Fall 2006

The Unity of Love and the Face of Man: An Invitation to Read Deus caritas est

Angelo Scola

"Love is one. Eros and agape cannot be set against each other."

In his first encyclical, Benedict XVI, who served the Church as a cardinal for more than two decades in the burdensome task of safeguarding truth, tackles the theme of love—a choice that has probably surprised quite a number of people. It will have been no surprise, however, to anyone who remembers the eucharistic celebration of the Day of Forgiveness on the first Sunday of Lent in the Great Jubilee Year 2000. On that occasion, as a stirring echo of the tender embrace with which John Paul II, already quite ill, was wrapping up the celebrated crucifix of St. Marcellinus, there rang out the prayer spoken at the Altar of Confession by the then- Cardinal Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith: “Let us pray that each one of us, recognizing that at times even men of the Church have resorted to un-Christian methods in the nonetheless obligatory task of defending the truth, is able to imitate the Lord Jesus in his meekness and humility of heart.” In the meek and humble Heart of the Lord Jesus—the Heart ablaze with love, as the wisdom of tradition has taught us to invoke him—is found the full manifestation of the truth of God and man, the center of our faith: Truth-Love.

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