How Strong Is Love?

Lenten Reflections 2015: Readings from Augustine

“May peace be in your strength” (Ps 121[122]: 7). O Jerusalem! O city that is being built as a city, whose share is in God himself, “may peace be in your strength,” may peace be in your love, because your love is your strength. Hear the Song of Songs: “Strong as death is love” (Song 8:6). What a great statement, brothers and sisters: Love is strong as death! Who can resist death? Pay attention, beloved. You can resist fire, waves, the sword; you can resist the powers-that-be; you can resist kings. But when death comes, who can resist it? There’s nothing stronger than death. That’s why love is compared to its strength: “Strong as death is love.” And because love kills what we were so that we may be what we were not, love causes a certain death in us. This is the death that St. Paul died: “The world is crucified to me, and I to the world” (Gal 6:14); this is the death that they died to whom he said, “You have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God (Col 3:3). “Strong as death is love.” (EnPs 121[122], 12; PL 37. 1628-1629)

Rev. Joseph A. Komonchak, professor emeritus of the School of Theology and Religious Studies at the Catholic University of America, is a retired priest of the Archdiocese of New York.

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