THE PASSERBY | Knowledge should lead us to love

WE have to be clear about this point. We should try our best to know as much as we can, but seeing to it that our knowledge leads us to love that is proper to us. It should be that love that ultimately comes from God. We should not dare to know things without being concerned about loving them the way God loves them.

Knowing without loving, or without loving in the proper way, can only lead us to see and understand things improperly and most likely to be judgmental. The most simple and obvious example of this phenomenon is to see how a toddler who starts to know things misses a lot of things for him to behave properly. He can be attracted to fire not knowing it can do him harm, for example.

And as the toddler starts to grow in age and knowledge, he of course starts to improve in his behavior. But since knowing and loving proper involve a process and take time, it usually happens that whatever growth of knowledge that growing child has leads him to make rash judgments or judgments that fail to consider many other, and even, more important aspects of any issue at hand.

We really have to be most wary of the need to animate our desire for more knowledge with the love that comes from God. Only then can our knowledge become true knowledge. Yes, we have to understand that our knowledge can only be true when it goes with charity that comes from God.

St. Paul said something in this regard: “Knowledge puffs up while love builds up. Those who think they know something do not yet know as they ought to know. But whoever loves God is known by God.” (1 Cor 8,1-3)

We have to see to it that the more we know, the more we ought to love the way God loves, as shown to us and even commanded of us by Christ himself. If our knowledge, which can get very considerable, leads us to be judgmental of others, impatient and irritated by others, etc., we have to convince ourselves that that knowledge, no matter how significant in human terms, is not yet true knowledge.

The real knowledge would always make us more patient, understanding, compassionate, merciful of others. It certainly prevents us from pride, vanity and conceit, since we would realize that everything that we know and have are things we received from God in the end.

In this regard, St. Paul said: “What do you have that you did not receive? And if you did receive it, why do you boast as though you did not?” (1 Cor 4,7) Yes, the more knowledge we have, the more humble we ought to become.

And given the tremendous reality that governs our life, considering that our life is not simply natural but also supernatural, we should realize that our knowledge would always be incomplete. In fact, the old philosopher Aristotle once said, “The more you know, the more you don’t know.”

It is precisely because of this condition that the more knowledge we have, the more humble we should also be. Humility in our knowledge allows the love that comes from God to enter and to grow in us.

The very intellectually gifted should see to it that their knowledge makes them more humble and infused with God’s love as shown by Christ and put into effect by the Holy Spirit.


By Fr. Roy Cimagala is Chaplain at the Center for Industrial Technology and Enterprise (CITE) Talamban, Cebu City. Email: