WHAT IS TRUE LOVE AND WHAT IS FALSE LOVE?
All the virtues must be governed by the virtue of prudence, otherwise all the other virtues are no longer virtues. St. Thomas Aquinas ranked prudence as the first cardinal virtue, because it is concerned with the intellect. Aristotle defined prudence as "right reason applied to practice." It is the virtue that allows us to judge correctly what is right and what is wrong in any given situation. When we mistake the evil for the good, we are not exercising prudence - in fact, we are showing our lack of it. Because it is so easy to fall into error, prudence requires us to seek the counsel of others, particularly those we know to be sound judges of morality. Disregarding the advice or warnings of others whose judgment does not coincide with ours is a sign of imprudence. Prudence “guides the other virtues by setting rule and measure” (CCC 1806, 1788; see also: Summa Theologica II-II Q47-51).
IF ONE HABITUALLY TALKS ONLY ABOUT GOD IS ALL MERCIFUL but without talking about, in the same talk and in the same context, “go and sin no more”, as Jesus did in the Gospels (Jn 5:14; 8:11), there is a great tendency to take the easy way of not seeking to amend ones life with the help of God. If one only talks about “go and sin no more”, without talking about, in the same talk and in the same context, the infinite mercy of God, one can easily fall into despondency or desperation. Here is where the hidden deception lies which causes great damage, of not presenting the essential elements of God revelation, for a particular situation or topic, together in the same talk and in the same context!
SATAN CONTINUALLY SEEKS TO UPSET THIS BALANCE; if we do not heed the teachings of the Church regarding the maintenance of the proper balance in these important areas, great harm is done to individual souls, communities and to the whole Church, and thus to the whole world.
AGAIN IT IS NECESSARY TO REFER TO THE TEACHINGS OF THE MAGISTERIUM OF THE CHURCH FOR PROPER BALANCE AND INTERPRETATION, otherwise we can so easily go with the group mentality that has slowly neglected this divine guidance, and slid into a type of false ecumenism or a false mercy of misguided compassion, while forgetting that each one of us must also be “wise as serpents” (Mt 10,16), and study the documents of the Church regularly and often. The Catechism of the Catholic Church (published 1992) was a great gift to the faithful of the Church, but very few Catholics have a copy of this precious guide in their own homes. How many pastors neglect to talk about mortal sin and its earthly and eternal consequences, especially about those mortal sins most common today? Is this true love, or is this love only for this very short life while putting aside the criteria of eternal salvation according to divine revelation?
IF PARENTS TELL THEIR CHILDREN ONLY WHAT THE CHILDREN WANT TO HEAR, will the children be ready to confront a very difficult world full of temptations and pitfalls? Such children, with gravely imprudent and negligent parents, are not trained as good soldiers or good athletes to be able to win, to win eternal salvation in the “dour combat” of life (CCC 409). Such parents, and such priests and bishops, have not prepared us for this “dour combat” and thus we were not trained to strengthen our spiritual muscles of defence against the subtle and clever onslaughts of Satan. Our Lady has very often urged the faithful to pray for the priests and bishops.
“Negligent religious leaders are often afraid to speak freely and say what needs to be said – for fear of losing favor with people. As Truth himself says, they are certainly not guarding their flock with the care expected of a shepherd but are acting like hirelings, because hiding behind a wall of silence is like taking flight at the approach of the wolf. These are the people whom the Lord is reproaching through the prophet, when he says: ‘THEY ARE ALL DUMB DOGS, THEY CANNOT BARK’ (Is 56:10) … If a religious leader is afraid to say what is right, what else can his silence mean but that he has taken flight? Whereas, if he stands firm in defense of his flock, he is building up a wall for the house of Israel against its enemies. And so again the sinful people are told: ‘Your prophets have seen false and foolish visions for you; they have not exposed your iniquity in order to provoke you to repentance.’ (Lam 2:14) …” (Pope St. Gregory the Great; Office of Readings; Sunday, Week 27 of OT).
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An Experience of Life:
The other day we had returned home so tired and strained that I almost lost control and we talked in such a strong way that I was even afraid of the reaction of my husband; I really thought that our marriage might have reached an end.
I then tried, as much as I could to “repair” that situation, but he was very angered by my way of doing things which had been stronger than my own words.
The next day I had some errands to do: I would have had to go to help a very poor family. But I immediately thought that it was becoming an escape if I did not go first to ask pardon from the one who felt offended due to my behavior.
I threw out that self-defence which I had at the bottom of my heart, those useless thoughts that were suggesting to me: “Basically he too was wrong; it seemed to me that he was the one to start it all, I was so tired…”.
I knew that precisely that day my husband had a very important meeting and I had a certain fear of his reaction given the fact that the other evening he did not give in… but… I telephoned him and I ask his forgiveness. He forgave me and with that freedom that is given by way of feeling forgiven and loved, to go and try “to do something good” now had sense!