A civilization of love cannot be built without God’s grace, Cardinal Turcotte says

Cardinal Turcotte delivering the homily at the Knights conference on Wednesday
Cardinal Turcotte delivering the homily at the Knights conference on Wednesday


A civilization of love cannot be built without the transforming power of God’s grace and it must be lived out in ordinary life, Cardinal Jean-Claude Turcotte told the Knights of Columbus convention this morning.

Noting that the theme of the convention begins with the expression “Building a civilization of love,” Cardinal Turcotte explained that, “This is a desire that bursts forth from the human heart – to live in a society patterned on love.”

“We live in an age of globalization, where every idea and every point of view can now be easily spread and shared.  In the midst of all these voices, how can we discover a sure path for progress?” he asked.

Today the universal Church celebrates the feast of the Transfiguration, and this is precisely where Cardinal Turcotte finds the answer for building a civilization of love.

He relates the biblical events this way: “Jesus takes some of his closest friends with him on a mountaintop, and he begins to shine with glory.  His face is as dazzling as the sun.  But it is still his human face.  Who he is, as a human being, is still present.  His human nature is still intact.  His divine nature is powerfully revealed – but only by gazing on his human face. It is a face we see today in our brothers and sisters, and in particular the poor and helpless.  To build the civilization of love means to seek the face of Jesus in others.”

Although “the genuine Christian knows that God and humanity are not in competition,” said the cardinal, the Transfiguration also teaches us with the presence of Moses, the great Law-giver, that “our pursuit of a civilization of love does have certain limits it cannot cross.  We must never do evil, even if it seems to be for a greater good.” The prophet Elijah’s appearance also reminds us to be prophets in the way that we speak and work, love our spouses, provide parenting, invest and donate, vote and defend human life and dignity, he asserted.

Another aspect of the encounter with Jesus on the mountain highlighted by the prelate was the seemingly strange command from Jesus that the disciples “Tell no one of the vision.”
“It must have been tough to keep this secret, but it would have taught these disciples an important lesson:  while extraordinary experiences are good, the living ‘ordinary’ presence of Christ is just as important.  It is not grace OR nature.  It is not Jesus OR the world.  Yes, we must learn to live in an ordinary world, but as a beginning, not an end,” Cardinal Turcotte reflected.

Today, opposition towards the idea of God and a fear of faith are common, the Canadian cardinal observed. But, the reason for this is that people think “these will require them to deny the ordinary goodness of this life.  It because they do not know our secret: that the face of God is found reflected in the face of our neighbour. This is the secret that makes the civilization of love possible." 

"The civilization of love is not about getting rid of ordinary life, but about living it in an extraordinary way.  In a transfigured way.  And in a way that invites others to see the face of Jesus and be transfigured too,” Cardinal Turcotte said in closing.

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