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The Vatican has today published an Encyclical Letter from Pope Benedict XVI on Christian Love, entitled Deus Caritas Est. This is Pope. The following is a translation of the Summary of the Holy Father’s first Encyclical, Deus Caritas Est (God Is Love), which was published on Thursday, 26 January. Romanus Cessario, O.P. / Saint John’s Seminary, Boston. In the United States and Australia, the Encyclical Letter Deus caritas est enjoyed a.

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Another path, that of the Franciscans of the thirteenth century, the heir of St. The Christian faith has always considered man as a being in whom there is a sort of interpenetration of spirit and matter, from which he draws a new nobility. Two facts are significant about this statement: Nor has the Lord been absent from subsequent Church history: Augustine, that we discover by reading St.

Instead of contributing through individual works of charity to maintaining the status quowe need to build a just social order in which all receive their share of the world’s goods and no longer have to depend on charity.

In the account of Jacob’s ladder, the Fathers of the Church saw this inseparable connection between ascending and descending love, between eros which seeks God and agape which passes on the gift received, symbolized in various ways.

In the Old Testament, the novelty of the Bible did not consist merely in abstract notions but in God’s unpredictable and in some sense unprecedented activity.

Summary of Deus Caritas Est

The continuity of these two forms of love follows the traditional Catholic understanding, which is influenced by the philosophy of PlatoAugustineBonaventure and ancient Jewish tradition. The transition which he makes from the Law and the Prophets to the twofold commandment of love of God and of neighbour, and his grounding the whole life of faith on this central precept, is not simply a matter of morality—something that could exist apart from and alongside faith in Christ and its sacramental re-actualization.

We offer him our service only to the extent that we can, and for encyclicall long as he grants us the strength.


In the same verse, Saint John also offers a kind of summary of the Christian life: He distributed to the poor whatever funds were available and then presented to the authorities the poor themselves as the real treasure of the Church. In order to define more accurately the relationship between the necessary commitment to justice and the ministry of charity, two fundamental situations need to be considered:.

Finally, we must turn our attention once again to those who are responsible for carrying out the Church’s charitable activity. The classical path, that of Aristotle, taken up by the scholastics of the thirteenth century, but encuclical by St. In his pain he cried out: Although these tendencies have existed, the meaning of this deepening is different.

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They constantly experience the gift of her goodness and the unfailing love which she pours out from the depths of her heart. To purchase this book online go to www. The lives of the saints are not limited to their earthly biographies but also include their being and working in God after death. The appearance of external links does not constitute endorsement by IEC of the information, products or services contained therein.

In order to compensate for the weakness of nature and the stain of original sin, God arranged for every human being to be connected to other beings who love him naturally, instinctively, and also through grace, that is to say that he knows the joy of love. Jesus united into a single precept this commandment of love for God and the commandment of love for neighbour found in the Book of Leviticus: Doesn’t she blow the whistle just when the joy which is the Creator’s gift offers us a happiness which is itself a certain foretaste of the Divine?

The teaching of the Letter to the Galatians is emphatic: No longer is it self-seeking, a sinking in the intoxication of happiness; instead it seeks the good of the beloved: The second aspect is equally important.

The distinctiveness of the Church’s charitable activity God’s passionate love for his people—for humanity—is at the same encycliccal a forgiving love.

Yet, while professional competence is a primary, fundamental requirement, it is not of itself sufficient. His love, moreover, is an elective love: This is the Franciscan path followed by the Pope: It could hardly be otherwise, since its promise looks towards its definitive goal: Should he aspire to be pure spirit and to reject the flesh as pertaining to his animal nature alone, then spirit and body would both lose their dignity.


St Paul’s hymn to charity cf. Private works Introduction to Christianity Eschatology: In acknowledging the centrality of love, Christian faith has retained the core of Israel’s faith, while at the same time giving it new depth and breadth.

Then I learn to look on this other person not encyclival with my eyes and my feelings, but from the perspective of Jesus Christ.

The saints—consider the example of Blessed Teresa of Calcutta—constantly renewed their capacity for love of neighbour from their encounter with the Eucharistic Lord, and carifas this encounter acquired its real- ism and depth in their service to others.

In this way, love of neighbour and love of God are truly united. Despite being extended to all mankind, it is not reduced to a generic, abstract and undemanding expression of love, but calls for my own practical commitment here and now. Nevertheless, he is by no means blind to the opportunities for evangelisation that flow from the same cultural milieu. In the development of biblical faith, however, the content of the prayer fundamental to Israel, the Shemabecame increasingly clear and unequivocal: It is part of love’s growth towards higher levels and inward purification that it now seeks to become definitive, and it does so in a twofold sense: Here politics and faith meet.

Man is truly himself when his body and soul are intimately united; the challenge of eros can be said to be truly overcome when this unification is achieved. Jesus identifies himself with those in sst, with the hungry, the thirsty, the stranger, the naked, the sick and those in prison.