Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Love and Reason

St. Basil the Great, From the Office of Readings for the First Tuesday in Ordinary Time
Love of God is not something that can be taught. We did not learn from someone else how to rejoice in light or want to live, or to love our parents or guardians. It is the same--perhaps even more so--with our love for God: it does not come by another's teaching. As soon as the living creature (that is, man) comes to be a power of reason is implanted in us like a seed, containing within it the ability and the need to love. When the school of God's law admits this power of reason, it cultivates it diligently, skillfully nurtures it, and with God's help brings it to perfection.
As I was reading this yesterday, I was thinking that it is as good an explanation of the way that conscience works as anything that I've ever seen. What is really great about it is that it completely does away with the image of that little angel sitting on our shoulder shaking his finger at us for doing wrong, and sweeps the whole faculty into the realm of love. Love is informed by reason, and reason by love. 

This relationship of love and reason was another little epiphany for me. It's not that I couldn't have figured out that they had to be related, both proceeding from God, but that I never really think about them at the same time. I think about reason as the cold, hard light of day that illuminates the truth, but then, Love and Truth are the same.


1 comment:

  1. That's really good (both the quote and your comments).