Strong as death

May peace be in your strength (Ps 121[122]:7). O Jerusalem! O city who are being built as a city, ... may peace be in your strength! May peace be in your love, because your strength is your love. Listen to the Song of Songs: Love is strong as death (Song 8:6). A great saying, brothers and sisters: Love is strong as death! The strength of love could not be expressed more magnificently than this: Love is strong as death! For who can resist death, sisters and brothers? Think about it. You may resist fire, waves, the sword; you may resist powers; you may resist kings; but death alone comes, and who resists it? Nothing is stronger than it. That is why charity is compared to the strength of death: Love is strong as death. And because death kills what we were so that we can be what we were not, love creates a sort of death in us. This death Paul had died when he said, The world has been crucified to me, and I to the world (Gal 6:14); that death they had died to whom he said: You have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God (Col 3:3). Love is strong as death! (Augustine, EnPs 121[122], 12; PL 37, 1628)

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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