We want to say that love is unconditional. It seems right. It is equal parts comforting and challenging. It is comforting because if I am loved, then there is nothing I can do to lose that. It is challenging because in order to love, I have to will to be untroubled by obstacles. We do not want to say love is conditional because we fear submitting love to the twisted logic of relationship terrorism: if you do not meet my demands, I deprive you of what is good for you, or vice versa. We think of conditions as qualifications and we do not want to attach qualifications to love. So we say love is unconditional. But that is wrong. Love is always conditional.
I read something about St. Catherine of Siena last night that has completely torn apart my existence and forced a sharp examine of conscience. Why? Because the saints--when we really, really dare to see them--are not there first of all to comfort us. They should first disturb us. They work in Christ, who wounds us in order to heal us.