In this writing, I maybe not try to make a summary of The Encyclical Letter of The Supreme Pontiff Benedict XVI titled “Deus Caritas Est”. However, I maybe just try to make a conclusion based from the letter itself because I just want to let the letter itself be what it is to be, so the moral and philosophical meaning contained in it preserves, as what it is. The decision I made because I believe everyone has his or her own perception containing this beloved letter, and everyone had his or her side of perspectives about this letter and what the meaning in it. To make a summary from this letter I believe not a significant idea because to me, every single word or even every single alphabet in this letter were connected significantly as a meaning and if one word or alphabet were missing, the meaning was lost forever. Instead, I will make a conclusion from this beloved letter base from my point of view, base from my thought and base from how I perceive this letter. By this, I try to avoid any observer bias I made if I made any summary from this letter. And by made a conclusion, I was more subjective in defining this beloved letter from my point of view even if it try to made myself more objective in my way of thinking.
So, please enjoy my writing and my thought about this beloved letter titled “Deus Caritas Est”, dear reader. I made this not because of this is my college paper, or I get a reward in it, but I think by write this I made a difference in the world that lately filled with hatred by the name of God. As the letter address it that …..”The name of God is sometimes associated with vengeance or even the duty of hatred and violence”. At least I can make a difference by write this and post it so you dear reader can read this, read the letter itself and spread the word of love toward the world, a humble dream that I believe will came true if we try.
If any of my word seems make you dear reader, a little offended, please accept my humble apologies and feel free to say it to me. I am all open to any feedback about my writing or any word in it because I still an unfinished human with so many things to be study in the future. There are still so many skies above me and so many grounds below me that said that even if I am the most perfect being in the known and unknown universe, I am still a creation of The Most High. Which mean, there always someone somewhere that surpass me in all of mine. So, I humbly cede to any of the comment, suggestion, critic, feedback, or anything to keep me improved and at least be helpful to anyone, or becoming the light of the world, just like our role model, Jesus had done.
So dear reader, please enjoy my writing. Moreover, may the grace, glory, mercy, peace, and love of The Lord God always be with us all the time.
I also posted this writing in my personal Blog atziluth-atlantis.blogdrive.com and my Friendster Blog “An Exile Angel Journal”. Hope it can be a beautiful things to share and read.
“God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him” (1 John 4 : 16). These words open the encyclical letter of “Deus Caritas Est” made by Pope Benedict XVI as his first encyclical letter since he became a Pontificate of The Church. The theme of the encyclical letter is quite simple, its all about love. But the theme also were quite heavy if we want to thought more carefully because love had a great number of definition and meaning and also a great number of perspective. Love itself is an abstract concept, and I believe that everyone in the known universe had his or her definition and meaning concerning the word of love.
“God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him” (1 John 4 : 16 [taken from Thompson Chain Reference Bible translation]). By this word, we may perceive that love was coming from God and God alone as the essence of love. As God is The True Originator of all kind, God is the originator of love as we see today and He the true love and this is proved by His love toward humanity with His planning of salvation. He loved the world He created so much so He even sent His own Son to save the world from sin as it is written “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believe in Him shall not perish but have eternal life” (John 3 : 16 [Thompson Chain Reference Bible translation]). So, as God has gave His love to the world, we are encourage to follow the role and love of Christ and thus, love each other.
The word of love itself has many different meaning and many different parts. The letter also stated many kind of love, like love of the country, love of one’s profession, and love between friend, love between parent and children, love between neighbor, love of work, love of God, and many more. However, one meaning of love does stand up from the other love, that is love between man and women, when the body and soul were inseparably joined and humankind glimpse an apparently irresistible promise of happiness. Of course, this glimpse of an apparently irresistible promise of happiness were maybe just an illusion but this love between man and women has become the epitome of love were all other kind of love fade away in comparison. When we talking about love today, many will quickly associated it with the love of man and women, and would like to start and end the discussion from that point of view. Therefore, as the letter stated, the question arise is “are love as we speak is a single reality with many manifestation? Are all these form of love is basically one so that love with its many and varied manifestations, is ultimately a single reality, or we merely using the same word to designate totally different realities?
CONCERNING EROS & AGAPE
First, we must admit that the love between man and women were neither planned nor willed but somehow imposes itself upon human being so it like a primordial instinct to us. I wrote this because except for the deviant, most of man will attracted by women and vice versa. Every man eyes instantly will notice if there is a woman around (specially a good and beautiful woman) and the same goes for woman as well. It is like our instinct of preserving our gene, to mate with someone of different sexes, so our reproduction of our gene were guarantee.
The love between man and women itself were called Eros in ancient Greek. With Philia and Agape, Eros becoming one of the word for love in ancient Greek and we must not that the Greek Old Testament only use it twice while the New Testament prefer Agape rather than Eros as the word describing love. As for Philia, it is used with added depth meaning to describe the relation between Jesus and His disciple due to the meaning of Philia as the love of friendship. The tendency of avoiding Eros as the term of love in Christian book were based from a new vision of love expressed through the word Agape, to point something about the more depth Christian understanding about love. Of course, this decision also made quite a critic from many begin in the Enlightment Age and goes on until this day that Christian degenerates the meaning of Eros into the negative meaning of love, and add bitterness in the joy, which is a divine gift from our Creator.
The question is, did Christian destroy Eros, mutilated it and degenerated it into a negative side effect? I don’t think so. As we progress, The Greek saw Eros as an intoxication, a divine madness that overpowering mankind, tear it away from mankind finite existence and taste the glimpse of supreme happiness. Virgil state that “Love conquers all (omnia vincit amor) which is true because when somebody is in love, he or she forgot everything else and all power in this world appear as a secondary to love. During the course of history, these attitudes appear and found its expression in fertility based religion were Eros celebrated as divine powers were people have a fellowship with the divine. The procedure of this fertility-based religion is by employing the so-called “sacred intercourse” by using the priestess as an agent of the divine to have a fellowship with the divine.
The Old Testament clearly opposed this kind of religion and combated it as a perversion of religion. However, the point is not about rejected Eros or throws it away. The meaning of Eros that was using by fertility-based religion simply degenerated the true meaning of Eros itself. By employing the priestess as a mere, object of sexual intercourse to get the so-called “divine intoxication” and called it Eros, the fertility-based religion simply put the Eros as a fall and degradation of human and love itself. Therefore, today, the word of Eros simply pointed to lust instead of love and by this word, human became such a commodity of lust. Eros was corrupted and reduced plainly just a simply pure lustful sex, not as something that can resemble the true meaning of it as the word describing love.
The true meaning of Eros was far beyond it, not just a simply lustful sex, but as one of the word for describing love. Eros was seen in the letter as a journey toward Agape. It is very logical to stated that we have to know about Eros if we want to know about Agape because the two is inseparable and hold it own meaning as a whole. The Eros seen it here not as a lustful sex or some kind of weird sandwich the people today defining it, but as some kind of passion to find the fountain of love, the endless pursuit of human toward and endless happiness. I’m not talking about sex, or lust or some kind of it, but a desire to find the love of God and fill the body and soul in it. As we see, the true meaning of “divine intoxication” is not in the practice of “sacred intercourse” but in the fellowship with the divine, and by practice it as a sacred intercourse, the fertility-based religion has degenerated the whole meaning of Eros into one single simply meaning still use today, which is sex. What we need to satisfy The Eros is not the “sacred intercourse” nor any of the sexual thingy offered by many type of prostitution and lust, but the fellowship with the divine because Eros true meaning is lies in the never ending journey of seeking the true source fountain of love, that is God. Moreover, if we found that fountain and drink from it, we could became the source were the love of God spring from us.
Everyone who seek to satisfy Eros by “divine intoxication” in the practice of “sacred intercourse”, prostitution or any lust-based type of sexual thingy will found themselves unsatisfied and ask for more and more, but as the same time more and more unsatisfied. As Jesus stated, “everyone who drink this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drink the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life” (John 4 : 13 – 14). It is mean that by seeking and drink the water of love from God, our Eros will be satisfied. As our Eros were satisfied, we begin not to seek for ourselves but to gave what we have to other, thus proceeding to our Agape phase and by giving the love we had inside, we fulfill our need for Agape. However, if we always gave our love toward other, the stock of love we had deep inside will be fewer and fewer. Therefore, we need to replenish it by using our Eros phase toward the infinite source of love, which is our relationship with God.
God itself were love, as we see that God Eros toward humanity were completely Agape. As it is stated by the prophet Hosea that God’s love is a love that forgive, that God punish Israel for their adultery but in the same time forgive them and planned for their restoration (as it stated in the last chapter of Hosea promised for Israel’s Restoration). Eros is somehow rooted into man’s very nature and by the creation standpoint, Eros direct man toward marriage so man and women can became “one flesh” so completely represent the essence of humanity.
CHARITY AS A PRACTICE OF LOVE
Saint Augustine wrote, “If you see Charity, you see Trinity”, which is true because by the charity of God, we can now had a chance to taste the divine beauty of reconciliation with God by His salvation plan. God’s charity is feeling by us with the descending of God himself in a man called Jesus Christ in this world. Moreover, to save us from the kingdom of Death and sin, God gave himself as a true unblemished sacrifice, pure and equal so Death let loose of its grips from us. And because Jesus Christ is a Word of God or god himself, He cannot be hold by The Death so He arise in the third day, proving that he is God itself in the form of a man. So, this story of salvation became prove of God’s Charity toward humankind.
Charities itself were one of prove and practice of love. I mean here is not just an almsgiving or helping people in the time of disaster, but the more broadened meaning of sharing. Charities were criticized as the way for some rich people or prosperous society to shirk their obligation to work for justice and a means of soothing their consciences, while preserving their own status and robbing the poor of their rights. So most Marxist argue that poor people don’t need charity but justice, and it’s better to made a social structure that no longer have to depend on charity but to equal share of the world’s goods.
I have to admit that some of this is true, that some of the rich view charity just like that and shirk their obligation to work for justice and a means of soothing their consciences, while preserving their own status and robbing the poor of their rights. However, we have to admit that we like to simplified most of the true meaning of things, and only cling to the practical meaning of that things, which is happened to the meaning of charity. Finally, charities were seeing not from its true meaning but from our practical point of view as almsgiving, though, we should not see it from there.
Charities itself were far broader than just another almsgiving as we see in the Holy Scripture. In Acts of The Apostles, charity was not just another almsgiving but in sharing all the things in their fellowship as seen in the first believer congregation (Acts 2 : 42 – 47 and Acts 4 : 23 – 37). They were glad in every condition, have a sincere heart, praising God, and enjoying the favor of all the people. This is reflected more in Paul Letter toward the believer, which they were encourage to became one in mind and spirit as Christ spiritual bodies. Charity here is not almsgiving but sharing, sharing for the Message of God, the Word of God, and the most important things, the Love of God. By sharing our material, we share our material gift from God, by sharing our joyful life, we share our joy from God, by sharing our wisdom, we share the wisdom granted from God, and so fort. This is what I said as the true meaning of charity. Because I believe that, everyone has its own way of charity and its own contribution in charity. Even by writing this, I made myself a charity by giving the message of love toward other who read it.
We also must realize that charity is not for our own sake, or glorification of ourselves. We can’t make sure our path to heaven are cleared because or how often we charity, we can’t make sure that our place in heaven were existed because of how much we spend on our charities because salvation only came from Him who is forever truth, Jesus Christ as the way toward Father. However, charity itself were necessary as prove of our love, to share our love toward others as we are the sons of God, by believing in His Son Jesus Christ. We were brought to eternal life freely by the love of God proved by His Charity toward us. So why us that has been save freely by God not display the similarity as a sons of God by our own kind of charity and sharing? As we are the sons of God and the light of the world, it is necessity for us to shine and do just as God has done to us and just like our role model, Jesus Christ had done.
There is an important conclusion we can have from the beloved encyclical letter, that love came from God, free without a charge and God gave it to humankind as a gift from God to His beloved. As Solomon stated in his infamous Song of Song, the love of God is endless toward human as his shulamite. It is how we dealt with it that count, are we rejected it saying we are unsaved, are we take it just for our selves as our Eros satisfication, or are we take it and share it as our gratitude to the endless love God gave to us and so, begin the cycle of Eros and Agape phase in us . The source from God is endless and overflowing, it is how we manage it that count what kind of human we are. besides, being a Christian is not by any mean an ethic, or a hereditary. It is necessity for me to say that being a Christian is a gift and a choi ce from God.
This Essay were made based from The Encyclical Letter of The Supreme Pontiff Benedict XVI titled "Deus Caritas Est"
|Leave a Comment:|