Homily 7 on the First Epistle of John by St. Augustine
This is probably the most astounding exegesis of Scripture I have ever read. To say “God is love” is astounding enough, but we are quite familiar with it; after all, it is in Scripture (1 John 4:8 and 1 John 4:16). But from the same book and even passage in Scripture, to conclude that “Love is God”?! This is something that even a renowned Catholic theologian and philosopher such as Peter Kreeft cannot accept ("‘God is love’ is the profoundest thing we have ever heard. But ‘love is God’ is deadly nonsense." - peterkreeft.com/topics/love.htm), but here was a giant among theologians – a Church Father, even! – who proclaimed this “deadly nonsense”!
Do you not see? If “God is love”, and “Love is God”, then all of the Good News are contained therein those two statements.
Since God is Love, what else do we have to be afraid of? God is the God of Providence: everything that happens is either because God permitted it to happen or God made it to happen, but all because God is Love. Everything that happens to us is because God loves us, and all happen for our good, even the seemingly evil. And because God loves us, nothing that happens to us can overwhelm us:
And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it. – 1 Corinthians 10:13
If Love is God, then what else do we need? When we love, we wield God! Even if at first it seems foolish, even if it seems to have failed, even if it seems misguided, even if it seems wasteful, if you have loved in a truly Christian way, then it will always be wise, will always be unstoppable, will always be fruitful, because Love is God.
If Love is God, and if God is Love, then through love, God surrenders Himself to us; through love, He lets us use His Wisdom, His Power, His Bounty, and nothing can stop God, nothing can defeat God, nothing can bankrupt God, nothing can confound God. And yet if Love is God, and if God is Love, then true love is the path to true surrender, because through love we follow God’s Will totally by willing it (“Love is God”) and allowing it (“God is Love”). In loving, God and man truly surrender to each other.
No wonder the fruits of love are joy, peace and mercy, for in loving Heaven is brought here on earth, and the True Light pierces the night!