I’m reading Pope Benedict’s encyclical “Caritas in Veritate” –Charity in Truth. Not easy going, because he’s trying to address something that’s not easy going–the situation of our world today.
The pope begins with love, not intimate, confined love, but love engaged with truth. A love found in Jesus, God’s gift made flesh, who engaged his world and gave his life to raise it up.
Jesus calls us to love our world and work for its development.
“Charity in truth, to which Jesus Christ bore witness by his earthly life and especially by his death and resurrection, is the principal driving force behind the authentic development of every person and of all humanity. Love — caritas — is an extraordinary force which leads people to opt for courageous and generous engagement in the field of justice and peace.
It is a force that has its origin in God, Eternal Love and Absolute Truth…To defend the truth, to articulate it with humility and conviction, and to bear witness to it in life are therefore exacting and indispensable forms of charity.” (1)
So love calls us to more than an intimate relationship with friends, family or small groups, the pope says; it must be part of our personal relationship with God, and the “macro-relationships” of society, the economy and politics.
By its nature, love desires someone’s good and takes effective steps to secure it. Besides the good of individuals, “there is the good that is linked to living in society: the common good.
We must desire the good of “the earthly city,” not just through respect for rights and duties, but also by offering it gifts of “gratuitousness, mercy and communion.” We must love the world we live in.
Tight reasoning, long sentences, much content. The subject is large, like the world itself. Yet, as the pope says, love’s “exacting” task is to take it on.