Monday, January 23, 2006

A Glimpse of Deus est Caritas?

CNS has the STORY here!

Love can change the world when it seeks the good of others because then it reflects God's love for all humanity, Pope Benedict XVI said.

"Today the word 'love' is so wasted, consumed and abused that one is almost afraid to let it form on the lips," the pope said Jan. 23 in an address to a Vatican-sponsored conference on charity.

The conference was organized by the Pontifical Council Cor Unum, the Vatican's charity-promotion agency, to coincide with the Jan. 25 release of the pope's first encyclical, "Deus Caritas Est" ("God Is Love").

Love caused God to create people and to become human to save them, the pope said.

As an expression of a "primordial reality," the reality that gave birth to the world, he said, love is a topic the church must talk about, purifying people's ideas about love so that "it can enlighten our lives."

"It is this awareness that led me to choose love as the theme for my first encyclical," he told conference participants.

"In an age when hatred and greed have become superpowers, in an age when we see religion abused to the point of becoming the deification of hatred, neutral rationalization alone cannot protect us," he said.

"We need the living God who loved us to the point of death," the pope said.

Pope Benedict said in writing the encyclical he tried to show how God, Christ and love are "fused together" as the center of Christian faith.

"I wanted to show the humanity of faith, which includes eros -- the 'yes' of a man to his corporality created by God, a 'yes' that in the indissoluble marriage of a man and a woman find its form rooted in creation," he said.

"It is there that eros transforms itself into agape, in which love for another no longer seeks itself, but becomes concern for the other, a willingness to sacrifice for him and openness to the gift of a new human life," the pope said.

Pope Benedict told conference participants that eros and agape are not two competing forms of love, but are reflections of God's love for humanity, a love the church is called to bring to the world through its preaching and its acts of charity.

When the love a Christian brings into the world is a love motivated by God's love for all people, "our love will change the world and reawaken hope, a hope that goes beyond death," the pope said.
In the logic of today's elite-led society, which enshrines today's common insanity as the "facts", the Church's testimony must seem like utter nonsense. After all, every reasonable person knows that love is the mutual agreement between Absolute Individuals to share pleasure and comfort in the hope of satisfying some perceived need or desire. And charity? Please! That's not love, that's compassion. Everyone knows that.

Everyone except those Fools that follow Christ. Including his mystical body on earth--currently shepherded by Pope Benedict XVI. For some strange reason, he appears to equate Love with God. He dares speak of a God, whose love for humanity is so strong that he not only creates human beings for their own sake. He also becomes one of them, in the person of his own Son, Jesus Christ. He dares point out the truth: Jesus Christ loved us to his own death, that we might live in the fullness of Truth and Love with his Father through him. Pope Benedict XVI even has the audacity, the unmitigated gall, to suggest that eros and agape--are complementary reflections of the one Love that penetrates the world from the God who is Love.


The fair-minded will find this encylical breathtaking, should it represent the full substance of Pope Benedict's own reflections here. It will get more and more difficult for Reasonable commentators to pigeon-hole the Catholic Church into the usual stereotype. That's good news for the wary and weary that struggle to make sense of life in this enshadowed world. God be praised!