"How can wisdom be folly, strength be powerlessness, hope be insanity? These clashing juxtapositions alert us to the possibility that wisdom, strength, hope and love acquire a new level of meaning when used in the elaboration of faith. But what new meaning? And why delivered as paradox?
One possibility is that faithful love and strength meet a higher standard than worldly love and strength -- the love being so unlike worldly self-love that it appears to the uninitiated as neglect or hatred of self; the strength being so unlike worldly self-aggrandizement that it appears to the uninitiated as powerlessness; the hope, so extravagant, that it appears insane.
Put another way, the concepts of faith apply to a dimension of thought and experience other than, or perhaps richer than, the strictly conventional, worldly, or ordinary. It follows that expanding the meaning of a concept like love from a familiar to a not-just-worldly context will be achieved only at the price of some apparent distortion.
Paradox expands the conceptual and moral space we ordinarily reserve for a term, say love, by stretching that space to include what seems to be its opposite..."
(from Edward Mooney's "Knights of Faith and Resignation")