Archives For Love

“Clouds could hide the sun eternally;

The sea could dry in an instant…”

–Gustavo Adolfo Bécquer

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Beneath rose-covered archways,

I passed in carriage swift.

It led me to your home place,

To which my eyes did shift.

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A mansion decked with casements,

One hundred I did see,

Until I found your placement,

And you looked back at me.

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At table with your brother,

On you my thoughts were set,

At high tea with your mother,

Our gazes once more met.

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As horses trod at nightfall,

My eyelids, too, did seal.

Though my name I heard you call,

To me it seemed unreal.

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But now I’ve gone and married.

How far we are from then!

With me your voice I’ve carried,

And will I ‘til the end.

***

David J.W. Inczauskis, S.J.

July 19, 2018

My Tears

February 19, 2018 — Leave a comment

“If today’s church does not recapture the sacrificial spirit of the early church, it will lose its authenticity, forfeit the loyalty of millions, and be dismissed as an irrelevant social club with no meaning for the twentieth century.”

–Martin Luther King, Jr, letter from Birmingham jail

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A few months ago, I cried for the second time in my adult life. They were tears of compassion for the poor. They were tears of zeal for justice.

I was visiting some friends in Honduras. They were speaking to me in great detail about the horrible gang violence that plagues their neighborhood. Shootings are constant. Neighbors pay “dues” to gang members regularly so that they won’t be the next victims. The struggle seems endless. Everyone knows a victim.

After this sobering and painful description, a child turned to me and asked with twinkling black eyes, “And what is it like in Chicago?”

It was then that I began to cry.

I cried because of the innocence of the question. I cried because murderers kill people every day in Chicago.

The child’s tone suggested that, compared to Honduras, the United States is paradise. However, I know that the moral purity of the United States is largely a myth.

Yes, the murder rate in Chicago is not as high as the murder rate in San Pedro Sula, Honduras; yet, for many Chicagoans, the reality is the same.

As the child asked the question, my mind’s eye turned to this image:

GOOD FRIDAY MARCH

I was there, and I thought of the hundreds of people, black and white, with whom I marched through East Garfield Park in Chicago on Good Friday, led by Cardinal Cupich and other religious leaders. We marched to honor the victims of gun violence. We marched in hope that a day will come when people put down their arms and begin to love each other again. We marched because Christ, too, suffered from hatred and violence at the hands of his oppressors.

When I was tearing up and my voice was trembling, I pulled out my phone and flipped to that image of the cross with hundreds of people marching and praying behind it. That image from the front page of the Chicago Tribune spoke more powerfully than I ever could. That image, for me, is Chicago–mourning and hopeful.

I don’t know what it is like to be black in Chicago. I don’t know what it is to suffer systematically from racism. And from the confines of my situation in Edgewater on the Northside, I don’t feel that my life is on the line daily.

I do know, nonetheless, that I shed tears of compassion for those slain in this city. I do know that I am disappointed in this city. I do know that I love this city.

I do know that I want violence and racism to come to an end.

May God raise up for Chicago a new generation of prophets, who will call Chicago to repentance. May God give Chicago political leaders with the wisdom of Solomon and the tender heart of David, who will enact real changes. May God bring Chicago together, strengthening the bonds of his Body, the Church.

May God give us hearts restless for justice. May we act personally and politically. May we have a sacrificial spirit and an authentic thirst for peace.

May Black History Month inspire us with the beautiful vision of the Promised Land witnessed by Moses, Jesus, and Martin Luther King, Jr.

–David Inczauskis, S.J.

“On the Definition of Love: A St. Valentine’s Day Reflection”

Love is the most confusing word that exists in the English language. Its definition is so muddled because we tend to use it in so many different ways. However, in this post I will venture to arrive at a singular, core meaning of the word.

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In many English translations of the Bible, the word love first appears in the twenty-second chapter of the “Book of Genesis.” God says to Abraham, “Take your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering upon one of the mountains of which I shall tell you,” (Genesis 22:2). Interestingly, the context of this opening appearance of the word love in this narrative is a filial relationship between a father and his son. To the Christian this context is familiar: Abraham loved his son, and God loves us as sons and as daughters. This love is so profound that it entails a sacrifice for a greater good. Thus, Abraham did not proceed to sacrifice Isaac solely for the sake of sacrificing him; rather, Abraham did so to accomplish the greater good of obedience to God, in whom we find our fulfillment as human beings. Likewise, God the Father did not allow the sacrifice of His Son on the cross merely for the sake of sacrifice. Actually, the Father permitted that sacrifice to accomplish the greater good of reconciling the world to Himself in accordance with His respect for the free will of the human race. As a result of this initial reflection, we come to see that love is a free choice that entails three parties.

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What are these three parties?

1) The lover: In the first case from “Genesis,” Abraham is the lover. In the second case from the gospels, God Himself is the lover.

2) The beloved: In the former scene God is the beloved. In the latter humanity is the beloved.

3) An innocent yet cherished “victim”: Isaac in the former; Jesus in the latter. 

Now, it seems common to wonder, “Why must there be a third party?” Well, there must be a third party because real love is absolute love. Our postmodern world, of course, claims that nothing is absolute, but the Christian responds that love is absolute by its very nature. Considering that God gives what is absolute its absolute-ness because He is (by definition) absolute, it makes sense that God is present in both of these instances of love. God gives love its character, and only an eternal, absolute God can give love this particular character. 

So, you might ask, “Why must love be absolute as opposed to relative?” This question gets to the core of the issue, but I think there is an acceptable answer: Love is absolute because we can conceive of love as absolute. After all, nothing in this world seems to be absolute. Even we humans die, so not even our very selves appear absolute. BUT! We somehow intuit that love is best when it is absolute. Most people would not say to their lovers, “My love for you is conditional.” Now, from where does this sort of unconditional love come? It can’t come from us, as we are conditional. Therefore, it must come from a Being that isn’t conditional. It must come from an absolute Being. It must come from God.

God gives us the ability to love, so it makes sense that we would use that ability according to His purposes. After all, if God is perfectly all-knowing, then He knows how to love perfectly. Likewise, He knows how we can best love others. 

That said, Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice Isaac is not irrational because Abraham trusted that God’s reasoning was better than his reasoning. The end of the story confirms this truth.

What, then, is love? Love is a free act ordered to the benefit of another person according to the reasoning of God (theo-logy). Love necessitates a self, an other, and God. The harmony of these three persons is essential to any loving act. 

With love,

David J.W. Inczauskis

Caritas: On Love

July 16, 2013 — 3 Comments

“Now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; and the greatest of these is love,” (1 Corinthians 13:13).

1 Cor. 13:13 is by far my favorite verse from the Bible. It shows that love is the greatest of all the virtues–greater than faith and greater than hope. It is my opinion that many Christians live with a faith-centered mindset. Don’t get me wrong; faith is important. However, love is greater!

Yet how often do we reflect on the meaning of the word love? What is love? The following biblical verse comes to mind immediately: “No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends,” (John 15:13). This quote from Jesus nearly moves me to tears every time that I read it. Our Lord clearly teaches that love requires an ultimate self-gift, a fatal sacrifice. Though it may seem that we are incapable of such an act, I believe wholeheartedly that we can and must spiritually and literally “die” for our friends as Jesus died for us. We–the baptized–have the power of the Holy Spirit within us so that we may live as Christ lived. Equally, the Spirit gives us the fortitude to die as Christ died. We cannot take away the sin of the world in the same way that Christ did thorough his death and resurrection, but we can benefit from the fruits of the Holy Spirit in order to do our part in reducing sin and spreading love.

If you have a free moment, I ask you to reflect on the following questions:

1) Are you ready to give your life for your friends?

2) In the coming week what actions can you take to initiate or continue the process of sanctification through self-gift?

3) What might giving your life for your friends look like in this day and age?

May the Holy Spirit fill you with the strength of God. May He bless you with many opportunities to give to others by sacrificing yourself.

With love,

David Inczauskis