LOVE IS A DECISION
Love is a God graced Decision based on God Graced Knowledge
The world would have you believe that love is a feeling. Well, the world would have you believe many things that are not true. Why? Because, we Christians, are not of this world (John 17:14) and the world is in the grip of the evil one, the prince of darkness (John 14:30; and 1 John 5:19). And, the prince of darkness is at war with God, knowing that he has but little time left (Revelation 12:12). He tries to use us as his pawns, only to discard us, after we have done his wish unknowingly (or knowingly, when we are deluded). However, his plans are not unknown to us (2 Corinthians 2:5). Satan will even try to kill us, as soon as possible after having us commit mortal sin in order to guarantee us hell, not unless he can trust us to stay with him to do other evil chores; then, he will postpone his attempt at murder for later; but, sooner or later he will want to do it. However, we are not afraid:
James 4: 7 So submit yourselves to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.
1 Peter 5: 7 Cast all your worries upon him because he cares for you. 8 Be sober and vigilant. Your opponent the devil is prowling around like a roaring lion looking for (someone) to devour. 9 Resist him, steadfast in faith, knowing that your fellow believers throughout the world undergo the same sufferings.
Now, we know that love and knowledge go together; for, love is a decision and not a feeling, as the world would want us to believe. Love is accompanied by feelings, but, it is not a feeling. It is a God graced decision based on God graced knowledge. One loves what one knows, not what one does not know. Anyway, both love and knowledge are bestowed on us through the grace of God. Here are some Bible and Church insinuations concerning love and knowledge. Notice how knowledge and love keep coming together, whether in the Bible or in the Catechism:
Philippians 1: 9 And this is my prayer: that your love may increase ever more and more in knowledge and every kind of perception
This is how the Catechism of the Catholic Church – CCC (www.vatican.va/archive/index.htm) starts off (the heading and the first and the third paragraphs). Notice how love and knowledge come together also in other paragraphs (the underlined bold fonts are added for accentuation):
I. The life of man – to know and love God
CCC 1 God, infinitely perfect and blessed in himself, in a plan of sheer goodness freely created man to make him share in his own blessed life. For this reason, at every time and in every place, God draws close to man. He calls man to seek him, to know him, to love him with all his strength. He calls together all men, scattered and divided by sin, into the unity of his family, the Church. To accomplish this, when the fullness of time had come, God sent his Son as Redeemer and Savior. In his Son and through him, he invites men to become, in the Holy Spirit, his adopted children and thus heirs of his blessed life.
CCC 3 Those who with God’s help have welcomed Christ’s call and freely responded to it are urged on by love of Christ to proclaim the Good News everywhere in the world. This treasure, received from the apostles, has been faithfully guarded by their successors. All Christ’s faithful are called to hand it on from generation to generation, by professing the faith, by living it in fraternal sharing, and by celebrating it in liturgy and prayer.
CCC 158 “Faith seeks understanding”: it is intrinsic to faith that a believer desires to know better the One in whom he has put his faith, and to understand better what He has revealed; a more penetrating knowledge will in turn call forth a greater faith, increasingly set afire by love.
CCC 356 Of all visible creatures only man is “able to know and love his creator”. He is “the only creature on earth that God has willed for its own sake”, and he alone is called to share, by knowledge and love, in God’s own life. It was for this end that he was created, and this is the fundamental reason for his dignity:
CCC 429 From this loving knowledge of Christ springs the desire to proclaim him, to “evangelize”, and to lead others to the “yes” of faith in Jesus Christ.
CCC 477 At the same time the Church has always acknowledged that in the body of Jesus “we see our God made visible and so are caught up in love of the God we cannot see.”
CCC 2614 When Jesus openly entrusts to his disciples the mystery of prayer to the Father, he reveals to them what their prayer and ours must be, once he has returned to the Father in his glorified humanity. What is new is to “ask in his name.” Faith in the Son introduces the disciples into the knowledge of the Father, because Jesus is “the way, and the truth, and the life.” Faith bears its fruit in love.
CCC 2715 Contemplation is a gaze of faith, fixed on Jesus. “I look at him and he looks at me”: this is what a certain peasant of Ars in the time of his holy curé used to say while praying before the tabernacle. This focus on Jesus is a renunciation of self. His gaze purifies our heart; the light of the countenance of Jesus illumines the eyes of our heart and teaches us to see everything in the light of his truth and his compassion for all men. Contemplation also turns its gaze on the mysteries of the life of Christ. Thus it learns the “interior knowledge of our Lord,” the more to love him and follow him.
Notice the sequence in the paragraphs above, (we are here assuming initial reception of faith by God’s grace): Increase in knowledge increases faith, and this in turn increases love. This is most prominent in the last phrase of CCC 158; also, in CCC 2614.
Now, behold. The Catechism even gives us the opposite case:
CCC 1792 Ignorance of Christ and his Gospel, bad example given by others, enslavement to one’s passions, assertion of a mistaken notion of autonomy of conscience, rejection of the Church’s authority and her teaching, lack of conversion and of charity: these can be at the source of errors of judgment in moral conduct.
Are we now convinced that we love what we know, not what we do not know? The more we know about someone, the more we are able to love that person, if the qualities we come to know about in him/her are likeable.
THROUGH KNOWLEDGE FROM THE SCRIPTURES, WE KNOW OUR GOD, THE ONE AND ONLY GOD! HE IS OUR:
Awesome God: Luke 1:36-37 Romans 4:17; 1 Corinthians 1:19 + 27-28; Hebrews 11:3; 2 Peter 3:5-7 Revelation 2:23
Who makes the Impossible Possible: Matthew 19:26; Mark 10:27; Luke 1:37 + 18:27; John 15:5; Hebrews 11:6
He is the Searcher of Hearts and Minds: Matthew 6:18; Luke 16:15; Act 1:24-25; Romans 8:27; 1 Thessalonians 2:4; 1 John 3:19-20; Revelation 2:23
The Omnipotent (The Almighty, the only One infinite in power): Romans 1:20; 2 Corinthians 6:18; Revelation 1:8
The Omnipresent (The only One present everywhere at the same time): Acts 17:27; Hebrew 4:13; Revelation 2:23
The Omniscient (The only One with infinite knowledge): Matthew 12:25; 1 Corinthians 13:12; 1 Timothy 2:7; Revelation 2:23
And the Omnificent (The only One having all powers of creation): John 1:3; Romans 4:17; Hebrews 11:3; 2 Peter 3:5-7
If we get to know all these attributes of God, we would come to realize that there can be no one better than Him. There is no way we can come to love anyone or anything more than Him. God is the All Loving, the All Compassionate, the All Merciful and the All Just and Impartial God that He is. He is our Awesome God; the Searcher of hearts and minds; our Creator; our Sustainer!
Now, because we have come to know that God is the Ultimate Good, we have the potential to love Him above all else, depending on our knowledge of Him. The more we know Him, the more will our love for Him be. And this is what we must do: realize that potential and get to know Him well. Knowing that through the grace of God, love is a decision based on knowledge, the Apostles repeatedly urge us to get to know God and know His will for us:
1 Corinthians 15: 34 Become sober as you ought and stop sinning. For some have no knowledge of God; I say this to your shame.
Ephesians 1: 17 that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you a spirit of wisdom and revelation resulting in knowledge of him.
Colossians 1: 9 Therefore, from the day we heard this, we do not cease praying for you and asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will through all spiritual wisdom and understanding
1 Timothy 2: 3 This is good and pleasing to God our savior, 4 who wills everyone to be saved and to come to knowledge of the truth.
2 Peter 1: …2 may grace and peace be yours in abundance through knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord.
2 Peter 3: 18 But grow in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord and savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory now and to the day of eternity. (Amen.)
So, why are these things being said?! Because, if we think we love God a lot and yet know very little about Him, we are deceiving ourselves. If we want to love God more, we need to get to know Him better.
It was revealed to us that conversion is a daily process (2 Corinthians 4:16; Philippians 1:6+2:13; and 1 Thessalonians 5:24, all together). So, let us give this process a chance, and let us get to know God better. How do we get to know God more and better? We read the Scriptures regularly; we read Church teachings regularly; we pray constantly (CCC 2742-2745); we meditate; we contemplate; we fast; we ask for wisdom (James 1:5). The more we look for God, the more He reveals Himself to us (Luke 10:22; and, John 14:21). Have you not come across Matthew 13:12 “To anyone who has, more will be given and he will grow rich; from anyone who has not, even what he has will be taken away?” This is explained in the New American Bible thus: ‘The reference’ here ‘transcends the original level’ [money, possessions]. ‘God gives further understanding to one who accepts the revealed mystery; from the one who does not, he will take it away.’ Therefore, let us get to know all about God, that we may love Him above all things (Luke 14:26).
Therefore, let us get into the habit of daily Scripture reading starting with the New Testament and with the four Gospels. We are to study utilizing a Catholic Bible. We are not against our Separated Brethren, but, they have chosen to remove seven books from the Old Testament of their Bibles (Refer to 5 Myths about 7 Books in Chapter Twelve), and this is not acceptable under any circumstance. Additionally, since there is copyright involved, and a translator needs to choose other words, some of their Bibles have words chosen to reflect their understanding of the meaning of Scripture, which follows Personal Interpretation; which in turn produces errors. Peter warned us of this in 2 Peter 1:20-21.
The New American Bible is a good choice. It is the English Language Bible of the Catholic Church in America. It is what is being read at Mass every day throughout America. It is the Bible on the Vatican website!!
We are to read the Catechism of the Catholic Church regularly, and to read only Catholic books; those with a NIHIL OBSTAT and IMPRIMATOR in the copyright page. Do not read non-Catholic literature as there will always be errors within, and something crucial is always missing in them. We are people of the Whole Truth. So, do not settle for anything less. Besides, with Personal Interpretation, error is bound to find its way in (2 Peter 1:20-21; and, 3:15-18). The explanation here is that not everyone who examines the prompts that are in him is able to distinguish the prompts of the flesh or those of the Evil One, from those of the Holy Spirit (CCC 851). Why would I want to read books by other Christian thinkers and theologians? They are all deficient, because their authors have not researched enough to qualify them to address us, the laity. Had they researched enough, they would have been able to discover that the Catholic Church is the one and only Church instituted by Christ. Behold, Matthew 16:18-19, is in the singular!!! So, listen not to the learned who have not researched enough to discover that the Catholic Church is the one and only Church instituted by Jesus Christ, our Lord!!!
The Church teaches us that “Salvation is found in the truth” (CCC 851). And the Catholic Church, being the one and only Church instituted by Christ, has all the Truth (1 Timothy 3:15). Consequently, salvation is found only in the Catholic Church for those who know this. If one does not know, it is a different matter and is subject to God’s will and mercy, and His Word (John 15:22; 1 Timothy 1:13). But, now, you know this. I have told you. Therefore, your salvation is through the Catholic Church. That’s the common sense given us by God. I say all this with love for all of God’s people. There is no animosity or ill feeling toward anyone. We are all entitled to all of God’s Truth.
So, do not stay in ignorance (Acts 17:30; and, Ephesians 5:17). St. Jerome, who in 400 A.D. translated the Bible into Latin said: “Ignorance of Scripture is ignorance of Christ”! So, let us delve into the Truth. We have plenty of catching up to do, and plenty of love to give God and His people; His creation. If we start the process, we are on holy ground and we are safe, because: “The one who calls you is faithful, and he will also accomplish it” (1 Thessalonians 5:24), and, another insight: “I am confident of this, that the one who began a good work in you will continue to complete it until the day of Christ Jesus” 5 (Philippians 1:6).
Keep it up and never give up, and salvation is yours! Remember, conversion is a daily, life long process (2 Corinthians 4:16) of employing our God given free will, to gradually give up our will, for that of the Father. That is the definition of the Road to Salvation! Let us all walk it!
EXCERPTS FROM PORTA FIDEI
The following are just a few paragraphs to show the importance of knowledge of the Faith, as depicted by this Encyclical of two Popes: Pope Francis and Pope Benedict XVI, Pope Emeritus:
1. From Paragraph 4:
My venerable Predecessor the Servant of God Paul VI announced one in 1967, to commemorate the martyrdom of Saints Peter and Paul on the 19th centenary of their supreme act of witness. He thought of it as a solemn moment for the whole Church to make “an authentic and sincere profession of the same faith”; moreover, he wanted this to be confirmed in a way that was “individual and collective, free and conscious, inward and outward, humble and frank”.  He thought that in this way the whole Church could reappropriate “exact knowledge of the faith, so as to reinvigorate it, purify it, confirm it, and confess it.”
2. From Paragraph 10e:
Evidently, knowledge of the content of faith is essential for giving one’s own assent, that is to say, for adhering fully with intellect and will to what the Church proposes. Knowledge of faith opens a door into the fullness of the saving mystery revealed by God. The giving of assent implies that, when we believe, we freely accept the whole mystery of faith, because the guarantor of its truth is God who reveals himself and allows us to know his mystery of love.
3. From Paragraph 11a:
In order to arrive at a systematic knowledge of the content of the faith, all can find in the Catechism of the Catholic Church a precious and indispensable tool. It is one of the most important fruits of the Second Vatican Council. In the Apostolic Constitution Fidei Depositum, signed, not by accident, on the thirtieth anniversary of the opening of the Second Vatican Council, Blessed John Paul II wrote: “this catechism will make a very important contribution to that work of renewing the whole life of the Church … I declare it to be a valid and legitimate instrument for ecclesial communion and a sure norm for teaching the faith.”