After watching the evening news, I wonder what the prophet Jeremiah would say about the world in which we live? In his own day, he summarized the condition of mankind by saying the heart of man was full of deceit and wickedness. I think the news confirms the prophet’s prognosis.
Like Jeremiah, Saint Augustine voiced his concerns regarding the plight of mankind. Even though he was a theologian, and not a heart doctor, he was concerned with healthy hearts. He thought a vibrant heart would manifest itself when a person showed love for:
- the right thing
- in the right degree
- in the right way
- with the right kind of love
Augustine’s focus on the importance of love may have come from his study of the Apostle Paul, who said: “If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing (1 Corinthians 13:2).”
If your life is void of any expression of love, you have a zilch to zero chance of doing “the right thing, in the right degree in the right way, with the right kind of love.”
The “right kind of love,” is a genuine love of obedience: “Everyone who really believes that Jesus is the Christ proves himself one of God’s family. The man who loves the Father cannot help loving the Father’s own Son. The test of the genuineness of our love for God’s family lies in this question—do we love God himself and do we obey his commands? For loving God means obeying his commands, and these commands of his are not burdensome, for God’s “heredity” within us will always conquer the world outside us. In fact, this faith of ours is the only way in which the world has been conquered. For who could ever be said to conquer the world, in the true sense, except the man who really believes that Jesus is God’s Son (I John 5:1-5)?”
Have you gone from zilch to zero, or are you a conquering hero? The difference is the capacity to love.