“Love is possible, and we are able to practise it because we are created in the image of God. To experience love and in this way to cause the light of God to enter into the world – this is the invitation I would like to extend with the present Encyclical.”
Pope Benedict XVI’s first encyclical deals with the most fundamental calling of every Christian: that of love. The first part reclaims the often misused word ‘love’ and looks specifically at the ‘epitome of love’, that between a man and a woman. Benedict responds to the claims that Christianity destroyed erotic love by arguing that only when body and soul are united can eros be healed and be restored to its true grandeur.
The second part of the encyclical looks at how the love of God and of Christ on the cross urges us on to love our fellow human beings. Individual Christians and the Church as a body must exercise charity and service to all those in need, not motivated by any self-interest nor to take upon herself a political struggle, but simply to make the living God visible. “The anti-culture of death… is thus countered by an unselfish love which shows itself to be a culture of life by the very willingness to lose itself for others.”