The difference love makes
“He who did not spare his own Son but handed him over [tradidit] for our sake, how has he not with him also freely given us all things?” (Rom 8:32). So: the Father handed him over; Judas handed him over. Doesn’t it seem almost the same thing? Judas is a traditor; God the Father, then, is a traditor. “God forbid!” you say. I’m not the one who says it; the Apostle says it: “He did not spare his own Son but handed him over [tradidit] for us all.” The Father handed him over, and he handed himself over–the same Apostle says, “He loved me and handed himself over [tradidit] for me” (Gal 2:20). If the Father handed the Son over, and the Son handed himself over, what did Judas do? There was the Father’s handing-over; there was the Son’s handing-over; there was Judas’s handing-over. A single thing was done, but what is it that distinguishes the Father’s handing over of his Son, the Son’s handing over of himself, and the disciple Judas’s handing over of his master? That the Father and the Son did it out of love, while Judas did it out of betrayal. You see that it’s not what someone does that is to be considered, but with what mind and will he does it. We find God the Father in the same deed in which we find Judas; we bless the Father and we detest Judas. Why do we bless the Father and detest Judas? We bless the love; we detest the wickedness. How great a good was bestowed on the human race by the handing-over of Christ! Was this what Judas was thinking when he handed him over? God was thinking of the salvation by which we were redeemed; Judas was thinking about the price for which he sold the Lord. The Son himself was thinking of the price he gave for us; Judas was thinking of the price he received to sell him. The differing intention made the deeds different. Although the thing is one, if we measure things by the differing intentions, we find that one is to be loved, the other to be condemned, one to be glorified, the other detested. So great is the force of love….
See what we’re trying to say: the deeds of men are not distinguished except by the root of charity…. Once and for all then, here is a brief precept: Love, and do what you wish. [Dilige, et quod vis fac.] If you keep quiet, keep quiet out of love. If you cry out, cry out out of love. If you correct, correct out of love. If you spare, spare out of love. Let the root of love be within you; from that root only good can spring. (Augustine on I John, Hom. 7, 10; PL 35, 2034)