COR THOUGHTS 238: Directing Eros toward True Fulfillment

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This Sunday’s Gospel reveals the first words that John the Evangelist puts in the mouth of Christ. Jesus probes our hearts with a critically important question: “What are you looking for?” (Jn 1:38). It’s a question about that “ache” we all feel inside for something and where we’re taking that ache. The Greeks called that deep longing eros. It’s a desire for infinite love, infinite union, infinite bliss. Sadly, we often take that yearning to “false infinities.” When we do, we “miss the mark” (that’s what “sin” means). In this week’s second reading, Paul is trying to help us redirect eros so that we hit the mark: “The body is not meant for immorality, but for the Lord” (1 Cor 6:13). Our bodies and our erotic desires are meant to lead us to the eternal marriage of Christ and the Church. Both the sacrament of marriage and Christian celibacy – each in its own way – witness to this ultimate union with God. As Papal Preacher Father Cantalamessa put it, “the primary object of our eros, of our search, desire, attraction, passion must be Christ.” Only as we learn how to direct eros toward Infinite Love do we find “what we’re looking for.” This, also, is how we “glorify God in our bodies” (second reading).