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The Power of Love Is Given to Man and Woman as a Share in God's Love

123 (of 129) - Catechesis by John Paul II on the Theology of the Body
General Audience, Wednesday 10 October 1984 - in Italian & Spanish

"1. We are continuing to outline the spirituality of married life in the light of the Encyclical Humanae Vitae.

According to the doctrine contained there, in conformity with biblical sources and all Tradition, love from the subjective viewpoint is a power, that is, a capacity of the human soul, of a theological nature. It is therefore the power given to man in order to participate in that love with which God himself loves in the mystery of creation and redemption. It is that love which "rejoices with the truth" (1 Cor 13:6). In it, the spiritual joy (Augustine's "enjoyment") of every authentic value is expressed. It is a joy like that of the Creator himself, who in the beginning saw that everything "was very good" (Gn 1:31).

If the powers of concupiscence try to detach the language of the body from the truth, that is, they try to falsify it, the power of love instead strengthens it ever anew in that truth, so that the mystery of the redemption of the body can bear fruit in it.

2. Love itself, which makes possible and brings about that conjugal dialogue, is had according to the full truth of the life of the spouses, is at the same time a power or a capacity of a moral nature, actively oriented toward the fullness of good and for this reason toward every true good. And therefore its role consists in safeguarding the inseparable connection between the "two meanings of the conjugal act," which the encyclical deals with (HV 12). That is, it concerns protecting both the value of the true union of the couple (that is, the personal communion) and the value of responsible fatherhood and motherhood (in the form that is mature and worthy of man).

3. According to traditional language, love, as a higher power, coordinates the actions of the persons, the husband and the wife, in the sphere of the purposes of marriage. Although in dealing with the question neither the conciliar constitution nor the encyclical use the language at one time customary, they nonetheless deal with what the traditional expressions refer to.

As a higher power that the man and the woman receive from God along with the particular "consecration" of the sacrament of marriage, love involves a correct coordination of the purposes, according to which—in the traditional teaching of the Church—there is constituted the moral (or rather "theological and moral") order of the life of the couple.

The doctrine of the Constitution Gaudium et Spes, as well as that of the Encyclical Humanae Vitae, clarifies the same moral order in reference to love. Love is understood as a higher power that confers adequate content and value to conjugal acts according to the truth of the two meanings, the unitive and the procreative, with respect for their inseparability.

In this renewed formulation the traditional teaching on the purposes of marriage (and their hierarchy) is reaffirmed and at the same time deepened from the viewpoint of the interior life of the spouses, that is, of conjugal and family spirituality.

4. The role of love, which is "poured out into (the) hearts" (Rom 5:5) of the spouses as the fundamental spiritual power of their conjugal pact, consists—as we said—in protecting both the value of the true communion of the spouses and the value of truly responsible fatherhood and motherhood. The power of love—authentic in the theological and ethical sense—is expressed in this, that love correctly unites the two meanings of the conjugal act, excluding not only in theory but above all in practice the contradiction that might be evidenced in this field. This contradiction is the most frequent reason for objecting to the Encyclical Humanae Vitae and the teaching of the Church. There must be a well-examined analysis, not only theological but also anthropological (we have tried to do this in the whole present reflection), to show that there is no need here to speak of contradiction, but only of difficulty. Well then, the encyclical itself stresses this difficulty in various passages.

And this arises from the fact that the power of love is implanted in man lured by concupiscence: in human subjects love does battle with the threefold concupiscence (cf. 1 Jn 2:16), especially with the concupiscence of the flesh which distorts the truth of the language of the body. Therefore love too is not able to be realized in the truth of the language of the body except through overcoming concupiscence.

5. If the key element of the spirituality of spouses and parents—that essential power which spouses must continually draw from the sacramental consecration—is love, this love, as it is seen from the text of the encyclical (cf. HV 20), is by its nature linked with the chastity that is manifested as mastery over oneself, that is, continence, in particular, as periodic continence. In biblical language, the author of Ephesians seems to allude to this when in his classic text he exhorts spouses to "defer to one another out of reverence for Christ" (Eph 5:21).

We can say that the Encyclical Humanae Vitae constitutes precisely the development of this biblical truth about conjugal and family Christian spirituality. Nonetheless, to make it more manifest, there needs to be a deeper analysis of the virtue of continence and of its special significance for the truth of the mutual language of the body in married life and (indirectly) in the whole sphere of mutual relationships between man and woman.

We will take up this analysis during the upcoming Wednesday reflections."

After the catechesis, Papa Giovanni Paolo II greeted the pilgrims in various languages:

Ai fedeli tedeschi

Nach diesen kurzen Überlegungen, die ich eurer persönlichen Besinnung und Vertiefung empfehle, grüße ich unter den heutigen Audienzteilnehmern noch besonders die anwesenden Priester und Ordensleute: unter ihnen namentlich die Gruppe der Franziskanerinnen aus Mallersdorf, die durch diese Romwallfahrt ihrer 120jährigen Tätigkeit im Kreiskrankenhaus Dachau gedenken. Möge der Herr euch in eurem täglichen opfervollen Samariterdienst bestärken und euch eurer Berufung froh machen.

Einen brüderlichen Gruß richte ich an die Neupriester des Collegium Germanicum-Hungaricum mit ihren Angehörigen und Freunden sowie an die Altgermanikerkurse, die ihr 10, 20 und 25jähriges Priesterjubiläum feiern. In herzlicher Mitfreude beglückwünsche ich euch alle zur großen Gnade eurer Berufung. Möget ihr in eurem priesterlichen Dienst immer treu erfunden werden und darin selber zugleich tiefe persönliche Erfüllung finden. Das erbitte ich euch von Christus, dem Ewigen Hohenpriester, mit meinem besonderen Segen.

Ferner grüße ich herzlich die dritte Rompilgerfahrt der ”Schönstatt-Jungmänner der Schweiz“, den Katholikenrat und die übrigen Pfarrgruppen aus Düsseldorf sowie den großen Pilgerzug aus der Diözese Münster, besonders die Gruppe der Pfarrgemeinde St. Ewaldi in Bocholt anläßlich ihres 50jährigen Pfarrjubiläums. Nehmt die reichen Erlebnisse und Anregungen vom Zentrum der katholischen Christenheit mit in eure Ortskirche und macht sie geistlich fruchtbar in euren Familien und Gemeinden. Ich erbitte euch als besondere Gnade eurer Rompilgerfahrt Glaubensmut und Zuversicht für eure christliche Bewährung in den vielfältigen Pflichten und Aufgaben eures Lebens.

Schließlich begrüße ich noch aus dem Bistum Essen die Gruppe der Bergleute und Stahlarbeiter mit ihrem Bischof Dr. Franz Hengsbach und zahlreichen Priestern. Ich kenne eure Probleme und Sorgen, besonders die Not um eure Arbeitsplätze und die Lehrstellen für die Jugendlichen. Ich weiß aber auch um eure Liebe und Treue zur Kirche. Seid Missionare Christi in der Welt der Arbeit, damit das ”Kreuz über Kohle und Eisen“ weiter leuchtet.

Euch, allen weiteren Gruppen aus eurem Bistum und allen anwesenden Pilgern deutscher Sprache erbitte ich Gottes bleibenden Schutz und Beistand und erteile euch und euren Lieben in der Heimat von Herzen meinen besonderen Apostolischen Segen.

Ai partecipanti a pellegrinaggi
dal Belgio, dall’Africa, e dal Canada

Je salue avec joie les divers pèlerins venus de France, de Belgique, d’Afrique, du Canada. J’encourage en particulier ceux qui, en union avec les Vicariats aux Armées, sont venus à Rome préparer, sur le plan pastoral et liturgique, le prochain pèlerinage militaire international de Lourdes. Chaque année, celui-ci représente, pour tant de soldats, un temps fort pour leur foi, pour leur témoignage de chrétiens, pour leur fraternité par-dessus les frontières, pour leur service commun de la paix. A tous ceux qui sont présents à cette audience, je donne ma Bénédiction Apostolique.

Ai pellegrini di lingua inglese

I wish to welcome all the English-speaking pilgrims and visitors. In a special way, my greeting goes to the International Renewal Group of the Missionary Sisters of the Precious Blood. May your experience in Rome, dear Sisters, help you to grow in faith and assist you to serve your brothers and sisters round the world.

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I likewise wish to greet the Anglican Pilgrimage from North-hampton, England; as well as the Pilgrimage of pastors, deaconesses and laity of the Church of Sweden.

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I welcome too the group of Second World war Veterans organized by the "Friends of America" to celebrate the Fortieth anniversary of the liberation of Rome and Italy.

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A special word of welcome to the participants in the Regional Symposium of the World Psychiatric Association on the important question of Psychiatric Rehabilitation. May God sustain your work in favour of those who suffer. Upon all of you who have come from England, Ireland, Denmark, Sweden, Australia and the United States I invoke God’s abundant blessings.

Ai pellegrini appartenenti
al Centro del Rosario di Nagoya Sia lodato Gesù Cristo!

Dilettissimi pellegrini del “Centro del Rosario” di Nagoya.

Io so bene che ogni giorno voi recitate il Rosario per me. Vi ringrazio di cuore per questo. Da parte mia, invocando su di voi la protezione della Madonna, con paterno affetto vi imparto la mia Benedizione Apostolica.

Sia lodato Gesù Cristo!

Ai pellegrini di lingua spagnola

Queridos hermanos y hermanas,

Y ahora quiero dirigir mi saludo cordial a todos los peregrinos de lengua española. A las Religiosas “Siervas de María”; al grupo de “Renovación en el Espíritu” de México y a los cursillistas de Cristiandad de Colombia. Sed siempre fieles a vuestra vocación apostólica. Saludo asimismo a los grupos procedentes de las varias parroquias y asociaciones católicas de España, México y Guatemala.

A todos los peregrinos hispano-hablantes de los diversos Países doy con afecto mi Bendición Apostólica.

Ai numerosi pellegrini polacchi

Serdecznie witam pielgrzymów z archidiecezji krakowskiej z księdzem Kardynałem Metropolitą obecnym na tej sali; witam pielgrzymów z parafii św. Maksymiliana Kolbego z Mistrzejowic, z Nowej Huty; z parafii św. Katarzyny z Nowego Targu; pielgrzymów z parafii Miłosierdzia Bożego, Warszawa-Stegny; z parafii św. Michała z Poznania; z parafii św. Marcina z Poznania; z parafii św. Łukasza z Poznania; pielgrzymkę kurialną z Łodzi; pielgrzymów z parafii św. Klemensa i św. Doroty z Wrocławia; z parafii Najświętszej Maryi Panny Królowej Polski z Tomaszowa Mazowieckiego; grupę kolejarzy z parafii św. Brygidy z Gdańska oraz z Gdyni; grupę członkóv Towarzystwa Przyjaźni Polsko-Włoskiej z Katowic; grupę przewodników z Warszawy; pielgrzymkę z parafii św. Kazimierza z Chicago (USA) oraz pielgrzymkę księży z Lublina. Poza tym pielgrzymkę kiży z archidiecezji krakowskiej (dwudziestopięciolecie kapłaństwa); księży z Polski i z emigracji, biorących udział w rekolekcjach Odnowy w Duchu Świętym w Rzymie oraz grupy turystyczne Orbisu, “Turysty” i “Alma Travels” . . . . Módlmy się za wszystkie małżeństwa i rodziny w Ojczyźnie naszej. Proszę pozdrowić te wspólnoty, z których przybywacie, w Ojczyźnie i na emigracji.

Ai pellegrini italiani

Rivolgo ora un saluto ai pellegrini di lingua italiana, venuti dalle varie diocesi d’Italia.

La vostra presenza richiama alla mia mente la visita pastorale che ho compiuto in Calabria negli ultimi tre giorni della scorsa settimana. Rivedo ancora la bellezza di quella terra, ma soprattutto conservo nel cuore, come un ricordo incancellabile, l’entusiasmo di tutto il popolo, generoso e laborioso, accorso nelle strade e nelle piazze delle sue città per accogliermi. In ogni luogo che ho visitato ho visto la forte vitalità di una Chiesa che vuole essere fermento e forza morale per il rinnovamento e la rinascita religiosa, sociale e civile di tutta la regione.

Tornando a Roma mi è giunta la lieta notizia della liberazione del piccolo Vincenzo Diano, che era stato strappato ai suoi genitori nel mese di luglio, e per il quale durante la celebrazione eucaristica di domenica ho intensamente pregato insieme con tutta la comunità cristiana presente. Ne ringrazio il Signore.

Durante la stessa celebrazione eucaristica abbiamo pregato anche per la giovane Liliana Marando, rapita la scorsa estate ad Ardore Marina, in provincia di Reggio Calabria. Anche oggi desidero elevare al Signore la mia fervida preghiera per la sua liberazione e rivolgere un pressante appello ai rapitori perché vogliano desistere da questa strada che calpesta la dignità umana e si muovano a compassione per una giovane donna che ha diritto a ritornare al calore della sua famiglia e al suo lavoro di farmacista.

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Saluto ora i giovani. Carissimi, vi esorto a rispondere con la generosità e l’entusiasmo tipici della vostra età alla chiamata, con cui Dio vi ha creati a sua immagine e somiglianza. Tenete sempre presente che il rapporto con Cristo, il quale merita incondizionata dedizione non annulla la vostra persona, non la sminuisce, anzi l’arricchisce e porta a pienezza la vostra vita. Dio vi benedica, come io nel suo nome vi benedico.

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Desidero poi assicurare ai malati e a quanti soffrono che sono loro particolarmente vicino con il cuore e con la preghiera.

Cari fratelli e sorelle, vi invito a recitare con assiduità, soprattutto in questo mese di ottobre, il Santo Rosario, per essere sempre più in grado di unire le vostre sofferenze a quelle di Cristo e dare così il vostro efficace contributo per la salvezza di tutti gli uomini.

Vi accompagni il mio incoraggiamento e la mia Benedizione, che volentieri estendo ai vostri familiari e a quanti vi assistono.

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Vada infine a voi, sposi novelli, il mio particolare saluto ed il mio cordiale augurio di letizia e di pace nel Signore.

Con l’aiuto della grazia di Cristo, ricevuta nel sacramento del matrimonio, siate sempre capaci di donazione e accettazione. L’amore coniugale non può e non deve esaurirsi all’interno della coppia, ma essere disposto ad una dedizione gratuita, mediante la quale voi, cari sposi novelli, diventate collaboratori di Dio, per donare la vita a una persona nuova.

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