Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Selflessness Makes No Sense to Selfish People

I’ve been contemplating the weaknesses of Satan lately. (See one of the last posts.) How is it that the Accuser did not see that the Crucifixion was to be his greatest downfall? Why is it that he played right into the plan of salvation by tempting Judas, by filling the hearts of certain of the Jewish elders with malice and spite, by filling the mind of Pilate with doubt and apathy? One answer I’ve been mulling over lately has been Satan’s inability to understand selflessness.

God’s eternal plan for our creation and salvation is based upon his nature of love, which is the epitome of selflessness. But real, true selflessness does not make sense, it does not compute, to selfish people. That Christ was willing to suffer and die for us – that this was in fact his purpose in coming to this earth – would not make sense to one blinded by the solipsistic nature of pure selfishness.

There are plenty of people who believe in selflessness, in a sort of altruism. I bet most if not all of these people believe in it because they have experienced loving someone selflessly or because they have been the objects of selfless love. But there is an abundance of people, mainly angry intellectuals, who claim that selfless love is impossible or purposeless. In an empirical, materialist world of “real” causes and “real” effects, true love falls outside of the realm of the real, and into the realm of myth and old wives’ tales.

And so Satan, unwittingly, played a large part in the salvation of each and every one of us. That must still really burn him up inside.

1 comment:

  1. Well said, old bean! And it's hard to "prove" selfless love - one has to accept that one receives benefits w/o those being the motivation. Materialists seem to always see such benefits (the feeling one is "doing the right thing") as proof that the do-gooders are really selfish chimps after all. But Love is best revealed in the garden and on Calvary, when Christ, the Word of God, was cut off from God in some unimaginable way. The temptation, "if you are God's son," came to bear with terrible weight. And it's interesting that Jesus does not experience the comfort of the angel until after he makes that paradigm-shattering act of conformity to the will of the Father he could not feel. And then on the cross, though he asked "Why have you abandoned me?" he "loved his own, and he loved them to the end." He made the supreme selfless act of love, entering into the darkness of sin, doubt, solitude wrought by the terribly finality of Death. But then Love broke through all that, and revealed with finality the hollowness of all the Lies. Benedict XVI says it so well: "Christ strode through the gate of our final loneliness; in his Passion he went down into the abyss of our abandonment. Where no voice can reach us any longer, there is He. Hell is thereby overcome, or, to be more accurate, death, which was previously hell, is hell no longer. Neither is the same any longer because there is life in the midst of death, because Love dwells in it."