Love Episode 3

Perennial Doctors of the Church

Augustine 2 Quotes

“Love, and do what you like.”

“The deeds of men are only discerned by the root of charity. For many things may be done that have a good appearance, and yet proceed not from the root of charity. For thorns also have flowers: some actions truly seem rough, seem savage; howbeit they are done for discipline at the bidding of charity. Once for all, then, a short precept is given thee: Love, and do what thou wilt: whether thou hold thy peace, through love hold thy peace; whether thou cry out, through love cry out; whether thou correct, through love correct; whether thou spare, through love do thou spare: let the root of love be within, of this root can nothing spring but what is good.” (Homily VII, paragraph 8) Seventh Homily on the Letter of John , which contains the famous quotation

Augustine observes that if a person had to choose between being chastised and being treated affectionately, everyone would pick the latter. Nevertheless, suppose the punishment comes from a boy’s father and the caress comes from a kidnapper. “In that case,” he says, “it is love which disciplines and iniquity which caresses.”

Love does not necessarily mean that you make the other person feel good. First and foremost, it requires that your actions flow from a right relationship with that person and with God. If that is the case, says Augustine, “Love and do what you will.”

As Augustine’s example illustrates, much more than benevolence is required. A kidnapper may feel kindly toward his victim, but who would say that he truly loves the child? A distorted notion of love got us – and a lot of others – into trouble.

Real love involves a daily examination of conscience; not just warm feelings, but the avoidance of sinful tendencies and the cultivation of positive habits[virtue]. Thus we can begin to love and to experience the freedom of the Gospel, “Then do what you will.”

When a virtuous mother disciplines her child, it is with a view to avoiding a greater harm. So to, God disciplines us, so as to engender a greater good in our lives.

Scripture don’t discipline, don’t love

Modern world lack love, lack discipline

Love & discipline, love & obedience go hand in hand

Love currently means to do whatever one wants

True love giving of self and willing only true good of the other

Modern love: the other must love me as I want to be loved

Subjective parochial lens love becomes limited to own sphere

Children are love multipliers

Opens the soul to love

Wideness of God’s mercy

Terrible tragedies when loves sphere is reduced


Love, then do what you will

This quote open to distortion without nuanced term of love

Loving a cat is not the same thing as loving a child

Augustine’s reflection of disordered love of friend that should be reserved for God

Confusion of love, paucity of words, to will the good not fuzzy feeling

Love as relational action, not subjective feeling towards another

Animals cannot reciprocate love back to owner, unlike a person who can return love

e.g. Michelangelo love towards his sculpture which could not speak back to artist