The Opposite of LoveJuly 1, 2012 No Comments
July 1, 2012 / MariaNews.com
The Opposite of Love
By Deacon Antonio Sandoval
My concept of “the opposite of love” has evolved over the years. My first understanding was that the opposite of love was hate. This made sense, because I understood love of neighbor to be desiring the good for one’s neighbor and to fulfill this desire one would provide goods and services to anyone in need. But one could also say that love of neighbor is, being the instruments, through which our neighbor receive the love of God. This is better understood when we consider, that to the hungry, God dare not appear except in the form of bread, to the thirsty God dare not appear except in the form of drink, to the homeless God dare not appear except in the form of shelter, to the sick God dare not appear except in the form of care, etc. for all the other Corporal Works of Mercy. To the ignorant God dare not appear except in the form of truth; to the doubtful God dare not appear except in the form of the counsel of reassurance, etc. for all the other Spiritual Works of Mercy. The person who hates has no desire to be an instrument of God to provide the blessings of the Way, the Truth, and the Life to those he hates. In fact he may desire that those he hates remain in the darkness of unmet needs and ignorance, and disappear from the scope of his horizons. He may even be willing to make this happen.
My second understanding of “the opposite of love” came during the Civil Rights Movement. I heard a victim of prejudice and discrimination say, “The opposite of love is not hate, it is indifference. The person who is indifferent toward me could care less if I exist. I am not present in his consciousness. I remain totally ignored. At least the person who hates me can’t get me out of his mind”.
More recently, I heard someone say that the opposite of love is fear. But in reality, hate, indifference and fear are all the opposite of love because they have one thing in common; the persons with these attitudes abhor unity with those toward whom their attitudes are directed. The people who hate would rather destroy their antagonists, the persons who are indifferent ignore their antagonists as if they didn’t exist, and those who fear their antagonists flee any interaction with them. In all these cases fraternal unity is rejected.
The will of God is that we be united with one another in the common brotherhood that makes us members of Christ. On the night before he died, Jesus offered this prayer to the Father: “I pray not only for them, (his apostles), but also for those who will believe in me through their word, so that they may all be one, as you Father, are in me and I in you, that they also may be one in us…” (John 17:20).
One of my favorite passages from Scripture is 1 John 4:18, “Perfect love casts out all fear.” Perfect love also quenches the flames of hatred and dispels the darkness of indifference. Let us pray for the gift of Perfect Love, the Holy Spirit, that we may live fearless lives with authentic love for both friend and foe.
Read more by Deacon Antonio here
Antonio is a retired deacon in the Archdiocese of Denver. Last September his wife, Maud, was diagnosed with multiple myeloma, a form of cancer. They were told that she didn’t have long to live. Since she is 83 years old, they decided to refuse the chemotherapy and radiation treatments. Last October they were sent to Hospice. They have now been there for 8 months. Antonio’s wife is not experiencing the symptoms of multiple myeloma other than the fact that she cannot move and has to stay in bed all the time. She is also in the last stages of Alzheimer’s disease. You prayers will be appreciated. Antonio spends the entire day with his wife.
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