Monday, November 03, 2008

death here, life there

There's a profound difference between the Love of Christ and socialism. Love involves Person and Act. Socialism involves institutions and material. From a positioned framed by a perverted perception of justice, it merely objectifies and commodifies humanity in a different way than does capitalism. But collectivizing and controlling human relations is more dangerous than capitalism because it removes individual freedom. It makes the institution God, and forces a soulless subjectivity. The oppurtunity to give and receive Love is diminished. As Augustine says, the smallest act is equal in Love to the largest. Within a socialist society, those oppurtunities cease to have meaning.

Saint Augustine (354-430), Bishop of Hippo (North Africa) and Doctor of the Church Discourse on Psalm 121 "You will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous."
Love has great power; it is our strength. If we have no love then nothing else is of any use to us. «If I speak in human and angelic tongues,» the apostle Paul says: «but do not have love, I am a resounding gong or a clashing cymbal» (1Cor 13,1). And then listen to this tremendous statement: «If I give away everything I own, and if I hand my body over to be burnt, but do not have love, I am nothing» (v.3). Even if love is all you have, even if you cannot give to the poor, love. Were you to give no more than a cup of cold water (Mt 10,42), it would be worth the same reward as Zacchaeus had, having distributed half his possessions (Lk 19,8). How is this? One gives but little, the other much and do their gestures have the same value? Indeed yes – their wherewithal is unequal but their love is equal... The Psalmist says: «We will go into the house of the Lord» (Ps 122[121],4). It is up to us to see whether we are going there. Not our feet but our hearts are what take us there. See whether we are on the way; let each one ask himself: What are you doing for the poor believer, for the brother who is homeless or the beggar who holds out his hand? Check whether your heart is closed... «Pray for the peace of Jerusalem» (v.6). What does the peace of Jerusalem consist in? «Prosperity for those who love you» (Vulg). The psalmist addresses Jerusalem: «Those who love you will prosper» – prosperity after deprivation. Wretchedness here below, prosperity above; weakness here, strength there; those who are poor here are rich there. And where do their riches come from? From the fact that here they gave away the possessions they had received for a time from God they will receive there what God gives them for all eternity. My brethren, here below the rich are those who are poor; it is good that the rich man discovers his own poverty. Does he think himself satisfied? This is to be puffed up, not full. Let him recognise his own emptiness so as to be capable of satisfaction. What does he have? Gold. What does he still lack? Eternal life. Let him take good note of what he has and recognise what he lacks. Brothers, let him give away what he possesses so as to receive what he has not.

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