For the Love of Evil

Lament over the Dead Christ (c.1548 oil-on-canvas painting) by Paolo Varonese

It is obvious that in life there is evil; it should also be evident that in life there is good. In this life there is not one or the other, but both. What might not be so clear is whether there is more good than evil. Many people today would probably say the opposite is true; evil, pain and suffering have taken over our world.

Sometimes, we can get caught up in the current state of the Church: the scandals, the lies, the suffering victims, the hypocrisy, the corruption, the lack of leadership, the lost sense of unity in our communities, etc. These issues are all important, it’s true, especially because they matter to us and impact our lives. It’s also easy to look at all of the problems in the Church and think, Why should I continue being a Christian? The clearest, but not so easily acceptable answer is: LOVE. Not only our love for Christ, but primarily His love for us.

This love for Jesus is what keeps us near Him. It is the same love that the Virgin Mary, the beloved disciple John, and Mary Magdalen had for Jesus Christ. Only love for Christ brought them to the foot of the cross where Our Lord was crucified. Imagine Jesus bloody, naked, and disfigured, nailed to a piece of wood beams. Judas Iscariot had handed his Rabbi over to the authorities and the other disciples had abandoned him; they went into hiding, confused because they thought Jesus had come to rule over the chosen people of God. However, their Master had been arrested, tried and condemned by Roman authorities. Yet, the love of John and Mary Magdalen was stronger than any fear or confusion. The Virgin Mary stood by her son; her love was greater than the worst evil a parent could experience; a mother saw with her very eyes, the cruel death of her innocent child.

The scenario of our Lord’s Crucifixion at Calvary is very much like that of the Church today, the Mystical Body of Christ which seems disfigured, wounded, naked, defeated. Like the Blessed Mother, John and Mary, our love for Christ should be what keeps us at the foot of the cross. For it is His love that has called us and sustains us here and now. It is His love that pulls us toward His suffering Church, even when we would rather run in the opposite direction. Our love for God must be stronger than any scandal or disaster precisely because the Church was founded on the greatest of evils - the unjust death of the Son of God. Upon the cross hanged Jesus Christ, who had taken upon Himself the sins of mankind, including the scandals of our Church, those of yesterday and today and - dare I say - those of tomorrow.

When we look at the disfigured Christ, we see sinful humanity. If we look fleetingly at the crucifix we can see ultimate pain, suffering and injustice. When we look at the state of the Church today we see more of the same thing. So, where is the love? God’s love is found precisely, but not exclusively in the pain and suffering. God entered evil, pain and suffering to infuse it with His love. It is in our misery that we encounter Him.

For the Love of Evil

We mustn’t disregard evil, we should embrace it.
God does not exist outside of the world only, He enters it.
God is both outside the world and in it.
Jesus, the Son of God and God Himself, entered the world;
He paid for our sins and though His wounds He poured out His love for us.
God’s love is found in the wounds He carries for us.
God’s love is understood through war, death, natural disasters and infirmities.
He embraces the world like a mother does a child.
God takes the world upon Himself like He takes the cross upon His back.
He makes our misery His.
See, no one loves the world like God.
No one loves us like God, not our mother or father, brother or sister, wife or husband, girlfriend or boyfriend.
There is and never will be anyone in the universe who loves us like Him.
His love is perfect and true, everlasting, unbreakable, unfailing.
His love is for all peoples, not just for a selected few.
Christ did not die just for me, but for the whole world, for all peoples of all times.
We are equally loved and offered equally eternal salvation.
In order to understand evil, we must understand love and in order to understand love we have to understand God.
God descended and was annexed by evil.
Evil captured God and pinned Him to a cross.
Therefore, God experienced evil firsthand.
God did this because He loves us.
God did this because He is Love.

Article and Poem by Edgar Avendano @latinofilmmaker