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The More You Know, the More You Love

First Reading: Ephesians 3:14-21

Brothers and sisters:
I kneel before the Father,
from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named,
that he may grant you in accord with the riches of his glory
to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in the inner self,
and that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith;
that you, rooted and grounded in love,
may have strength to comprehend with all the holy ones
what is the breadth and length and height and depth,
and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge,
so that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.

Now to him who is able to accomplish far more than all we ask or imagine,
by the power at work within us,
to him be glory in the Church and in Christ Jesus
to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.

Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 33:1-2, 4-5, 11-12, 18-19

R. (5b) The earth is full of the goodness of the Lord.
Exult, you just, in the LORD;
praise from the upright is fitting.
Give thanks to the LORD on the harp;
with the ten stringed lyre chant his praises.
R. The earth is full of the goodness of the Lord.
For upright is the word of the LORD,
and all his works are trustworthy.
He loves justice and right;
of the kindness of the LORD the earth is full.
R. The earth is full of the goodness of the Lord.
But the plan of the LORD stands forever;
the design of his heart, through all generations.
Blessed the nation whose God is the LORD,
the people he has chosen for his own inheritance.
R. The earth is full of the goodness of the Lord.
But see, the eyes of the LORD are upon those who fear him,
upon those who hope for his kindness,
To deliver them from death
and preserve them in spite of famine.
R. The earth is full of the goodness of the Lord.

Gospel: Luke 12:49-53

Jesus said to his disciples:
“I have come to set the earth on fire,
and how I wish it were already blazing!
There is a baptism with which I must be baptized,
and how great is my anguish until it is accomplished!
Do you think that I have come to establish peace on the earth?
No, I tell you, but rather division.
From now on a household of five will be divided,
three against two and two against three;
a father will be divided against his son
and a son against his father,
a mother against her daughter
and a daughter against her mother,
a mother-in-law against her daughter-in-law
and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law.”

NAB

oct-20

There is a lot going on in Saint Paul’s Letter to the Ephesians today, and it is easy to just let the eyes gloss over and move onto the Psalm, and then dwell on the Gospel where Jesus wants to set the earth a blazing. But we are going to go back and examine Ephesians, because Saint Paul is talking about growing in knowledge of God. So, go back, read it again.

I want to focus here:

. . . that you, rooted and grounded in love,
may have strength to comprehend with all the holy ones
what is the breadth and length and height and depth,
and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge.

Part of really loving someone is knowing someone. When people become friends it often starts with a lot of discussion about each other: where they grew up, what they do everyday, their hopes, their dreams, their favorite things. It is the same with God. To really love Him, we have to know Him.

Saint Paul wants us to comprehend what is “breadth and length and height and depth.” I turned to the Angelic Doctor, Saint Thomas Aquinas, to explain this for me. He explains that what we are to comprehend in the “breath and length and height and depth” are not dimensions physically applicable to God, but they are metaphors.

Saint Thomas Aquinas says that breadth refers to God’s “extension of his power and divine wisdom over all being.” Or to put it Baltimore Catechism terms, God is all-powerful. We should run to Him for help whenever we need it, and ask for Him to help us accomplish what we cannot do on our own and give us wisdom to know His truths.

Length refers to God being eternal: He always was and always will be. He is outside of time and we are in it. Knowing this helps us trust in Him that He always has had us and our needs in mind from all eternity.

The word height “denotes the perfection and nobility of his nature which infinitely exceeds all creation.” He is the source of all of creation, and anything that is good in creation comes from Him. We can praise Him for the goodness in creation, and seek to be more like Him as we were made in His image.

Depth refers to the “incomprehensibility of his wisdom.” We can only comprehend God’s wisdom according to each of our own abilities, but His grace helps us know Him deeper and better than we ever could on our own.

Take some time to dwell on these perfections of God today, for when we seek to know Him more, we will love Him more. And when we comprehend these things we are aiming to ultimately enjoy God’s presence and know Him intimately. Contemplating these things on earth prepares us for an eternity of happiness.

photo credit

Susanna Spencer once studied theology and philosophy, but now happily cares for her three adorable little girls, new baby boy, and her dear husband in Saint Paul. She loves beautiful liturgies, cooking delicious meals, baking amazing sweets, reading good books, raising her children, casually following baseball, and talking to her philosopher husband. You can find out more about her here.

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