Love and Law

Imagine with me for a second the scenario of a group of friends playing soccer on the top of a cliff. The cliff rises high above the treacherous waters below and one slip would cause a fall and certain death. Now, they are free to play the game, but they have the constant fear of falling over the edge. Take this same scenario and add a net around the edges of the cliff. They still have the freedom to play, but one could make the claim that they are even more free because now they do not have the fear of death. 

This is an analogy for why we have laws, either natural or divine. God gives us laws to protect us and to help us to live how we ought. Government should make laws to protect all of those in society. So in today’s First Reading it seems as if Paul is making the claim that laws are not necessary as long as you love. How could this be possible? 

The answer is that Paul is in one sense saying the laws are not needed if you love, because you know how you are to live. But in another sense he sees the necessity of the law because more often than not, we forget to love. This is in line with the tradition of the Church and even St. Augustine who is famous for saying, “love and do what you want.”

Notice the importance of explanation here. Paul and Augustine are clearly not saying we can just be good people and the moral law doesn’t matter. When we are truly loving and living rightly we are already in accord with the law, but instead of being edicts that are pushed on us from without, they well up from within. If we are truly loving we know instinctively not to murder, not to lie, not to gossip etc. These are things that a human being who lives in love would not do. 

This is essentially what it means when we are told to form our conscience. Our conscience should be formed in such a way that what we believe conforms with the truth of how we were made. God’s laws make sense if we accept that he is in control and knows what is best for us. So let’s take a few moments today to focus on how loving it is for God to give us laws to help guide us, but also how the closer we get to God the more we live rightly. From all of us here at Rodzinka Ministry, God bless!

Contact the author

Tommy Shultz is the Founder/Director of Rodzinka Ministry and a content specialist for Ruah Woods, a Theology of the Body Ministry. In these roles, he is committed to bringing all those he meets into a deeper relationship with Christ. Tommy has a heart and flair for inspiring people to live their faith every day. He has worked in various youth ministry, adult ministry, and diocesan roles. He has been a featured speaker at retreats and events across the country. With a degree in Theology from Franciscan University, Tommy hopes to use his knowledge to help all people understand the beauty of The Faith.

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