"In verbo veritatis" (2 Cor 6:7)

February 23, 2012

Everything is gratis

Filed under: Lent 2012 — komonchak @ 8:17 am

Let us love God purely and chastely. A heart is not chaste if it worships God for the sake of reward. What, then, are we to have no reward for worshiping God? Indeed, we shall, but the reward is the very God whom we worship. He himself will be our reward because we shall see him as he is (I Jn 3:2). Consider what reward you will attain. What did our Lord Jesus Christ say to those who love him? “Anyone who loves me will keep my commandments, and whoever loves me will be loved by my Father, and I shall love him” (Jn 14:23). This may seem a small thing to someone who doesn’t love. But if you love, if you sigh for, if you freely [gratis] worship him by whom you were freely [gratis] bought–you had not merited it that he redeemed you–, if you sigh for him as you consider his blessings to you, and if your heart is restless with desire for him, then don’t seek something apart from him: he is enough for you. No matter how greedy you are, he is enough. …
Let me give an example from human marriages of what a chaste heart is in relation to God. In human marriages, a man does not love his wife if he loves her because of her dowry; a woman does not love her husband if she loves him because he gave her something, not even if he gave her something great…. If, then, a husband is freely [gratis] loved if he is chastely loved, and a wife is freely [gratis] loved if she is chastely loved, how is God to be loved, the soul’s true and faithful husband?… Let us love him, then, in such a way that nothing apart from him is loved, and then happens in us what we have said, what we have sung, because here is our voice too: “On whatever day I called on you, behold I came to know that you are my God” [Ps 55[56]:10). This is what it is to invoke God: to invoke him freely [gratis]. (Augustine, EnPs 55, 17; PL 36, 658)


[JAK: God’s love for us is gratis, gracious, generous, not given because we earned it. Our love for God is supposed to be gratis [Gratis amandus Deus, he writes elsewhere], because it is not love for the sake of reward. It is hard with a single word to convey these meanings in English.]


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