Sunday, September 7, 2014
Love Fulflls the Law
All summer I have been plagued by geese. I've spent many hours picking up their droppings. I often asked myself and others, "What are they good for?" This picture shows that one thing that they are good for is beauty. Beauty, too, in their gliding effortlessly along the lake. (Clicking on the picture enlarges it.)
Romans 13:8-10 has proved a rich passage for meditation. St. Paul, as a Jewish Pharisee, believed that strict obedience to the Law would win him God's love. That was what religion was about. Growing up Catholic in the forties I thought, too, that religion was obeying rules and regulations.
Perhaps it was as much a relief to St. Paul as it was to me to find out that that's not it.
In this passage St. Paul says, "The one who loves another has fulfilled the law." He says that all the commandments can be summed up in one, "Love your neighbor as yourself." All of his Letters express his conviction that God's love is unearned. God first loves us. We love God back. We pass on to others the same unearned love, no matter who they are, no matter what they've done.
The religious problem, then, is not that we don't know how to behave; the religious problem is that we don't believe how much we are loved.