith comes from hearing" Rom Knowledge linked to a word is always personal knowledge; it recognizes the voice of the one speaking, opens up to that person in freedom and follows him or her in obedience. Paul could thus speak of the "obedience of faith" cf. Rom ; The experience of hearing can thus help to bring out more clearly the bond between knowledge and love.
At times, where knowledge of the truth is concerned, hearing has been opposed to sight; it has been claimed that an emphasis on sight was characteristic of Greek culture. If light makes possible that contemplation of the whole to which humanity has always aspired, it would also seem to leave no space for freedom, since it comes down from heaven directly to the eye, without calling for a response. It would also seem to call for a kind of static contemplation, far removed from the world of history with its joys and sufferings.
From this standpoint, the biblical understanding of knowledge would be antithetical to the Greek understanding, inasmuch as the latter linked knowledge to sight in its attempt to attain a comprehensive understanding of reality. This alleged antithesis does not, however, correspond to the biblical datum. The ground was thus laid for a dialogue with Hellenistic culture, a dialogue present at the heart of sacred Scripture. Hearing emphasizes personal vocation and obedience, and the fact that truth is revealed in time. For the Fourth Gospel, to believe is both to hear and to see.
Jn ; it is a hearing which calls for discipleship, as was the case with the first disciples: "Hearing him say these things, they followed Jesus" Jn But faith is also tied to sight. Seeing the signs which Jesus worked leads at times to faith, as in the case of the Jews who, following the raising of Lazarus, "having seen what he did, believed in him" Jn At other times, faith itself leads to deeper vision: "If you believe, you will see the glory of God" Jn In the end, belief and sight intersect: "Whoever believes in me believes in him who sent me.
And whoever sees me sees him who sent me" Jn Joined to hearing, seeing then becomes a form of following Christ, and faith appears as a process of gazing, in which our eyes grow accustomed to peering into the depths. Easter morning thus passes from John who, standing in the early morning darkness before the empty tomb, "saw and believed" Jn , to Mary Magdalene who, after seeing Jesus cf. Jn and wanting to cling to him, is asked to contemplate him as he ascends to the Father, and finally to her full confession before the disciples: "I have seen the Lord! How does one attain this synthesis between hearing and seeing?
It becomes possible through the person of Christ himself, who can be seen and heard. He is the Word made flesh, whose glory we have seen cf. The light of faith is the light of a countenance in which the Father is seen. In the Fourth Gospel, the truth which faith attains is the revelation of the Father in the Son, in his flesh and in his earthly deeds, a truth which can be defined as the "light-filled life" of Jesus. The truth which faith discloses to us is a truth centred on an encounter with Christ, on the contemplation of his life and on the awareness of his presence.
It was only in this way, by taking flesh, by sharing our humanity, that the knowledge proper to love could come to full fruition. For the light of love is born when our hearts are touched and we open ourselves to the interior presence of the beloved, who enables us to recognize his mystery. Thus we can understand why, together with hearing and seeing, Saint John can speak of faith as touch, as he says in his First Letter: "What we have heard, what we have seen with our eyes and touched with our hands, concerning the word of life" 1 Jn By his taking flesh and coming among us, Jesus has touched us, and through the sacraments he continues to touch us even today; transforming our hearts, he unceasingly enables us to acknowledge and acclaim him as the Son of God.
In faith, we can touch him and receive the power of his grace. Saint Augustine, commenting on the account of the woman suffering from haemorrhages who touched Jesus and was cured cf. Lk , says: "To touch him with our hearts: that is what it means to believe".
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Only when we are configured to Jesus do we receive the eyes needed to see him. Each of us comes to the light because of love, and each of us is called to love in order to remain in the light. Desirous of illumining all reality with the love of God made manifest in Jesus, and seeking to love others with that same love, the first Christians found in the Greek world, with its thirst for truth, an ideal partner in dialogue.
The encounter of the Gospel message with the philosophical culture of the ancient world proved a decisive step in the evangelization of all peoples, and stimulated a fruitful interaction between faith and reason which has continued down the centuries to our own times. That fact that our human loves contain that ray of light also helps us to see how all love is meant to share in the complete self-gift of the Son of God for our sake. In this circular movement, the light of faith illumines all our human relationships, which can then be lived in union with the gentle love of Christ.
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In the life of Saint Augustine we find a significant example of this process whereby reason, with its desire for truth and clarity, was integrated into the horizon of faith and thus gained new understanding. Augustine accepted the Greek philosophy of light, with its insistence on the importance of sight. His encounter with Neoplatonism introduced him to the paradigm of the light which, descending from on high to illumine all reality, is a symbol of God.
This realization liberated him from his earlier Manichaeism, which had led him to think that good and evil were in constant conflict, confused and intertwined. The realization that God is light provided Augustine with a new direction in life and enabled him to acknowledge his sinfulness and to turn towards the good. In the garden, he heard a voice telling him: "Take and read". He then took up the book containing the epistles of Saint Paul and started to read the thirteenth chapter of the Letter to the Romans.
Yet this encounter with the God who speaks did not lead Augustine to reject light and seeing.
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Thus Augustine developed a philosophy of light capable of embracing both the reciprocity proper to the word and the freedom born of looking to the light. Just as the word calls for a free response, so the light finds a response in the image which reflects it. Augustine can therefore associate hearing and seeing, and speak of "the word which shines forth within". Yet our longing for the vision of the whole, and not merely of fragments of history, remains and will be fulfilled in the end, when, as Augustine says, we will see and we will love.
The light of love proper to faith can illumine the questions of our own time about truth. Truth nowadays is often reduced to the subjective authenticity of the individual, valid only for the life of the individual. A common truth intimidates us, for we identify it with the intransigent demands of totalitarian systems. But if truth is a truth of love, if it is a truth disclosed in personal encounter with the Other and with others, then it can be set free from its enclosure in individuals and become part of the common good.
As a truth of love, it is not one that can be imposed by force; it is not a truth that stifles the individual. Since it is born of love, it can penetrate to the heart, to the personal core of each man and woman.
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Clearly, then, faith is not intransigent, but grows in respectful coexistence with others. One who believes may not be presumptuous; on the contrary, truth leads to humility, since believers know that, rather than ourselves possessing truth, it is truth which embraces and possesses us. Far from making us inflexible, the security of faith sets us on a journey; it enables witness and dialogue with all.
http://heqaluxy.tk Nor is the light of faith, joined to the truth of love, extraneous to the material world, for love is always lived out in body and spirit; the light of faith is an incarnate light radiating from the luminous life of Jesus. It also illumines the material world, trusts its inherent order and knows that it calls us to an ever widening path of harmony and understanding.
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The gaze of science thus benefits from faith: faith encourages the scientist to remain constantly open to reality in all its inexhaustible richness. Faith awakens the critical sense by preventing research from being satisfied with its own formulae and helps it to realize that nature is always greater. By stimulating wonder before the profound mystery of creation, faith broadens the horizons of reason to shed greater light on the world which discloses itself to scientific investigation.
The light of faith in Jesus also illumines the path of all those who seek God, and makes a specifically Christian contribution to dialogue with the followers of the different religions. The Letter to the Hebrews speaks of the witness of those just ones who, before the covenant with Abraham, already sought God in faith. Of Enoch "it was attested that he had pleased God" Heb , something impossible apart from faith, for "whoever would approach God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him" Heb We can see from this that the path of religious man passes through the acknowledgment of a God who cares for us and is not impossible to find.
What other reward can God give to those who seek him, if not to let himself be found? Even earlier, we encounter Abel, whose faith was praised and whose gifts, his offering of the firstlings of his flock cf.