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Saturday, May 12, 2012

Fr. Pacwa, S.J. on John 15:9-11 - Love is not in the Passions

"What does it mean to 'remain in Jesus'?"

He begins in the first 11 minutes (6:15-17:00) by responding to the question from a Scriptural perspective. The Readings will explain in the coming days how we are to "remain in Jesus," in large part by developing the theme of what it means that He is the vine and we are the branches (Jn 15:1-8, the reading from last Wed.). He references the passages that tell us that Jesus loves us as the Father loves Him (John 15:9), and that to understand this, we must see it in light of the passages that tell us that God so loved the world that He gave His only Son (John 3:16), and also that everything that the Father has He gives to the Son (John 16:15). Furthermore, He loves the world in spite of the fact that the world is characterized by an opposition to His Son. As the Father gives completely to the Son, the Son gives Himself completely to us, and it is this love which draws us to Himself (John 12:32). This complete gift of self is "what it means to 'remain in Jesus'." This kind of love, indicated by the word "agapan," is expressed exteriorly: it does not subsist only in the interior life or only in the emotions. The primary expression of this love is the keeping of His commandments, which Jesus emphasizes three times in Chapter 14 to stress its importance.

In the remaining 9 minutes, he gives a practical discussion of these verses, presenting the forces that work against us in today's society when trying to live according to these teachings. What follows, in part, is an elaborate refutation of the common misconception that love is an emotion. In our society, love is commonly portayed as a "passion that somebody undergoes and cannot help feeling." The culture establishes and builds upon this principle that if one has a passion, he must act upon it. In fact, by this principle, one is being "inauthentic" by not acting upon his passions. Fr. Pacwa presents the situation in which one's passions change from being directed from one person to another, in which case it is considered by our culture right for one to act on those new passions, even when these acts of passion are contrary to the commandments of God. Continuing on to a deeper level to unveil the causes of these errors, he states that this principle upon which the media builds is a manifestation of how those in the media are living their own lives, and that a large amount of effort is put forth into promoting to the rest of the culture the worldview based upon this principle. They see this as a very progressive and "post-Christian" worldview that is leaving behind the Christian worldview, which is built upon the "old-fashioned" principle that the foundation of love is the following of God's commandments. However, it is evident that they are so ignorant of history, that they don't understand that in actuality their worldview is not cutting-edge at all, but is even pre-Christian. Because of this ignorance, they are doomed to repeat the same mistakes that follow from this distorted definition of love - as has been done so many times over the centuries by other societies, including the Romans and many others. These cultures inevitably collapse, as Christians have foreseen by the teachings of St. Paul in Eph 2:2-3. And what remains is the Christian Church - those who remain in the love of Jesus, the Word of God who will never perish - by following His commandments.

"Right now, we have people throughout the West who see themselves as post-Christian. They see that they're leaving this behind and coming to a brand new culture. They're not. They are so ignorant of history that they are actually reverting to the type of culture that once existed in pre-Christian times. They are being the conservatives in trying to change Christian morals, Christian family, the definition of what it means to be a family. They are trying to change that and think this is modern. They will fall away." (@ 24:30)