Sunday, May 13, 2007

Sioux Falls' Bishop Swain: There is probably no word so overused in our culture as love.

Sioux Falls' Bishop Paul Swain asked Mount Marty College graduates Friday to avoid the allure of the "surface and casual" love so prevalent in today's society.

"There is probably no word so overused in our culture as love," the Sioux Falls Diocese bishop said during the college's baccalaureate at the Bishop Marty Memorial Chapel.

The love marketed through the Internet and elsewhere "sees love as casual relationships that come and easily go," Swain said. "This sad, selfish and surface love is a threat to families, to the stability of society and to the peace we all seek."

Instead, he encouraged students to cultivate the love shown by Jesus in the gospels.

"'Love one another as I love you,' He asks us. It is a love that celebrates the Gospel of Life from conception to natural death, and the Gospel of Justice for all the years in between," Swain said. "It is a love that cares for the salvation of souls, ours and others -- a love that recognizes that there is more at stake in this world."

Swain added that, according to Pope Benedict XVI, there are two forces in today's culture that lead people away from living up to the values exemplified in the gospels.

"The first is agnosticism, which (Pope Benedict) says reduces human intelligence to merely a practical mechanism that stifles the religious sense that is engraved in our nature," he said. "It separates reason from faith, body from soul, self from others."

The other force, according to Swain, is relativism.

"It emphasizes, 'If it feels good to me, I should do it,'" he said. "It defines freedom as the license to do whatever we want, rather than the liberty to do what we ought to do, what is the right thing to do.

"In both agnosticism and relativism, others are treated as things to be used and discarded, or obstacles to be removed, rather than fellow children of God," Swain added.

It is with these thoughts in mind that Swain asked the new graduates to enter the School of Life -- and do what they are called to do.

"It is only when we discover what God wants us to do with our lives, that we feel that sense of peace that we all seek," he said. "Look forward with great anticipation and hope, open yourself to God's will for you. Do so grateful for the Catholic heritage you have received that tells you, whatever challenges come your way, that God loves you, each one of you. And pass that lesson on." Yankton Press & Dakotan

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