Thursday, 10 September 2020

Week 23 Thursday (Year 2)

Readings: 1 Corinthians 8:1-7, 11-13; Psalm 139; Luke 6:27-38

According to Saint Paul,  knowledge 'expands' and carries the danger with it of becoming egoistic and excluding. Knowledge swells our heads. It is confident, assertive and domineering. Love on the other hand 'builds up', not just expanding but including, not forgetting the other and his needs. Love opens our hearts and makes us sensitive to the impact of our knowledge on others.

The measure of these expansions and upbuildings, today's gospel reading tells us, is to be a measure we learn from God. We are to be compassionate as God is compassionate, merciful as God is merciful. We are called, therefore, to live in a very spacious place, to live within the (infinite) dimensions of the divine compassion.

Knowledge is knowledgeable and might well remain simply knowledgeable: expert, skilled, confident. Love however includes knowledge, embraces and transforms it. For love also knows, and understands, and is wise. Love's knowledge will feel more risky than mere knowedge does (skill, expertise, competence) because love's knowledge is more a matter of being known than of knowing. Love is in the first place, and fundamentally, about being known rather than knowing: 'if anyone loves God he is known by God'.

By knowledge we take the world inside ourselves and learn how to master and control it. By love we venture out into the world to taste it, to learn not so much how we might master it as how we might joyfully live in it. The pursuit of knowledge is one kind of adventure: we become masters of our universe. The pursuit of love is a very different kind of adventure: we step into God's universe and seek to live there by God's standards. Knowledge might well make progress without love but love cannot but include knowledge also.

Julian of Norwich says that 'by love may he be gotten and holden, but by thought never'. By love we come to know not only God and ourselves but also God's world, and the principles that rule it, and the others whom God loves.

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