Love “rejoices in the truth,” writes St. Paul in 1 Corinthians 13:6. Though Paul is writing about all kinds of love, there’s a reason this passage is an overwhelming favorite at weddings. A wedding is a moment of truth like no other, calling for a trust like no other. The Bride and Groom are betting their lives on the truth of the words that are spoken at that altar.
Pope Benedict XVI wrote about this love-truth connection in the encyclical bearing its name, Caritas in Veritate: “Without truth, charity degenerates into sentimentality. Love becomes an empty shell, to be filled in an arbitrary way. In a culture without truth, this is the fatal risk facing love.” Devotion to truth is what keeps our God-ordered attraction to goodness and beauty from leading us into counterfeits. What is truly good isn’t always what comes most naturally. What is truly beautiful isn’t always what looks shiniest. We were made for the real thing, and if the world fools us into chasing one of its many fakes, something inside us rebels and wants more.
Our embodied creation opens us to the physical experience and expression of truth, just as our physicality involves beauty and goodness. There are physical actions that carry significance – they mean something – and these meanings can be true or false. The kiss of Judas is a physical lie, a profound incongruity between body and mind. Chastity as a virtue can even be defined from this angle; the chaste act is one in which the physical act is telling the truth. It isn’t in our power to redefine the meaning of sex, any more than Judas had the power to redefine the meaning of a kiss. It means what it means, and it’s either telling the truth or it’s lying.
Love rejoices in the truth! We feel and express this joy with our bodies, in different ways suited to different kinds of relationships. Because, well, of course we do… isn’t it amazing to be human?
I’m looking forward to rejoicing in what’s true (and good, and beautiful) as explored in Embodied Magazine, kicking off in January 2022!
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