Edward and Elizabeth Sri provide an excellent introduction to Pope Benedict’s encyclical Deus Caritas Est. They ponder extensively two of the “loves” that the Pope Emeritus discusses, eros and agape—eros, a passionate, self-seeking love; and agape, one that turns to seek the good of the other. These loves are both exemplified most perfectly in God’s love for His people—from the passionate love that’s expressed in the Song of Songs to the self-emptying love that culminates in His death on the Cross. As God exemplifies them, so we are to imitate them—in any friendship, but they are most especially at the heart of the marriage covenant. As the Sris remind us, we too-often think of love solely as the passionate eros; but we must remember that this eros must be, to use Benedict’s words, “disciplined and purified if it is to provide not just fleeting pleasure, but a certain foretaste . . . of that beatitude for which our whole being yearns.”

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Surprised by Love: Reflections on Pope Benedict XVI First Encyclical eBook