The Sixth Day in the Octave of Christmas
Today’s first reading from the first letter of John presents us with a stark warning: “Do not love the world, or the things of the world.” And then, to hammer this point home, the warning is made even stronger: “If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.” We should refrain from loving the world and the things of the world, at least in some sense, but what sense is this?
Other passages from scripture should be borne in mind: “I give you a new commandment: love one another. As I have loved you, so you also should love one another.” And elsewhere in the same gospel: “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son.” According to these latter passages, we should love each other the way God does, and if God loved the world enough to send his only Son, then we should love the world, too, at least in some sense.
In one sense, we must love the world, and, in another sense, we must not love the world. Suffice it to say here that if we don’t love the world enough, then we disparage the gift that God has given us, for after creating the world, did not God declare it to be “good?” And, if we love the world too much, then we give to a creature something that we ought to give to the creator alone. God alone is infinite. The created world is finite, therefore, we ought to love the world in a finite way. That is to say, there must be some limit to the way we love every creature. Where, precisely, does such a limit lie? May God give us the grace always to know his will and the strength everywhere to follow it.