Love as an “intimation of salvation”

Love as an "intimation of salvation"
“The Glory of God
is man alive”

In , chap. 6 (The God who “cannot deny his own self”), Cardinal Wojtyla explains that Christ does more than provide a critique of the men of the world; he is greater than John the Baptist. And he surely does not simply adopt a superior position of the spiritual man who is above the men of the world in order to condemn them from the splendid isolation of the moral high ground. He joins us as a man and he brings a new message, a message of a new way to live, as sketched out in the Beatitudes. Wojtyla connects the critique of the world with “the truth of love.” It is difficult to believe in love, he says. It is difficult for the person victimized or oppressed by evil to believe in love; it is difficult for one who is disillusioned by life; it is difficult for anyone “caught in the toils of consumerism and a prey to the hunger for status symbols.” It is difficult for any of us sons of Adam to believe in love; we would rather hide in our fear.

Jesus had to enter the world the way he did, as poor and weak, oppressed, “in order that the whole of his passing from start to finish might confirm the truth of love.” (51) The strength of love is the central message of redemptor hominis.

In these retreat meditations Cardinal Wojtyla is pressing the case for the Church in the Modern World from a spiritual point of view; neither in retreat from the world in fear or superiority, nor  simply jumping on the bandwagon, the Christian must witness to the truth of love.

Wojtyla also speaks about Maximilian Kolbe as an example of love. He gave himself freely for love. He is an example of the victory of love — he is a sign that love is stronger than death. He offered his life out of love and Wojtyla said: “there passed through that hell-on-earth a breath of fearless and indestructible goodness, a kind of intimation of salvation.”

And he triumphed in the name of Jesus and Mary. Thus Wojtyla speaks about the victory proclaimed in Genesis, the proto-evangelium, “He will crush your head,” O serpent of pride. He says that God is “the one who is greater.” He is greater through love.

Wojtyla concludes by suggesting that from this intimation of love we can see that St. Irenaeus (the glory of God is man alive) is more profound than Heidegger — is man simply a being unto death or is man a “being on the way to glory”?

All this because God is greater than we can imagine from our position of falleness — “if we are not faithful, he remains faithful, because he cannot deny his own self.” (2 Tim 2:12-13).

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