04 July 2011

FORTY-FIRST

A.  Again, for true love it is required that we will someone’s good as his good. For if we will someone’s good only in so far as it leads to the good of another, we love this someone by accident, just as he who wishes to store wine in order to drink it or loves a man so that this man may be useful or enjoyable to him, loves the wine or the man by accident, but essentially he loves himself. But God wills the good of each thing according as it is the good of each thing; for He wills each thing to be according as it is in itself good (although He likewise orders one thing to another’s use). God, then, truly loves Himself and other things.  —  SCG I.91.3

B.  The cynic finds a selfish motive in every action:  
—He helped her when she was struggling.
"He just wanted her to like him."
—She gave all her money to the poor.
"She just wanted to be praised for her generosity."
—He sacrificed his life for his company.
"What is self-sacrifice but a fruit of romantic self-aggrandizement?"
C.  In God, however, the cynic can find no ulterior motive.  Why?  Because, since God is infinitely good and lacks no perfection, nothing outside of his own being can benefit God.  A fairly common misunderstanding of creation claims that God made us so we would praise him, as if to say that God somehow profits from our existence by means of the praise we render him.  This is false, though.  If the end of human life is to know, love and serve God, and God wills this for us, then he wills it for our benefit and not for his.  If God, in Christ, purchased us from Satan on the cross, he did so not in order to profit from the exchange, but as a free gift to us.  Creation is for the benefit of the created, because the goodness of the creator is so great that he delights in sharing himself.