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DEUS CARITAS EST A Bandel Basilica Presentation
DEUS CARITAS EST “We have come to know and ENCYCLICAL LETTER OF to believe in the love God has for us. God is love, and whoever remains in love remains in God and God in him. ” (I Jn 4, 16) POPE BENEDICT XVI ON CHRISTIAN LOVE
DEUS CARITAS EST This is the first encyclical of Pope Benedict XVI The title is taken from I Jn 4, 16 "ὁ θεòς ἀγάπη ἐστίν" (ho theos agape estin) = "God is love"
DEUS CARITAS EST signed by Pope on Christmas Day, 25 December 2005. published on the feast of the conversion of St. Paul 25 th January 2006. the delay is said to be due to problem in translating the original German text into Latin or to disputes over the precise wording of the document
DEUS CARITAS EST It has two parts. • The first part is a theological philosophical discussion on love. • The second part is on the practice of Christian love. • The first half is said to have been written by Pope Benedict in German, his mother tongue, in the summer of 2005; • Inspiration for the second half is said to be derived from the uncompleted writings of Pope John Paul II
DEUS CARITAS EST contains almost 16, 000 words in 42 paragraphs first encyclical to be published since the Vatican decided to assert copyright in the official writings of the Pope.
DEUS CARITAS EST INTRODUCTION (1) PART I (2 -18) THE UNITY OF LOVE IN CREATION AND IN SALVATION HISTORY PART II (19 -39) CARITAS - THE PRACTICE OF LOVE BY THE CHURCH AS A “COMMUNITY OF LOVE” CONCLUSION (40 -42)
INTRODUCTION “God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him” (1 Jn 4: 16). These words from the First Letter of John express with remarkable clarity the heart of the Christian faith: the Christian image of God and the resulting image of mankind and its destiny. In the same verse, St John also 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 these words the Christian can express the fundamental decision of his life. ” (1)
Context of the encyclical “In a world where the name of God is sometimes associated with vengeance or even a duty of hatred and violence, this message is both timely and significant. ” (1) Purpose of the encyclical “I wish in my first Encyclical to speak of the love which God lavishes upon us … to call forth in the world renewed energy and commitment in the human response to God's love. ” (1)
The Heart of Christianity is Love (1) “Hear, O Israel: the Lord our God is one Lord, and you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul and with all your might” (Deut 6: 4 -5). “You shall love your neighbour as yourself” (Lev 19: 18). Jesus united this commandment of love for God and for neighbour into a single precept. (Mk 12: 29 -31) Since God has first loved us (cf. 1 Jn 4: 10), love is now no longer a mere “command”; but a response to the gift of love with which God draws near to us.
APPLICATION In the heart below, write the names of those who loved you Share an experience of God’s Love One of your favorite love songs
Learn by Heart “For God so loved the World, that He gave His Only Son, that whoever believes in Him, may not die, but may have eternal life. ” Jn 3, 26 “Jesus Christ loved us and gave his life for us; we too should lay down our lives for our brethren. ” 1 Jn 3, 16 "O God, don't let me die without having fully lived and fully loved. " John Powell
PART I: THE UNITY OF LOVE IN CREATION AND IN SALVATION HISTORY In this section, Pope Benedict reflects on the concepts of eros, agape, and logos, and their relationship with the teachings of Jesus.
Agape and Eros This first half of the encyclical is more philosophical, tracing the meaning of the Greek words for "love". Agape is descending, oblative love in which one gives of oneself to another. Eros is ascending, possessive love which seeks to receive from another.
Agape and Eros eros and agape are both inherently good, but eros risks being downgraded to mere sex if it is not balanced by an element of spiritual Christianity. eros and agape are not distinct kinds of love, but are separate halves of complete love, unified as both a giving and a receiving.
Agape and Eros “Eros and agape—ascending love and descending love— can never be completely separated. ” (7) “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. ” (7)
Agape and Eros An image (of ascending & descending love) Jacob's ladder (cf. Gen 28: 12; Jn 1: 51) Two models Saint Paul, who was borne aloft to the most exalted mysteries of God, and hence, having descended once more, he was able to become all things to all men (cf. 2 Cor 12: 2 -4; 1 Cor 9: 22) Moses, who entered the tabernacle time and again, remaining in dialogue with God, so that when he emerged he could be at the service of his people (7)
APPLICATION From your personal life, describe one experience of eros and of agape and explain the difference and unity Would you promote fashion parade, using female body for ads, free sex – gay marriage, premarital sex? spas, massage centres? What is Child Sexual Abuse? What does purification of eros mean?
Image of God as Love (9 -10) God is One: Dt 6: 4 Creation is his work and is dear to him God is not only object of human love, he is subject who loves man. God loves man! The Prophets, particularly Hosea and Ezekiel, described God's passion for his people using boldly erotic images. Man comes to experience himself as being loved by God “Whom do I have in heaven but you? And there is nothing upon earth that I desire besides you. . . for me it is good to be near God” (Ps 73 : 25, 28)
Image of God as Love (9 -10) God's eros for man is also totally agape. “How can I give you up, O Ephraim! How can I hand you over, O Israel!. . . My heart recoils within me, my compassion grows warm and tender. I will not execute my fierce anger, I will not again destroy Ephraim; for I am God and not man, the Holy One in your midst” (Hos 11: 8 -9). God's passionate love for his people—for humanity—is at the same time a forgiving love. It is a love that leads to union – fusion… (Read Song of Songs, especially 8, 6)
APPLICATION Listen to the Story of the owner of ‘Hot-Pot’ What does the story tell you of God’s personal knowledge and love of you? Read about God’s love in Isaish 43, 1 -8; 49, 15 -17 Memorize: This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. (1 Jn 4, 9)
Man – created to love (11) Man is capable of love… driven by nature to seek another – to become “complete” “Therefore a man leaves his father and his mother and cleaves to his wife and they become one flesh” (Gen 2: 24). Eros is rooted in man's very nature; eros directs man towards marriage, to a bond which is unique and definitive Corresponding to the image of a monotheistic God, Marriage is monogamous.
APPLICATION Read and Discuss the Story of Katie Do you agree that we simply cannot live without love and loving relationships?
Jesus – love of God incarnate (12 -15) Jesus is God’s love in flesh and blood. By contemplating the pierced side of Christ we come to know that “God is love” (1 Jn 4: 8). “It is there that this truth can be contemplated. It is from there that our definition of love must begin. In this contemplation the Christian discovers the path along which his life and love must move. ” (12)
APPLICATION Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends. (Jn 15, 13) But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (Rom 5, 8)
Three parables of love 1. The rich man (cf. Lk 16: 19 -31) about what happens to those who simply ignore the poor 2. The Good Samaritan (cf. Lk 10: 25 -37) Neighbour is no more those dear to me; but anyone who needs me, and whom I can help 3. The Last Judgement (cf. Mt 25: 31 -46), love becomes the criterion for the definitive decision about a human life's worth “As you did it to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to me” (Mt 25: 40).
Love of God and love of neighbour (16 -18) Two questions Can we love God without seeing him? Can love be commanded? Answers: 1. God is not invisible. He has revealed himself in many ways – most of all in Jesus. In Jesus, God has “loved us first”, so now love can blossom as a response within us. 2. Love is no more a commandment. It is a response to the gift of God’s love. It is no longer a sentiment; but a fruit of one’s will becoming one with the will of God.
Part I in Summary Contemplation of God (Sacred heart of Jesus in the Bl. Sacrament) makes me one with Him. I become like him (Ps 34, 5) I begin to have his mind (wisdom), his heart (love) and then I begin to “love one another as he loves”. Fruit of contemplation is compassion. Rom 5, 5
PART II: CARITAS THE PRACTICE OF LOVE BY THE CHURCH AS A “COMMUNITY OF LOVE” This part is based on a report prepared by the Pontifical Council Cor Unum. It considers the charitable activities of the Church as an expression of love
The Church's charitable activity is a manifestation of Trinitarian love (19) The love of God flowing from the pierced heart of Christ is the Holy Spirit. (Cf. Jn 19, 30; 20, 22; 7, 38 -39) “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink… from his heart shall flow streams of life-giving water. ” (Jn 7, 38 -39) The Spirit is also the energy which transforms the heart of the ecclesial community.
Charity is an essential responsibility of the Church (20 -25) “They devoted themselves to the teaching of the apostles and to the communal life, to the breaking of the bread and to the prayers. ” (Acts 2, 42) Church's three-fold responsibility: proclaiming the word of God (kerygma-martyria), celebrating the sacraments (leitourgia), and exercising the ministry of charity (diakonia).
Charity is an essential responsibility of the Church (20 -25) “All who believed were together and had all things in common; and they sold their possessions and goods and distributed them to all, as any had need” (Acts 2: 44 -5) “The exercise of charity … is as essential to her as the ministry of the sacraments and preaching of the Gospel. ” (22)
Charity is an essential responsibility of the Church (20 -25) Examples from Saints: Justin Martyr († c. 155) Tertullian († after 220) Ignatius of Antioch († c. 117) Deacon Lawrence († 258). “Lawrence has always remained present in the Church's memory as a great exponent of ecclesial charity” (23)
APPLICATION What are the implications of the assertion: charity is “an indispensable expression” of Church’s very being? The Church cannot neglect the service of charity any more than she can neglect the Sacraments and the Word. (22) Memorize: “This is how all will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another. “ (Jn 13, 35)
Justice and Charity (26 -30) social justice is the primary responsibility of politics and the laity the church’s role is to inform the debate on social justice with reason guided by faith Her main social activity, however, should be directed towards charity
The distinctiveness of the Church's charitable activity (31) what are the essential elements of Christian and ecclesial charity? 1. the simple response to immediate needs and specific situations: feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, caring for and healing the sick, visiting those in prison, etc. done with professional competence and heartfelt concern
The distinctiveness of the Church's charitable activity (31) what are the essential elements of Christian and ecclesial charity? 2. independent of parties & ideologies (especially Marxism) “The Christian's program — the program of the Good Samaritan, the program of Jesus— is “a heart which sees. ” (31)
The distinctiveness of the Church's charitable activity (31) what are the essential elements of Christian and ecclesial charity? 3. Charity cannot be used for engaging in proselytism. “Love is free; it is not practised as a way of achieving other ends. But this does not mean that charitable activity must somehow leave God and Christ aside. ” (31)
APPLICATION Should Church enter into Politics? Should it ‘fight’ for justice (liberation theology) Should the Laity play a part in State Politics? Can the Laity form Christian Parties? What does ‘a heart that sees’ mean?
Who is responsible for Church's charitable activity (32) The Whole Church The Bishop In the rite of Episcopal ordination, he promises expressly to be, in the Lord's name, welcoming and merciful to the poor and to all those in need of consolation and assistance (32)
Personnel carrying out Church's charitable activity (33 -39) Charity workers should have a deep prayer life, and be uninfluenced by party and ideology. “the love of Christ urges us on” (2 Cor 5: 14). They should be filled with humility and with Faith, Hope and Love
Personnel carrying out Church's charitable activity (33 -39) HOPE is practised through the virtue of patience, which continues to do good even in the face of apparent failure, and through the virtue of humility, which accepts God's mystery and trusts him even at times of darkness. (39)
Personnel carrying out Church's charitable activity (33 -39) FAITH tells us that God has given his Son for our sakes and gives us the victorious certainty that it is really true: God is love! It thus transforms our impatience and our doubts into the sure hope that God holds the world in his hands and that, in spite of all darkness he ultimately triumphs in glory.
Personnel carrying out Church's charitable activity (33 -39) Faith… gives rise to love. LOVE is the light— and in the end, the only light— that can always illuminate a world grown dim and give us the courage needed to keep living and working. (39)
THE INVITATION “Love is possible, and we are able to practise it because we are created in the image of God. To experience love and in this way to cause the light of God to enter into the world— this is the invitation I would like to extend with the present Encyclical. ” (39)
CONCLUSION (40 -42) The three concluding paragraphs consider the example of the saints, ending with a prayer to the Virgin Mary
Conclusion (41) Examples from Saints: Martin of Tours († 397) the entire monastic movement, from its origins with St Anthony the Abbot († 356 ) Francis of Assisi, Ignatius of Loyola, John of God, Camillus of Lellis, Vincent de Paul, Louise de Marillac, Giuseppe Cottolengo, John Bosco, Luigi Orione, Teresa of Calcutta
APPLICATION Explain: “In the saints one thing becomes clear: those who draw near to God do not withdraw from men, but rather become truly close to them. ” (41) Make a study of the life of one of the saints mentioned by the Pope and present it in the class Read “Treatise on the Love of God” by St. Francis de Sales, the Doctor of Love
Conclusion (41 -42) Outstanding among the saints is Mary, Mother of the Lord and mirror of all holiness “My soul magnifies the Lord” (Lk 1: 46) The Lowly Handmaid, does not carry out her own projects, but places herself completely at the disposal of God's initiatives. a woman of hope she believes in God's promises
Conclusion (40 -42) Outstanding among the saints is Mary, Mother of the Lord and mirror of all holiness She speaks and thinks with the Word of God; the Word of God becomes her word, and her word issues from the Word of God. Mary is a woman who loves. And so she is there at Cana, Calvary and Cenacle
Conclusion (40 -42) Holy Mary, Mother of God, you have given the world its true light, Jesus, your Son – the Son of God. You abandoned yourself completely to God's call and thus became a wellspring of the goodness which flows forth from him. Show us Jesus. Lead us to him. Teach us to know and love him, so that we too can become capable of true love and be fountains of living water in the midst of a thirsting world.
Personal Project “Be you Compassionate as your Heavenly Father is Compassionate” (Lk 6: 36)
“Be Compassionate Even As Your Father Is Compassionate” (Lk 6: 36) Jesus, Meek and Humble of Heart, Make my heart like unto thine "Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy. " (Mt 5: 7)
The Church teaches us to be charitable in various ways: The Corporal Works of Mercy 1. Feed the hungry. 2. Give drink to the thirsty. 3. Clothe naked. 4. Shelter the homeless. 5. Comfort the imprisoned. 6. Visit the sick. 7. Bury the dead.
The Church teaches us to be charitable in various ways: The Spiritual Works of Mercy 1. Admonish sinners 2. Instruct the uninformed. 3. Counsel the doubtful. 4. Comfort the sorrowful. 5. Be patient with those in error. 6. Forgive offenses. 7. Pray for the living and the dead.
Three decisions I make … “How can I be a ‘fountain of living water, in the midst of a thirsting world”? Heart of Jesus (2) burning with love for me Inflame my heart (2) with love (2) for thee (for the poor…)
DEUS CARITAS EST - GOD IS LOVE THE END Presented by Fr. James Mathew Bandel Church