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St. Mary Magdalen's
Catholic Church
Willesden Green
London NW10
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Tuesday, February 07, 2006
God is Love 5th February 2006
Extracts from the Pope’s First Encyclical DEUS CARITAS EST (God is Love)

1. ….. Saint John … offers a kind of summary of the Christian life: “We have come to know and to believe in the love God has for us”...In acknowledging the centrality of love, Christian faith has retained the core of Israel's faith, while... giving it new depth & breadth
3. That love between man and woman which is neither planned nor willed, but somehow imposes itself upon human beings, was called eros by the ancient Greeks. …. of the three Greek words for love, eros, philia (the love of friendship) and agape, New Testament writers prefer the last, ….. The tendency to avoid the word eros, together with the new vision of love expressed through the word agape, clearly point to something new and distinct about the Christian understanding of love …… The Old Testament ….. in no way rejected eros as such; rather, it declared war on a warped and destructive form of it …… An intoxicated and undisciplined eros, then, is not an ascent in “ecstasy” towards the Divine, but a fall, a degradation of man. Evidently, eros needs to be disciplined and purified if it is to provide not just fleeting pleasure, but a certain foretaste of the pinnacle of our existence, of that beatitude for which our whole being yearns.
5. …. there is a certain relationship between love and the Divine: love promises infinity, eternity—a reality far greater … than our everyday existence. …. Purification and growth in maturity are called for … Far from rejecting or “poisoning” eros, they heal it and restore its true grandeur.
6. … agape …. expresses the experience of a love which involves a real discovery of the other … it seeks the good of the beloved: it becomes renunciation and it is ready, and even willing, for sacrifice.
… Love is indeed “ecstasy”, not in the sense of a moment of intoxication, but rather as a journey, an ongoing exodus out of the closed inward-looking self towards its liberation through self-giving, and thus towards authentic self-discovery and indeed the discovery of God: “Whoever seeks to gain his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life will preserve it” (Lk 17:33), as Jesus says throughout the Gospels (cf.Mt 10:39;16:25; Mk 8:35;Lk 9:24; Jn12:25)7. ….. eros, [is] a term to indicate “worldly” love and agape, refer[s] to love grounded in and shaped by faith. … The more the two, in their different aspects, find a proper unity in the one reality of love, the more the true nature of love in general is realized…The element of agape thus enters into this love, for otherwise eros is impoverished and even loses its own nature. On the other hand, man cannot live by sacrificial ..love alone. He cannot always give, he must also receive. Anyone who wishes to give love must also receive love as a gift… to become such a source (of love) one must constantly drink anew from the original source, which is Jesus Christ, from whose pierced heart flows the love of God.

posted by Sinead Reekie at 1:32 pm