• Thomas M. Ward

Love for God, Hope for Me

Duns Scotus tells us that the three theological virtues of Faith, Hope, and Love perfect us as "wayfarers" on our way to heaven. Faith perfects the intellect of the wayfarer by giving him the understanding of God needed for reaching his final end. What really stood out to me as I was reading this today, however, was the clever and illuminating way Scotus juxtaposes Hope and Love (Charity).


He says that Love perfects the wayfarer "with respect to God as worthy of love in himself," while Hope perfects the wayfarer "with respect to God as worthy of love for my own sake."

(Ordinatio III d.34, n.30, trans. Williams.)


The religious life cannot be only about appropriately recognizing the value of things, loving them for their own sakes. Yes, indeed, a religious life is imperfect which looks to God only as the one who can satisfy my needs. We do have an obligation to recognize that God is greater and more important than we are, an obligation which includes the duty to love God above all things, even ourselves. But at the same time, and in part because we are indeed relatively so insignificant, it is a debased religious life which will not to look to God as the one who can satisfy my needs.


Besides, one way to show love for God is to want what God wants for our wanting. And if God wants us to seek him for our own personal salvation, then we ought to want that too.