On Love and Evil


Guest Column

By Mark Gaylord

(Mark Gaylord works as an analyst for a Defense Contractor. A cradle Catholic, he lives with his wife, a convert, and four children in northern Virginia. He has served on his Parish Apologetics Committee. This meditation was originally part of an email to me. I liked it enough that I asked him to use it as a guest column, to which he agreed. – CJ)

Once when I was assisting at an RCIA class a question was asked “What is Love”.  “God is love” the main instructor replied, as it states in the Bible (1 John 4:8 “Whoever is without love does not know God, for God is love.”). The lady continued along the line that God is not an emotion, and wanted more clarity on what Love is.  An answer in the form of a definition came out of/through me, which was not from me or my intellect, and it is “Love is the active participation in the will of God.”  I was amazed at the time what I heard come out of my own mouth and found it to be a beautiful statement.

I have spent a long time contemplating this and have found it has fascinating ramifications. For a while I thought this was something new (and it was for me), but it is consistent with what we already have from our faith, and is at best just a clarification.  The idea is well expressed in Scripture as it turns out (and would be expected):

  • 1 Samuel 15:22 “But Samuel replied: “Does the LORD delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the voice of the LORD? To obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed is better than the fat of rams.”
  • 1 John 4:7-8 “Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.”
  • John 14:15 “If you love me, keep my commandments.”

The definition has opened a greater depth and meaning to love for me rather than that of a simple emotion and of course it turns out the Church has well known and taught this.  Pope Benedict IV stated “…it is clearly revealed that love is not merely a sentiment. Sentiments come and go. A sentiment can be a marvelous first spark, but it is not the fullness of love.” In deus caritas est 17.

Since God is always active in his own will, and it is action in his will that defines love, God is in fact Love.  He is the absolute source and definition of Love.  As such everything God wills and does is an act of Love by God.  Anyone who actively follows and participates in the will of God loves.  All that we purposefully do that is as God wills is a loving action.  Jesus came to actively do the will of God and to Love “For the Son of man himself came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” Mark 10:45.

Love is an act of free will.  We choose to Love, by actively participating in the will of God, or not.  God wants us to love him, just to love him (Baltimore Catechism), God does not coerce us, we decide by the way we conduct ourselves and live our lives if we love God.  “Before man is life and death, good and evil, that which he shall choose shall be given him” Ecclesiasticus 15:18

Before I was given the definition for Love I thought that the opposite of Love was hate, and I was wrong, it is evil.  Appling the definition the opposite of Love would be the “Active non-participation in the will of God”, and that is mortal sin, and mortal sin is evil.  “Hate” is a sentiment often expressed from an Evil disposition (but not all hate is evil).

The “non-active non-participation in the will of God” is venial sin.  This can be from ignorance, laziness, carelessness etc. but it is not the absolute willful separation from God that mortal sin entails. Original Sin is the separation from the will of God we are born with from the Sin of Adam.

“This act of disobedience, which is called his original sin, man lost nothing which was due to him or to his nature. He lost only gifts, and became as St. Augustine has said, ‘Just mere man.’ On Christmas day when you distribute gifts to your friends, a person with whom you are unacquainted would not dare come to you and argue because you had failed to give him gifts such as you had given your friends. Your answer would be: sir, I have done you no injustice. I have deprived you of nothing which is your due. I have even given to my friends that which was not theirs. And so it is with Original Sin.” Archbishop Fulton Sheen (Catholic Hour – Love’s Overflow)

This understanding of mortal sin explains much on the nature of sin, sinners and on the devil and demons.  Evil is an active rejection of God and therefore a total lack of Love.

Actively choosing to oppose God (exist in a complete state of mortal sin) is demonic, this is why it separates us from God. If we actively cast ourselves totally away from God we land in Hell when we die since hell is the state of complete separation from and rejection of God. If we live in mortal sin we reject God and all that is good, so what is left when all that is good is rejected is horrendous, it is hell.

Since God created all, he is the source of all truth.  Since Satan rejects all that is of God he also rejects all that is true and this is why he is the “father of lies”.   He rejects God out of pride and all the attributes of God.  Satan is the perversion of truth, he twists all things to away from truth. So with Satan we have things like: Homosexual marriage, abortion (the destruction of children made in the image and likeness of God), Lust, etc.

As people follow Satan they lose the truth and “For this is the property of Satan’s delusions, that the men seized by them do not suspect that they are delusions.” —John Henry Newman, Parochial and Plain Sermons, 6:335.  When a person accepts lies, they live lies, and they lose the truth, and they lose God.

Since Satan has rejected all that is good, he has no good in himself.  He has nothing positive.  As such he has:

  • No over-all truth, he is all lies (remember he is the father of lies, but he will accuse a person with the truth of their actions
  • No genuine strength (just another lie)
  • No wisdom (intelligence not a good on its own!)
  • No Love – opposes all love!
  • No Hope
  • No Joy
  • Rejected ALL that is good, so all that is left is Evil
  • Corruption, ego, weakness, horror, hate, fear, coercion, foolishness, despair, lies, deceit, malice, Etc.

Not being God he:

  • Cannot create, only destroy (God alone creates)
  • Destroys Life (God’s creation)  → abortion (Destroys the image and likeness of God), Euthanasia, Assisted suicide, Fetal experimentation, cloning and combining species DNA – all trying to play God
  • Destroys individuals
  • Destroys families
  • Attacks all that is good
  • Fosters terror and terrorism
  • Tries (in vain) to destroy the Church (Body/Bride of Christ).  Instills Ideas like: faith doesn’t matter… Sacraments are only symbols, Bible alone etc… (it is never alone, always comes with ideas and interpretation)

It is important to remember that:

CCC 395 “The power of Satan is, nonetheless, not infinite. He is only a creature, powerful from the fact that he is pure spirit, but still a creature. He cannot prevent the building up of God’s reign. Although Satan may act in the world out of hatred for God and his kingdom in Christ Jesus, and although his action may cause grave injuries – of a spiritual nature and, indirectly, even of a physical nature- to each man and to society, the action is permitted by divine providence which with strength and gentleness guides human and cosmic history. It is a great mystery that providence should permit diabolical activity, but “we know that in everything God works for good with those who love him.”

So we should remember that “Love covers a multitude of sins” (1 Pt 4:8). It is URGENT we choose well! Ultimately there are Only 2 choices: “God” and “wrong answer → (Not God)”!) So one again let me state from Ecclesiasticus 15:18 “Before man is life and death, good and evil, that which he shall choose shall be given him”.  Choose evil and you get evil, choose real True Love and you get God!

About charliej373

Charlie Johnston is a former newspaper editor, radio talk show host and political consultant. From Feb. 11, 2011 to Aug. 21, 2012, he walked 3,200 miles across the country, sleeping in the woods, meeting people and praying as he went. He has received prophetic visitation all his life, which he has vetted through a trio of priests over the last 20 years, and now speaks publicly about on this site. Yet he emphasizes that we find God most surely through the ordinary, doing the little things we should with faith and fidelity. Hence the name, The Next Right Step. The visitations inform his work, but are not the focus of it. He lives in the Archdiocese of Denver in the United States.
This entry was posted in Discernment, Guest Columns, Satan and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

39 Responses to On Love and Evil

  1. Terry Heaton says:

    PROFOUND!!! WOW!!! I chose Love. Thank you from my SOUL, HEART AND SPIRIT. Love and prayers are joined with yours. The more Holiness is a part of my life, the more satan is attacking. Pray for protection over our home. With a heart of Gratitude for your steadfast obedience to God’s Will. I have been mocked for years for my deep Catholic Faith. I am so in Love of my Heavenly Father and My Creator. Therese Mary Anne

    Sent from my iPhone

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Ginny K. Allen says:

    I have published 2 books on Amazon…One is titled…BROKEN AND BRUISED HOLY AND SANCTIFIED. It is the answers I had to prayer through a time of brokenness…the final piece is God’s answer to my question
    What Is Love?

    Love is like an outstretched hand. This hand will be there whenever you have need of it. You will not be teased or tempted by it. It will be there for you to grasp at any time~day or night. It will be warm and soft and gentle and caressing. This hand will hold only goodness and light to be shared with you. You will be the holder of this same goodness and light and be able to share it with someone who needs to grasp your hand. All love comes from God and returns to God. It is ever flowing like the warmth of an embrace.

    Love shatters darkness and loneliness. Love wants only what is best for the other. It knows no boundaries, is free and is forever.

    Love’s only reward is the one loved. Love is pure and holy.

    It is not lust. Love brings sin out into the light so it can be gently washed away. Love never hurts But It wounds to heal

    ! GOD IS LOVE !

    Liked by 3 people

  3. radiclaudio says:

    Amen, amen (and WOW). Reading Mark’s post is sort of like drinking from a fire hose, but everything he wrote spoke to my heart
    I plan to print and re read later tonight. Thank you for sharing this Charlie. Much love, Rich

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Randal says:

    Fr. Thomas Dubay,S.M. a well known author and retreat master defined Gospel love in one of his EWTN broadcast retreats as: “Love is a self sacrificing, willed concern for and giving to another, even if attraction and feeling are absent, and even if little or nothing is received in return.” In other words, similar to the traditional Catholic wedding vow, we are to love no matter the cost, how we feel or whether we are appreciated, thanked, understood, etc. The love Fr. Dubay speaks of here is found in the will…. where we choose, where we decide. It may or may not be accompanied by good feelings. I thank God that He did not give a commandment to like everyone, but rather to love. We have all made an effort to love someone we didn’t necessarily like at the moment; just as others have done the same for us. We must always STRIVE to love our brothers and sisters, not measuring the personal cost.

    In Luke 6:27 – 37 we find an example of this crucified love:

    27 “But I say to you that listen, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, 28 bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you. 29 If anyone strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also; and from anyone who takes away your coat do not withhold even your shirt. 30 Give to everyone who begs from you; and if anyone takes away your goods, do not ask for them again. 31 Do to others as you would have them do to you.

    32 “If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. 33 If you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. 34 If you lend to those from whom you hope to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, to receive as much again. 35 But love your enemies, do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return.[a] Your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High; for he is kind to the ungrateful and the wicked. 36 Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful. 37 “Do not judge, and you will not be judged; do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven…

    In these words it is almost as if Christ is giving us a foreshadowing of the apex of the love He would manifest during His passion and death. I have used this passage as a part of my daily examen for many years, frequently revealing my poorness and failures, coupled with a greater recognition of my need for God’s mercy. In Luke 9:23, he tells us that if we want to follow him, we are to “deny ourselves and take up our cross daily.” Trying to live Christ’s crucified love on a daily basis is a sure means to grow in union with Him (“follow him”) and to prepare for the trials and difficulties which will intensify for a short time. However, we must never forget where the cross leads…. to union with Him in this life and beatific vision, our true home. Speaking of God’s mercy, one of my favorite quotes…. Our Lord told St. Faustina, “The graces of My mercy are drawn by means of one vessel only, and that is TRUST. The more a soul trusts, the more it will receive…. Sooner would heaven and earth turn into nothingness than would My mercy not embrace a trusting soul.”

    Liked by 3 people

  5. Stephen Maresch says:

    Well written and well said all, as Saint Thomas Aquinas defined Love, ” Love is willing the good of other for the sake of the other,”

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Serendipity says:

    ‘Love is the active participation in the will of God’
    Living water soaking, expanding, refreshing, encouraging
    a parched heart, any heart, thirsting for God.
    So beautiful : a summation of Life.
    Yet – so ‘God’ : so simple yet so pulverizingly profound as to plummet the depths of the ocean even as it ascends to the realms of the angels.
    So God : sublime with esoteric wisdom yet a definition practical enough to stick on the refrigerator.
    I want to repeat it over and over so I don’t forget the words -exactly.
    There are rare times (less rare w/ this blog) when heaven bends down to breathe a kiss upon us; a true touch, a glimpse of heaven. Well Mr Mark G. thank you for sharing yours thereby giving it to others. And such a perfect day too! The midpoint of Our Lady’s two biggest feast days. Our Queen, the Mother and Perfect Model of Love has given us a gift thru you and I most humbly thank you. God bless you always.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Fran says:

    This is excellent. Thank you very much, Mark. I will copy this and read it again.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. patrick says:

    Mercy is Often is referred to as The Lord’s greatest attribute. Mercy is forgiveness, compassion and the “active” will to rehabilitate or make better. There is no passive in Mercy! In our day and age we lost the meaning of love. Finally, to have compassion for someone is to “suffer with” them quite literally. It is the most direct translation of the Latin. In the modern parlance, the bundle of the aforementioned is Love.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. SteveBC says:

    Thank you, Mark. This is nicely clarifying.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. Gary says:

    Thanks Mark I needed to hear your inspired words. I often get caught up in my own little world and sometimes I need to know that it is God that I serve, to cooperate in His will. Along those lines you wrote, I heard a priest explain what is Faith; the belief that what someone says is true and trustworthy. When I work on systems I follow the manual because I trust the ones who wrote it know
    what they are talking about. Sometimes though, when I am in the throws of come crisis, I do not always trust that the Lord knows what he is doing in my life. I just get back on the horse and keep riding, not always knowing where I am headed but trusting that Lord will get me to where I am suppose to be.

    Liked by 2 people

  11. donna269 says:

    thank you, thank you Mark….Just Beautiful!!!! But now I am ever more concerned about whether my adult son’s separation from the Church is indeed a mortal or venial sin….so like St Monica, I will furiously hound them and pray for them….thank you again for a beautiful essay.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Connie says:

      Donna, I think that is one of the best attributes God gave us women, to our motherly hearts our children are always our children no matter their age. Because every person HAS a mother, I think God INTENDED for Mothers to pray and pray and pray for HER children. Therefore I have no doubt God hears a Mother’s prayers, is pleased with them and most certainly answers them! Would that ALL mothers prayed unceasingly for their children.

      Liked by 3 people

    • Mary A says:

      Donna, no worries. While Monica prayed and wept, she also stayed close with her son and respected his conscience and his freedom. Trust God’s love for your son, and trust your son’s innate compass to the good and the true. Ask once what his issue is with the Church, offer answers when appropriate or asked, don’t judge, and be as loving and patient with your son as you would be if he were newly converted.

      Liked by 3 people

  12. Mack says:

    Thomas Aquinas: mercy is love’s second name.

    Liked by 2 people

  13. Bev says:

    Donna, I learned something new this week. I susbscribe to a small Catholic newspaper published twice a month. In the latest issue, a small article made a deep impression on me. It was entitled, “Praying Backwards”. And I have been every day since. The article explained what we all know-all time is “now” for God. So if all time is now for Him, we can go back and pray for times we wish we had. Whether because of ignorance, worries, overwhelming needs of a family, whatever reason that we didn’t then, we can “go back” and do it now. This has given great consolation to me. I have gone back and prayed beside my father as he died. I have done the same with my brother at his death, alone, with no one. He was my best friend on earth. And I have gone back to the birth of each of my sons, and each day, when I am spending specific prayer time with God, I contemplate with Him, what I should go back to and pray to Him about. Sometimes, it has even been prayer for me. That really surprised me. But I have and will continue to pray for my lapsed son, from before he drifted away, knowing that all time is NOW for God. And knowing that my “now” is His “NOW” then.

    Liked by 4 people

    • ellenchris says:

      Yes, I have found this to be true. God is eternal; in Him there is only, “Now.” We can entrust everything into Him — past, present and future all as now. The key to everything is Trust. Love and prayers to you and all.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Fran says:

      This is something that I think the Lord (in my prayer) has been enlightening me about too Bev, that the things we regret, or just wish had happened differently, can be “prayed over” and grace can be given that we didn’t ask for or accept then. You just explained it so well. Thank you. It is a very great consolation, especially for anyone needing healing from the past.

      Liked by 2 people

    • Kati says:

      This is truly beautiful and very much appeals to me. I will begin today to do the same thing. I am sure this will bring much good into many lives. I consider this a gift from Our Lady of Tepeyac on her feast day. It’s HER feast day and she celebrates by giving US great gifts!

      Thank you , Bev… 😉

      Liked by 2 people

      • Connie says:

        Yes, WE benefit from Heaven’s celebrations.! I, too, have been having that same impression that no prayer is too late in God’s timing and it is also bringing me great consolation as the Lord is illuminating past sins and problems to me these days. Praise God!

        Liked by 1 person

  14. ellenchris says:

    Happy Feast Day of Our Lady of Tepeyac, Charlie and everybody! Joy as we approach Christmas. (Starting to feel significantly better) Prayers and blessings all around.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Kati says:

      Happy Feast Day of Our Lady of Tepeyac to you too, ellenchris! How wonderful that you are feeling so much better!

      Liked by 2 people

      • audiemarie2014 says:

        Yes, Happy Feast Day of Our Lady of Tepeyac to all! I was feeling crummy lately and wanted to go to the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe in La Crosse, WI, but no one would or could get away because of Christmas preparations, possibility of icy roads, etc. Well, I went by myself. It was a long drive for me, but so worth it!! I finally saw this Cardinal Burke that everyone has talked about here on this blog (and elsewhere)! What a wonderful day. And the shrine is so peaceful and breathtaking at the same time. Big happy face!!

        Liked by 1 person

  15. D Shea says:

    Yes!! Happy Day!! Yesterday my old girlfriend, Georgia, and I went to Batesville, AR to check out the Christmas Light display. We had dinner at a new Mexican Restaurant early where not only was the food great but in the lobby they had a large Crucifix and a picture of Our Lady of Guadalupe .. Yes! .. Guadalupe .. and 1/2 the time I still say Holy Ghost 😉 .. Anyway! Ya don’t see a Crucifix and Our Lady prominently displayed often in small town Arkansas… especially one with a Presbyterian College. I pointed this out to my S. Baptist Friend and Grad of said College 😉 The Light Display was impressive too and “Merry Christmas” outnumbered “Happy Holidays” four to one … but … Jesus, Mary, Joseph and Gang were relegated to a “Back 40” area but at least they were there! Last year I took my old sis to Lexington, KY where at the Racing Farm Horse Museum and Farm they had a very impressive drive through light display and the museum and buildings were decorated nicely… But!!! … No Jesus, Wise Men, Star or “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen” …. Lexington, KY!!!??? If we have anyone from Kentucky here can they tell me/us if Lexington, like Austin, TX, is a liberal Blue Wart on an otherwise Red State?
    Merry CHRISTmas!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Bob says:

    Charlie you once referred to miracles as He will manifest that most rarity of rarities, a visible undeniable miracle visible to all and for those with eyes to see . He already has at Tepeyac. Anyone with any knowledge knows that cactus fibers don’t last for centuries when they should be dust in 50 years, miraculous images don’t appear without being painted, and without any known material. Painted eyes don’t show the images of those watching. And there are more miracles here besides.
    God is wanting us to trust through her that He can be trusted.
    Happy feast day Charlie and all.

    Liked by 2 people

  17. Irish7 says:

    Thank you Mark. I have been contemplating your writing for two days. It is simple yet profound. It has illuminated Christ’s words about His food being to do the Father’s will for me. Also how much easier to love our enemies and everyone for that matter with this perspective. So many layers to this. Lots of connections being made in my mind and heart and so clearly inspired.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Mark says:

      There really is very little to thank me for in any of this, it was given to me. I can no more claim credit for it than I could for lets say receiving a Christmas present. I certainly do appreciate the message and I am flattered that it was given to me, but it isn’t mine to take personal pride in (and in reality few things are!). I would like to thank Charlie for posting it however, as anything that he posts here ultimately reflects on him.

      I think in the end we will discover that it is us who over complicate things and that what God asks of us really is fairly simple. I agree with you, I have found it easier to understand loving our “enemies” even when I don’t particularly “like” them. This applies to those who aren’t enemies either, I love my kids but there are situations and days where I may not “like” them, or myself for that matter.

      Liked by 1 person

  18. ellenchris says:

    She said: “Am I not here, who am your Mother?” and “Do i not carry you in the fold of my mantle?” Yes, she is; yes, she does. That is where we truly are when we trust in her — tucked into the fold of her mantle, next to her heart. So, there is Peace.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Francine says:

    My children and I attended today’s festivities at the shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe, in La Crosse. It was a magnificent day with Cardinal Burke and an outpouring of graces. I remembered all those both here and at Pelianito’s site in my prayers. Mama Mary is interceding for us always and I pray that each of you felt her maternal love in a special way today!

    Liked by 2 people

    • audiemarie2014 says:

      Francine, it would have been very nice to have met you there! I was wondering if there might be someone from Charlie’s “family” there. You are so right, it was a magnificent day!


      • charliej373 says:

        Ha ha…my “family” has gotten so big it doesn’t miss much!

        Liked by 1 person

      • Francine says:

        Audie, I would have loved that. I was a blond woman with seven young children. After being blessed by Cardinal Burke, my three month old SCREAMED the entire way back from the communion rail. I’m doubting you missed us 🙂 Last year, I received a completely MIRACULOUS healing on this feast day. And I also was blessed with said three month old. LOL We don’t live in the La Crosse area but enjoy honoring Mary in the MI, WI, and MN areas. We might not have “met” yesterday but our prayers were united!

        Liked by 1 person

        • audiemarie2014 says:

          Francine, I might have seen you, as there was a woman who had several children walking out about the same time as me, but I didn’t remember any screaming. 🙂 I’d love to hear about your miraculous healing! It was great to see all the children there. Am glad we were there together in spirit! Happy to hear that you were blessed with your three month old. Such a gift!


  20. “Gradually it was disclosed to me that the line separating good and evil passes not through states, nor between classes, nor between political parties either — but right through every human heart — and through all human hearts. This line shifts. Inside us, it oscillates with the years. And even within hearts overwhelmed by evil, one small bridgehead of good is retained. And even in the best of all hearts, there remains … an un-uprooted small corner of evil.
    Since then I have come to understand the truth of all the religions of the world: They struggle with the evil inside a human being (inside every human being). It is impossible to expel evil from the world in its entirety, but it is possible to constrict it within each person.”
    ― Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, The Gulag Archipelago


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