For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son…
In July of this year, Pope Benedict XVI published an encyclical letter to “all people of good will.” Caritas in Veritate, or Charity in Truth, reflects on the theme of social development – and it’s silent partner, social isolation – in our ever-more interconnected world. As we recall God’s love during this Advent season,Charity in Truth is an apt place to reflect upon the Church’s social doctrine of charity, which is itself rooted in love.
Charity is at the heart of the Church's social doctrine. Every responsibility and every commitment spelled out by that doctrine is derived from charity, which, according to the teaching of Jesus, is the synthesis of the entire Law (Matthew 22:36- 40). It gives real substance to the personal relationship with God and with neighbor; it is the principle not only of micro-relationships (with friends, with family members or within small groups) but also of macro-relationships (social, economic and political ones).
For the Church, instructed by the Gospel, charity is everything because, as Saint John teaches (1 John 4:8, 16) and as I recalled in my first Encyclical Letter, “God is love” (Deus Caritas Est): everything has its origin in God's love, everything is shaped by it, everything is directed towards it.
Love is God's greatest gift to humanity, it is his promise and our hope.