The Unexpected Causes of Love: Necessity, Commerce and Treasties

St. John Chrysostom (d. 407AD) says that God has ordered the world to encourage us to love one another.  As Chrysostom sees it, our needs and mutual dependencies bind humans together to encourage cooperation.  Human life is ordered by God not to encourage rugged individualism but rather mutual interdependence.   This is the lesson taught to us from birth by our birth:  we don’t bring ourselves into the world, nor do we create the world into which we are born.  Rather we share the earth with others and are to value others because they can provide us things we cannot provide for ourselves.   Society itself exists as a means for humans to serve one another and help meet the needs of all.

“All good works are the fruit of charity…Now charity teaches us not only by words but also by deeds. In the first place, we ought to keep in mind the way in which we have been created. Indeed, after he had created the one man, God ordained that we should be born from him, so that we all should consider ourselves as one and try to practice charity for one another. In the second place, God in his wisdom fostered our mutual love through our treaties and commerce. Look how God has filled the universe with many goods, but to each part of the earth he has given its particular fruits. In this way, impelled by our needs we communicate with one another, give to others what we have overmuch and receive what we lack.

Thus we increase our love for our brethren. The same thing God has done with each human life. He has not given to all of us to know everything, rather to one medicine, to another architecture, yet to another, art, so that we may love one another by necessity. The same thing is to be seen in the spiritual order, as St. Paul says: ‘To one the Spirit gives wisdom in discourse, to another the power to express knowledge; by the same Spirit another is given the gift of healing, and still another miraculous powers….’ ”(Daily Readings from the Writing of St. John Chrysostom, pp 105-106)


3 thoughts on “The Unexpected Causes of Love: Necessity, Commerce and Treasties

  1. Victor Weis

    Thank you for this amazingly beautiful quote, father. Does_Daily Readings from the Writing of St. John Chrysostom_ give a reference to where this is found in his writings?

      1. Victor Weis

        Sad. I asked Fr. Anthony as well, but he said he no longer has his notes from when he complied the collection. But I am still young; if I keep reading, perhaps I will stumble across it someday!

        Thanks again!

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