Sunday, September 12, 2010

God is Love

This morning, I re-read sections 3 - 11 of Pope Benedict's first encyclical, Deus Caritas Est - God is Love. I'm currently reading St. Teresa of Avila's autobigraphy and I find that St. Teresa's description of the relationship between her soul and God is written in the language of eros - at least that's what it sounds like to me. Recently, someone reminded me that Pope Benedict wrote about eros in his first encyclical. I re-read the relevant sections of the encyclical this morning - beautiful stuff in there. Here are just a few short excerpts:

"True, eros tends to rise 'in ecstasy' towards the Divine, to lead us beyond ourselves; yet for this very reason it calls for a path of ascent, renunciation, purification and healing."

"The one God in whom Israel believes...loves with a personal love. His love, moreover, is an elective love: among all the nations he chooses Israel and loves her—but he does so precisely with a view to healing the whole human race. God loves, and his love may certainly be called eros, yet it is also totally agape."

"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. Eros is thus supremely ennobled, yet at the same time it is so purified as to become one with agape."

I'm grateful for these reminders that God is not opposed to eros; rather, it is His gift to us, a means of drawing closer to Him through purification, and growth in maturity.

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