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Thursday, 26 March 2015

Knowledge of Divine Things Twenty-Six Caritas in Veritate One

I cannot do justice to the end of Fides et Ratio, but you all can read it yourselves. I want to move on to Caritas in Veritate, because of circumstances with time.

Again, I may not have the Internet much longer....

The entire theme of the then Pope Benedict XVI's encyclical is that love is in truth an truth is in love.

Simple, but not really.

What this encyclical has to do with faith and reason will become clear as I move along in the text.

Here is part of the preamble or introduction.

All people feel the interior impulse to love authentically: love and truth never abandon them completely, because these are the vocation planted by God in the heart and mind of every human person. The search for love and truth is purified and liberated by Jesus Christ from the impoverishment that our humanity brings to it, and he reveals to us in all its fullness the initiative of love and the plan for true life that God has prepared for us. 

Typical Benedict, is that he gets to the pith of the matter immediately. All of us want love and all of us deep down inside, as humans, wnat truth. But this desire and journey have to be purified, (yes! perfection again) and freed by the intiative and salvation which comes through Christ alone.

In Christ, charity in truth becomes the Face of his Person, a vocation for us to love our brothers and sisters in the truth of his plan. Indeed, he himself is the Truth (cf. Jn 14:6).

What a packed sentence: only in Christ can we love first Him, as a Person, and then all others. Christ is truth.

This seeking is an intellectual pursuit, btw, and not merely emotional. In fact, when searching for the Truth, Who is a Person, we must be prepared for a ruthlessness of seeing ourselves as we really are.

Charity is love in Christ, not some gooey emotional feeling. Remember, love is in the will.

2. Charity is at the heart of the Church's social doctrine. Every responsibility and every commitment spelt out by that doctrine is derived from charity which, according to the teaching of Jesus, is the synthesis of the entire Law (cf. Mt 22:36- 40). It gives real substance to the personal relationship with God and with neighbour; it is the principle not only of micro-relationships (with friends, with family members or within small groups) but also of macro-relationships (social, economic and political ones). For the Church, instructed by the Gospel, charity is everything because, as Saint John teaches (cf. 1 Jn 4:8, 16) and as I recalled in my first Encyclical Letter, “God is love” (Deus Caritas Est): everything has its origin in God's love, everything is shaped by it, everything is directed towards it. Love is God's greatest gift to humanity, it is his promise and our hope.

Two years ago, I walked you through Deus Caritas Est. Some of you may have time to go back and review those posts.

All commitment comes from charity. All personal relationships which are good and true are based on charity.  We start with the small groups around us and spread out this detached love to all.

Love orders all relationships, and is the great gift of God. Yes, we receive faith and hope through God's love for us. But, because this love is in the will, one must always see it as connected with truth, even in the market place. There is, simply, no real charity without truth. As the Pope Emeritus points out here, relativism destroys charity, as it becomes disconnected with truth.

I am aware of the ways in which charity has been and continues to be misconstrued and emptied of meaning, with the consequent risk of being misinterpreted, detached from ethical living and, in any event, undervalued. In the social, juridical, cultural, political and economic fields — the contexts, in other words, that are most exposed to this danger — it is easily dismissed as irrelevant for interpreting and giving direction to moral responsibility. Hence the need to link charity with truth not only in the sequence, pointed out by Saint Paul, of veritas in caritate (Eph 4:15), but also in the inverse and complementary sequence of caritas in veritate. Truth needs to be sought, found and expressed within the “economy” of charity, but charity in its turn needs to be understood, confirmed and practised in the light of truth. In this way, not only do we do a service to charity enlightened by truth, but we also help give credibility to truth, demonstrating its persuasive and authenticating power in the practical setting of social living. This is a matter of no small account today, in a social and cultural context which relativizes truth, often paying little heed to it and showing increasing reluctance to acknowledge its existence.

to be continued...