In Pope Francis’ recent Post Synodal Apostolic Exhortation ‘Amoris Laetitia,’ in a less controversial section, he revealed, through the teaching of St. Paul (1 Corinthians 13: 4-7), the power of perseverance expressed in Greek as ‘panta hypomenei.’
In other words, ‘enduring all things.’
Or, in even more words, a powerful description of an extremely toughened love.
No doubt to be a faithful Catholic today, especially in the Western world, we must have a toughened love of God to survive, and thrive in holiness, in a secularized, rudely popularized, and largely anti-Christian milieu. Then again, in the East, and especially in the Middle East, not to forget North Africa, toughened love of God is a necessity in the face of violent persecution against Christians.
Pope Francis beautifully stresses the need for family members to ‘endure all things’ for the sake of family unity in love. St. Paul was addressing this to a Catholic community in Corinth; yes, Catholic! even though the word had yet to be coined. (Remember, ‘Christian’ is a nickname given to disciples of Jesus by pagans.) And Jesus addressed this endurance, this toughened love, exemplified on the Cross, for all situations.
When religious freedom is threatened, unborn babies are destroyed daily, grannies and those with developmental disabilities are ‘mercy’ killed, when marriage is Judicially hijacked, when contraception is accepted as healthy, when the Eucharist is cheapened by renegade apostles, when terrorism is rampant, when transgender is rationalized through relativism and political correctness, when socialism is romanticized as a savior like economic system, when the economy is stuck in deep, deep mud, when our political leaders are either crooked or inept, or both, when our society has lost its moral and ethical grounding in the truth of natural law, we must pray for the countercultural toughened love of the Crucified and Risen Jesus Christ.
Toughened doesn’t mean violent. But, then again, non-violent doesn’t mean wimpy. Toughened doesn’t mean nasty and loud and arrogant and judgmental. But, then again, it doesn’t remain silent, doesn’t acquiesce to every word and act of the devil. Toughened love isn’t anti-social; rather, it is countercultural, for the love of the culture, in the fullness of the Truth of Jesus Christ found in the Catholic faith. It isn’t proselytism. It is evangelization. It isn’t war, it is love.
Bearing the spit and the insult and the whipping and the punches and the nails and the spear…spiritually and, in the case of our Middle Eastern brothers and sisters, literally. Participating in the supremely toughened Love of Jesus, within the Passion that won us our salvation.
Panta hypomenei by any other word is our calling, our vocation, and the greatest need in a fallen (Western) world.