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Christian Words

Misunderstanding and Truth

Bruno Bérard and Aldo La Fata

To be released in 2024

The book is to be published in France, Italy and the United States. Here are the main elements:

If some Christian words have grown stale over the millennia, isn’t it time to add a few grains of salt? In fact, this has always been the case. With each new age and generation bringing its own cultural variations, these words are always to be understood afresh. Bruno Bérard

The reader will see just how differently the same Word has been commented on by each author. When dealing with the words of the Supreme Master, perspectives seem to multiply spectacularly, and one discovery leads to another. So we understand S. Thomas, who also commented on commas in the Scriptures! Aldo La Fata

Contents

Foreword

  1. “Love and Do What you Want” – Bruno Bérard (BB)
  2. “Love and Do What you Want” – Aldo La Fata (ALF)
  3. “Thou Shalt not Judge” – BB
  4. “Thou Shalt not Judge” – ALF
  5. “Outside the Church, no Salvation” – ALF
  6. “Outside the Church, no Salvation” – BB
  7. “There are Many Called and Few Chosen” – ALF
  8. “There are Many Called and Few Chosen” – BB
  9. “Render unto Caesar that Which is Caesar’s…” – ALF
  10. “Render unto Caesar that Which is Caesar’s…” – BB
  11. “Whoever Exalts Himself will be Humbled…” – BB
  12. “Whoever Exalts Himself will be Humbled…” – ALF
  13. “Lead us not into Temptation” – ALF
  14. “Lead us not into Temptation” – BB
  15. “The Kingdom of God is Near” – BB
  16. “The Kingdom of God is Near – ALF

Excerpt

In his Homilies on the First Epistle of Saint John (treatise VII, 7-8), we read Augustine’s precept: dilige et quod vis fac! (“love and do what you will”). In his complete exposition, he has the advantage of outlining what love is:

This short precept is given to you once and for all: Love and do what you want. If you keep silent, keep silent out of love; if you speak, speak out of love; if you correct, correct out of love; if you forgive, forgive out of love. Have in your heart the root of Love: from this root, nothing bad can come forth. This is what Love is!

Obviously, this root of love is God, particularly in His immanence, that is, His presence in the world. In giving being, He gives love at the same time; gift and love are synonymous here, and are, moreover, the two names of the Holy Spirit (according to St. Thomas Aquinas). This is why we say that “God is Love” (1 Jn IV, 8) and that “the Father and the Son love each other and us through the Holy Spirit, or through the Love that proceeds” (S. Thomas Aquinas, Summa de Theologia, 1a, q. 37, a. 2 c).

This implies that “he who abides in love abides in God, and God in him” (1 Jn 4:16). This means that “love” is a unique reality […] Love of God and love of neighbor are inseparable” (Benedict XVI, Encyclical Letter Deus caritas est, §§ 8, 18). From this point of view, there is no such thing as a love that “goes up” (eros) and a love that “goes down” (agape); this love is a single, pure Holy Spirit. Nor is there a horizontal love (towards others) and a vertical love (towards God), but, once again, a single love. That’s why the first two commandments are “similar”:

‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul and with all your mind’. This is the greatest and first commandment. The second is similar: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself. These two commandments contain the whole Law and the Prophets’ (Mt 22:35-40; Mk 12:28-31; Lk 10:25-28).

This is also why we must discover in ourselves the love of our neighbor (Mt XXII, 39), as well as that of our enemy (Mt 5:44). This is what salvation is all about, because an “egoism of salvation” (cf. Stefan Vianu) is an impossibility: you can’t save yourself, because it’s God who saves, and because He came to save all men. This is because “the body is one and has many members, and as all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so is Christ (1 Cor. 12:12). “We are all members of one another” (Rom. 12:5), and there is only one perspective:

that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, so that they too may be one in us (Jn 17:21).

This is what salvation is all about: being identified with God, through Christ, by deification. But this identification is not solitary (“that they also may be one in us”); it passes, necessarily we think, through a “recapitulation”:

All creatures come together in my intellect, to become intelligible in me. I alone prepare them to return to God.

Meister Eckhart

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