Truth is Love 12 September, 2006
After a successful Summer School devoted to Shakespeare under the umbrella of our new company ResSource, along with our first practical art classes and a course on Theology of the Body, we are beginning to plan a whole series of events for next year. Please keep an eye on our sister web-site (RESSOURCE) and also the ‘EVENTS and conversation’ pages, both accessible from the left of the screen, for details over the next few months.
Cardinal Renato Martino recently gave a helpful summary of the Pope’s first encyclical, which is proving to be foundational in this pontificate. He wrote: ‘Truth draws men together because it frees them from individual opinions. Love draws men together because it makes them overcome individual egoisms. The announcement of Christianity is that Truth is Love. Therefore Christianity is the religion of the communion and the unity of human kind … Benedict XVI writes: “God is the absolute and ultimate source of all being; but this universal principle of creation – the Logos, primordial reason – is at the same time a lover with all the passion of a true love” (No. 10).’
He goes on: ‘The metaphysical Principle looked upon man and loved him. God is truth, thus our world and our life have meaning. Christian truth, however, does not just give life an architectonic, abstract meaning. Christian truth, also and foremost, gives life an existential meaning, a vital experience of meaning. God is truth that comes toward us, that speaks to us, that meets us. He is truth as an event of love. Otherwise life would reflect an abstract, and therefore insipid, truth and love would be blind and reduced to mere passion…
‘Loving the world and man, God entrusts the world and man to humanity itself, not as a collection of “things” but as a gift and a duty, as a task to accomplish together. When he puts us in our own hands as a duty to ourselves, God asks us to help him in the fulfillment of creation and salvation at every level: spiritual and eternal, human and historical … In Jesus, the incarnated God unites with each man and “we enter into the very dynamic of his self-giving” (No. 13). The incarnation of God in Jesus is not just “giving,” but “self-giving.” Christ draws us to him by giving himself. Since then the only way to unite is through self-giving. The marriage between God and Israel, as the marriage between Christ and the Church and the marriage between man and woman, has a strong social dimension. We can truly say that society is built on love.
‘”Love of God and love of neighbor,” says the Holy Father, are connected: “If I have no contact whatsoever with God in my life, then I cannot see in the other anything more than the other, and I am incapable of seeing in him the image of God. But if in my life I fail completely to heed others, solely out of a desire to be ‘devout’ and to perform my ‘religious duties,’ then my relationship with God will also grow arid” (No. 18).
These three instances of charity that are illustrated by the encyclical – creation as an act of love, marriage and fidelity as a social fact, the love of God and the love of neighbor bound by an unbreakable bond – are the theological foundation of the prodigious unifying force of the Christian faith and of its tension to break all the barriers that separate men from one another. In this sense charity founds the community and urges the realization of justice.’ See Zenit 2006-08-26 for the full text.
[Picture credit: Icon of the Transfiguration is borrowed from from www.virtualmuseum.ca.]