Father Cantalamessa on Seeking and Giving Love
Pontifical Household Preacher Comments on Sunday's Readings
ROME, JAN. 28, 2007 (Zenit) - Here is a translation of a commentary by the Pontifical Household preacher, Capuchin Father Raniero Cantalamessa, on the readings from this Sunday's liturgy.
* * *
Unless you have charity...
Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Jeremiah 1:4-5, 17-19; 1 Corinthians 12:31-13:13; Luke 4:21-30
This Sunday's Gospel narrates the rejection Jesus meets at Nazareth, his hometown, the first time he returns after beginning his public ministry. This rejection elicits the famous remark, "No prophet is accepted in his own country."
We commented on Mark's account of this episode last year; we can therefore focus our attention on the second reading where we find a very important message. This is Paul's celebrated hymn to charity. Charity is the religious term for love. This is, then, a hymn to love, perhaps the most celebrated and sublime ever written.
When Christianity appeared on the world's stage, love had already employed various singers. The most illustrious was Plato who wrote an entire treatise on it. The common name for love at that time was "eros" (this is where we get "erotic" and "eroticism" from).
Christianity sensed that this passionate and desirous love was not adequate to express the novelty of the biblical concept. For this reason it avoided the term "eros" and substituted that of "agape," which could be translated as "spiritual love" or "charity" -- although the latter term has come to acquire a too restricted meaning: doing charity, works of charity.
The difference between "eros" and "agape" is this. Desirous or erotic love is exclusive; it is consummated between two persons; the interference of a third person would mean its destruction, its betrayal. Sometimes the birth of a child can throw this kind of love into a crisis.
The giving type of love, "agape," on the contrary embraces everyone, no one can be excluded, not even enemies. The classical formula of "eros" is pronounced by Violetta in Verdi's opera "La Traviata": "Love me, Alfredo. Love me as much as I love you."
The classical formula of "agape" is that of Jesus who says: "As I have loved you, love one another." This latter is a love that is meant to circulate, to expand.
Another difference is this. Erotic love, in the more typical form of "falling in love," does not last long, or it lasts only by changing its object, that is, by falling in love with different people successively. Of charity, however, St. Paul says that it "remains," indeed it is the only thing that remains in eternity, even after faith and hope have ceased.
But between these two loves -- that of seeking and that of giving -- there is not separation and contraposition, but rather development and growth.
"Eros" is the point of departure for us and "agape" is the point of arrival. Between them there is room for a whole education and growth in love. Let us take the most common case which is love between two persons.
In the love between a husband and wife "eros" prevails at the beginning, attraction, reciprocal desire, the conquering of the other, and so a certain egoism. If this love does not make an effort to enrich itself along the way with a new dimension, one of gratuity, of reciprocal tenderness, of a capacity to forget oneself for the other, and to project itself into children, we all know how it will end.
Paul's message is quite relevant today. The entertainment and advertising worlds seem bent on inculcating in young people that love is reducible to "eros" and that "eros" is reducible to sex. Life is presented as a continual idol in a world where everything is beautiful, young, and healthy; where there is no growing old, no sickness, and everyone can spend as much as they want.
But this is a colossal lie that generates unrealistic expectations, which, once they are not met, provoke frustration, rebellion against family and society, and often open the door to crime. The word of God makes it such that the critical sense in people is not altogether extinguished when this illusory vision of life is daily proposed to them.
http://www.catholic.org CA, US
Catholic Online - Publisher, 661 869-1000
Cantalamessa, Giving, Love, Family, Liturgy
More Catholic PRWire
Showing 1 - 50 of 4,718
A Recession Antidote
Monaco & The Vatican: Monaco's Grace Kelly Exhibit to Rome--A Review of Monegasque-Holy See Diplomatic History
Dna. Maria St. Catherine Sharpe, t.o.s.m., T.O.SS.T.
A Royal Betrayal: Catholic Monaco Liberalizes Abortion
Dna. Maria St.Catherine De Grace Sharpe, t.o.s.m., T.O.SS.T.
Embrace every moment as sacred time
Mary Regina Morrell
Letting go is simple wisdom with divine potential
Mary Regina Morrell
Father Lombardi's Address on Catholic Media
Pope's Words to Pontifical Latin American College
Prelate: Genetics Needs a Conscience
State Aid for Catholic Schools: Help or Hindrance?
Scorsese Planning Movie on Japanese Martyrs
2 Nuns Kidnapped in Kenya Set Free
Holy See-Israel Negotiation Moves Forward
Franchising to Evangelize
Catholics Decry Anti-Christianity in Israel
Pope and Gordon Brown Meet About Development Aid
Pontiff Backs Latin America's Continental Mission
Cardinal Warns Against Anti-Catholic Education
Three words to a deeper faith
Relections for Lent 2009
Wisdom lies beyond the surface of life
Mary Regina Morrell
World Food Program Director on Lent
Pope's Lenten Message for 2009
Keeping a Lid on Permissiveness
Glimpse of Me
The 3 stages of life
Sex and the Married Woman
A Catholic Woman Returns to the Church
Modernity & Morality
Just a Minute
Catholic identity ... triumphant reemergence!
Edging God Out
Burying a St. Joseph Statue
George Bush Speaks on Papal Visit
Sometimes moving forward means moving the canoe
Mary Regina Morrell
Easter... A Way of Life
Papal initiative...peace and harmony!
Proclaim the mysteries of the Resurrection!
Jerusalem Patriarch's Easter Message
Good Friday Sermon of Father Cantalamessa
Papal Address at the End of the Way of the Cross
Cardinal Zen's Meditations for Via Crucis
Interview With Vatican Aide on Jewish-Catholic Relations
Pope Benedict XVI On the Easter Triduum
by Catholic Online
- 'Living Lent': Monday of the Fourth Week of Lent - Day 27
- St. Margaret Clitherow: Saint of the Day for Sunday, March 26, 2017
- Daily Reading for Sunday, March 26th, 2017 HD Video
- Daily Reading for Tuesday, March 28th, 2017 HD Video
- 'Living Lent': Saturday of the Third Week of Lent - Day 25
- Daily Readings for Sunday, March 26, 2017
- 'Living Lent': Sunday of the Fourth Week of Lent - Day 26
- Daily Reading for Monday, March 27th, 2017 HD
- Adorable girl captured stealing Pope Francis' hat in hilarious footage HD
- Cause of cancer detected from unexpected and unpreventable element HD
- Daily Reading for Saturday, March 25th, 2017 HD
Slow Burning Virtual Prayer Candle
Your contribution helps to maintain this corner of Catholic ... @ $11.25