Friday, January 27, 2006

Back to Basics


A secretary for the CDF, Cardinal Amato, said that the Holy Father's first Encyclical is an "invitation to return to the basics of Christianity." This does not mean that we throw out 2,000 years of Tradition, but we rather refocus our lense so that we can see the beauty of that Tradition all the more clear.

This is what the second part of the Encyclical does by describing the response of the Church to God's charity through inventing hospitals, universities, food banks, and all the other organized charitable services. The Pope brings out an interesting point. He says that "Love thus needs to be organized if it is to be an ordered service to the community" (no. 20).

There are two important points illustrated here. First, God is love- and that is a powerful statement. His "fire and brimstone" has been crucified. His justice has been satisfied when His only Son offered Himself in our place. All that is left is His Love. A major implication of that is the "fire and brimstone", "doom and gloom" and "foam mouth preaching" does not adequatly represent who God is.

Second, Love is organized. It does not react to our feelings or sediments. We should not be charitable only when we feel like it, but all the time. Also, we should not practice charity isolated, but as a community. For we can do more together than alone. This is truly fitting for children of the one loving Father.

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