instruere...inlustrare...delectare Disputations

Tuesday, September 07, 2004

What is this thing called hate?

So if I want to insist that, when Jesus said, "If anyone comes to Me without hating ... his own self, he cannot be My disciple," He really did mean "hating," what does "hating" really mean?

In a comment below, Jamie brought up St. Augustine's
distinction between 'use' (uti) and 'enjoyment' (frui).... We 'use' that which we love only as a means of attaining something else; we 'enjoy' that which we love for its own sake.
With this distinction in mind, I'll suggest that the "holy hatred" we are to have toward ourselves, each other, and all that is not God, is a refusal to love something for its own sake without respect to God.

This sort of hate is not quite the opposite of the sort of love that is the desire for the good of another. It's more of a repudiation of the desire for the apparent good of another.

What makes this repudiation good is that the apparent good of another cannot be their true good if it is not consistent with God's will for that person. We can only truly love someone else if we love them through God.

As an example, a mother can be said to hate her children in this sense if she refuses to seek her children's material prosperity for their own sake. Material prosperity, regardless of God's will, is an apparent good, and desiring it for another, or for yourself, is so to speak an "apparent love."

We must repudiate this "apparent love" if we are to truly love anyone. To truly love God, as I suggested below, we must repudiate all apparent loves for everyone.

By the way, when I heard the Gospel proclaimed this weekend, I caught a note of hope I'd missed before. Jesus says:
Which of you wishing to construct a tower does not first sit down and calculate the cost to see if there is enough for its completion? Otherwise, after laying the foundation and finding himself unable to finish the work the onlookers should laugh at him and say, 'This one began to build but did not have the resources to finish.' ...
In the same way, everyone of you who does not renounce all his possessions cannot be My disciple.
It's expressed in negative terms, possibly because Jesus was speaking to people who wrongly believed they were His disciples, but if we put it in positive terms, we have, "Everyone of you who renounces all his possessions can be My disciple."

Parabolically, if we sit down and calculate the cost to construct a tower, we will each find there is enough for its completion, if we sell the rest of our possessions. Sure, selling the rest of our possessions is difficult, but it can be done if we choose.

Even as Jesus tells us what prevents us from being His disciples, He tells us what enables us to be His disciples. It's a free choice. If we want to complete the tower, if we want to repel the enemy, we can. If we want to be Christ's disciples, we can.

The question, "Do I want to be Christ's disciple?" can't be answered with words. It can only be answered with deeds, and one way or another, everyone who lives answers it.