César Fernández-Stoll

César Fernández-Stoll
Versión hispana

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Love and Forgiveness

The creed of the apostles describes more or less what a Christian believes and Our Lord’s Prayer describes what a good Christian’s life needs to be, the sermon of the mountain describes what Christian life in the world is.
Our humanity is described by our distinctions from the rest of the natural kingdom as we are creatures who have been blessed by special gifts and virtues and which we owe to having been created to the image and likeness of our creator, the only living God. Our humanity therefore, make us unique and as a consequence of that uniqueness, provides us with an identity before our creator, individually and the dignity to be, over and above the rest of creation, their custodians.
As human beings, even though we have a close and intimate relationship with God, we are social by virtue of the love we have inherited upon creation.
The gifts from the Holy Spirit provide us with the tools necessary for the job of not being just custodians of the planet we inhabit and share with the rest of creation to grow and prosper and to worship God and love Him and our neighbors as He commands.
Human beings are not isolated individuals but social individuals and we socialize by loving and as part of that love by forgiving.
That love starts from seeking the complement in our lives which will make possible that growth, to multiply and be fruitful and for that matter only one man and one woman can procreate and be fruitful. To maintain that relationship loyal, persevering in good or bad times or health, until death set us apart is the divine mandate and recipe for happiness and for the happiness of the children fruit of that union we know as the institution of marriage, the sacrament of marriage instituted by God and which only can destroy. There is no substitute for the happiness of a child blessed with a mother and father united in holy matrimony because he/she, the child, is the blessed offspring of that blessed union. Of course life sometimes forces it not to be the case, but it is one thing to be a consequence of fate and another of the decision of the parents to break such a commitment.
By growing from that relationship, from the institution of marriage, the institution of family comes to be and it is starting from the family that the meaning of love can be expanded towards our neighbours and peers.
Love is not possible not giving before love to God, because God is truth and without truth love cannot be fecund and fruitful and not even possible.
Love, is and act of giving and not of receiving, nor it is implying to expect receiving anything in exchange or trade. Love is an action of the individual not of society. For any society to love, it implies that the individuals forming part of that social group are giving, individually. It is only by virtue of its individuals that a society can love because the society cannot love only the individuals as such.
Love is not to force any one to give, because it is a voluntary and selfless act, hence to impose tribulation upon anyone under the excuse to be loving or because it is the wish of the majority to love, is not just a gross expression of injustice but of hypocrisy.
Societies are formed and organized in a variety of shapes and levels and each in their own terms define their objectives and goals and these cannot have as an end the destruction of the individual as it is the individual who gives life to the institution formed as social group. When a social group imposes upon an individual, renouncing to his/her individuality as a condition to form part of such a group, it is promoting its own destruction, because only individuals can make a social group possible. A herd of slaves is not a social group because the lack of dignity allowed to the individual.
Forgiving is a fundamental component of loving because by forgiving, more is being given that by merely loving. Love cannot be full without forgiving and so, carrying loads of resentment or denying compassion to our debtors, denies us from our own doing, the ability to love and thereby our dignity because we are denying their dignity to those we are denying forgiveness.
A very clear difference exists between punishment or reprimand and revenge or vengeance as the first one implies forgiveness providing for repentance and redemption while the latter denies forgiveness leaving everything for hate and resentment.
A social group of individuals can opt as a consequence of their association to look for specific benefits to the individuals members of the group, be it under the concept of gaining strength by its numbers or for whatever other reason, and still, the same condition exist of relaying in the individuality and dignity of the members and so their participation needs to be still voluntary and discretionary or otherwise individuality and even dignity can be dismissed thereby destroying the social aspect of the group, transforming it into nothing but a herd of slaves deemed to blindly obey what the individuals at the helm decide.
Love and forgiveness makes possible our freedom, the gift God has granted each and every one to make us individuals. Our free will and will power defines our freedom with the responsibility and accountability for the choices we opt to take, for the paths we walk.
To blame is not a act of love but an act of selfishness and so when we even attempt to discharge our responsibilities in the form of blame or simply by ignoring the truth about them, we are abandoning our humanity as we are renouncing our capacity to love and forgive as well as our freedom because we become trapped into that decision.
Our relationship with God, our Lord and almighty creator is defined by love. The gift of fearing God is not love by fear but recognition of His omnipotence and fulfillment of the commandment of loving God over and above everything and anything, because we can only fear to offend Him by sinning.
Love is not imposing our faith and beliefs upon others but to express the truth. Any society that imposes upon its members its faith or beliefs, is only carrying a herd of slaves without dignity or individuality.
Love is humility, is to claim to be last among the last and so loving is giving and forgiving in humility.
Love does not degrade because what it degrades is not to love, to impose to be first to abandon our peers and neighbours for pleasures, lust and greed, to surrender our souls to what is not what we are, to forsaken the mission set for us by our creator.
Love is not sex because sex is only one small expression of love which when separated from it means degradation and renouncing to our own humanity. Sex is not an end to anything but the beginning of life upon conception and an integral part of loving.
Life is always to be welcomed because is the expression of love which even if not intended by the two procreators, it is the will of God as our creator and so it is blessed and dignified by Him. Destroying life in the name of love is but an excuse for selfish abandonment to lust and limitless pleasures or an excuse to put the self before God.
Sex cannot be an expression of love when a man and a woman are not involved in a union blessed by God, because is God who has created and make that union possible as a mandate for multiplication for continuation and prosperity, because is only love what can be the only valid need for prosperity.
Love is forgiveness and with forgiveness we earn our own forgiveness because as human beings as we are, we are all weak and fragile and bound to be tempted and to fail and so we need forgiveness and God in His infinite love, he is always ready to forgive us, because for Him there is nothing impossible, and He will forgive us as long as we are ready to forgive.
God is the only true judge and it is not upon humans to judge and even when society as part of its administrative powers, exercises judgment upon people, this needs to be representing the will of God, not of humans, therefore, exploiting a position of power to impose judgment upon people, to obtain or preserve power and control upon the people or to confuse the word of God, is not justice but exploitation, tyranny and despotism, not government.
Love is not an opinion but a fact of life that needs to be found in God as our creator as He is the pure essence of love and truth.
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