Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Why Is It So Hard to Be Both Loving and Truthful?

Short answer: Because we’re not God.

You know how hard it is sometimes to tell someone the truth without “hurting” them? Or how easy it is to be “nice” without telling the truth?

Scripture has a word for such a dilemma: it’s called being “fallen.” We’ve come apart from God, from that place where love and truth hold hands.

At least, that’s the message I get from today’s reading in the Catechism of the Catholic Church. After instructing the faithful that God lives and is and has a name (paragraphs 203–213), the CCC gives just two attributes of God: He is loving (kind, good, gracious) (218–221) and He is true (constant, faithful, steadfast) (215–217).

God, in other words, is like a good father. Or for lucky Jims like myself, a good wife.

The CCC doesn’t say anything about God being cool or good-looking or doing what I want him too. It doesn’t say his actions aren’t confusing or apparently even sometimes unjust. But “God’s promises always come true.” (215)

And his love for his people “is stronger than a mother’s for her children. God loves his people more than a bridegroom his beloved; his love will be victorious over even the worst infidelities . . . ” (219)

God’s love is “everlasting.” (220)

This is both the tragedy of the state of the family today (love maybe, but everlasting?) and it is also the beauty of a longtime faithful marriage. As we grow older together, I find that it is easier for Katie and me to love one another while telling the truth, and vice versa. The sainthood commission has not been knocking on our door, but I do believe that maturing in a faithful marriage together has somehow slid us up the scales of love and truth.

The CCC tells me that those scales meet at the top, at God. There’s a long way to go yet, but maybe the direction is at least right.

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