The Real Epistemology: the Sighting of Love as Fidelity and Perseverance
How is Christ present now -- yet invisible -- and, therefore after the Incarnation, everything seems to continue just as it always has? The answer: Christ is the incarnation of Love. He is Love Incarnate. The Father and the Spirit are not Love Incarnate. They are one God with Christ. Secularism is the ideology that insists that God is not present, and, in fact, there is no God. Secularity is the Christian truth that Christ lives and is present in the world but as us. We are “other Christs.”
The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Christ. He is not the Spirit of the “age.” He engenders Christ in us if we will lower ourselves and create space within ourselves for the incarnation of Christ in us. Christ is present in the world and is visible only as Love Incarnate.
How does one “see” Love? Benedict XVI says: “The essential and central concept summing up what the Holy Spirit is and what he effects is, in the end, not ‘knowledge’ but love… The basic criterion of love, its “proper work,” so to speak – and thereby, the ‘proper work’ of the Holy Spirit – is this, that it achieves abiding. Love shows itself by being enduring. It can by no means be recognized at a given moment and in the moment alone; but in abiding, it does away with uncertainty and carries eternity within it. And thus in my view the relationship between love and truth is also thereby given: love, in the full sense, can be present only where something is enduring, where something abides. Because it has to do with abiding, it can occur, not just anywhere, but only there where eternity is.”
To be a bit clearer: God is Love, and Love is present in the world. As Christ answered the messengers of John the Baptist: “Go and tell John what it is that you have seen and heard: the blind receive their sight, the lame walk, lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, the poor have good new preached to them” (Lk. 7, 22-23). Notice that these are passive verbs. Love is being done to them. John Paul II commented: “Jesus revealed that love is present in the world in which we live.” “Making the Father present as love and mercy is, in Christ’s own consciousness, the fundamental touchstone of His mission as the Messiah.”
This is how God is present in the world now, and can be known by fidelity and perseverance in love. He cannot be seen as “thing.” But because He is not “thing,” it does not mean that He is not real, or not really here as the grounding of the ordinary, secular world that we live in and experience. For this reason, the vital importance of the “little things” done with love.