The Vocation of Love
We must return to God in order to become fully human
In 1981, thirty-three papal audience addresses entitled, On the Original Unity of Man and Woman was published. Pope John Paul II based those talks on the Book of Genesis. We, too, shall start with the first book of the Bible.
One verse from the Book of Genesis will serve as the means for answering a predominant question raised by people today: "Who am I?" The verse reads: "God created man in his image, in the divine image, he created him; male and female he created them" (Gen 1:27). [NOTE: The semi-colon (;) in the citation indicates a pause, not a separation between or a disconnection of two integrated realities: human nature and human sexuality.]
The first section of the verse is of the objective order. It defines "man" (human nature) as the image of a Pure-Spirit Creator: "[God] breathed [spirit] into his nostrils, and so man became a living being" (Gn 2:7).
"Man has within him the breath of God. He is capable of relating to God: he can pass beyond material creation. He is unique. He stands in the sight of God. It is important to see this special creation by God. This gives man reverence for himself and for others. By God's breath, he sees that he is not just a combination of biological building blocks, but a personal conception of God" (Pope Benedict XVI).
The second section of the verse is of the subjective order: "male and female he created them" (Gn 1:27). That account identifies two complementary spirit-beings created for lived love-relationships. "Man is created with a need for others, so he may pass beyond his own limits. He needs to be completed. He is not made to be alone-that is not good for him - but is made to turn toward someone else. He must look for himself in the other person and find himself in him" (Pope Benedict XVI).
Thus, within the pre-existing whole of human nature, the Pure-Spirit Creator established a communion of persons, each one of whom is a divine image of Trinitarian love: "Let us make man in our image, after our likeness; male and female he created them" (Gn 1:27).
For a Christian to seek an answer to the "Who am I?" question, he or she must start with the God of Creation: "God is the beginning; God is the origin. All things come from the Creator-Spirit, from the Creator-God" (Pope Benedict XVI).
The Catechism of the Catholic Church puts it this way: "Nothing exists that does not owe its existence to God the Creator. The world began when God's word drew it out of nothingness; all existent beings, all of nature, and all human history are rooted in this principal event, the very genesis by which the world was created and time began" (Catechism, no. 388).
From "the beginning," from the very onset of Creation, a lived love-relationship has existed between three spirit-beings - God, man, and woman.
And, therein is found the origin of the vocation of love: "When we say that man is the image of God, it means that he is a being designed for relationship. It means that, in and through all his relationships, he seeks that relation which is the ground of his existence. In this context, [human living] should be the response to man's image of God; it would show us who we are and who God is. And for God, since he is entirely relationship, [human living is] not something apart from one's being or becoming fully human" (Pope Benedict XVI).
Both the divine image (human nature) and the communion of persons (male and female) come from the communitarian love of the Blessed Trinity: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. The vocation of love, then, is a declaration of God's own love. As such, the vocation of love has been placed in the very being of the human creature. As well, the potential for every person to become fulfilled and complete exists from the moment of conception in the womb.
"Thus we can see again that man is constructed from within, in the image of God, to be loved and to love. At this point I believe we have to refer to man's being in the image of God. God is love. The essence of love portrays its own nature in the Trinity. Man is in God's image, and, thereby, he is a being whose innermost dynamic is likewise directed toward the receiving and the giving of love" (Pope Benedict XVI).
Christians believe that lived-love is the Father and the Son (Jn 17). Furthermore, they believe that the bond of love between the Father and Son is the Divine Person of the Holy Spirit. In other words, they accept - through the baptismal gift of Faith - the scriptural truth that "God is love" (1 Jn 4:16).
Every human being possesses "from the ...
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