Foreword


Passion Altarpiece (central) - by BOUTS, Dieric the Elder - from Museo de la Capilla Real, Granada
(Click to enlarge)

 

Jesus Christ Died in-Battle, for us

Greater Love than this, no Man hath,
that a Man lay-down his Life, for his Friends.
(John 15:13 - Douay Rheims Bible)

Maiorem hac dilectionem nemo habet
ut animam suam quis ponat pro amicis suis.
(John 15:13 - Latin Vulgate Bible)

 

Some People make Perfection, Consist-in an Austere Life;
others in Prayer; others in Frequenting the Sacraments;
others in Almsgiving. But they Deceive themselves:
Perfect Sanctity consists-in Loving God with our Whole Heart.
Jesus Deserves our Love, because-of the Love He has Shown us,
in His Passion and Death.

 

Nota Bene: Bible Verses quoted-in this Book are from the English Douay-Rheims Translation, commissioned-by the Catholic Church.

 

Foreword

by Father Bernard Häring, CssR
Academia Alphonsiana, Rome

Many excellent Books remain Relevant, only-for the Generation, for-which they were Written. But, The Practice of the Love of Jesus Christ, which is perhaps the most-Beautiful Book ever written-by Saint Alphonsus, belongs-in the Ranks-of the few-Books that 'Preserve' their Freshness, throughout Centuries-of Extrinsic Change. This Book shows its Unchanging Newness, its Depth and Beauty, in a Singular-way, in the Light-of the Second-Vatican-Council.

This Work is an Outline-of Moral Theology, as it Should be Presented-to the Laity, as-well-as to-Priests and Religious; a Moral Theology that 'Focuses' Everything in-Christ, and in-His Love for us. It thus Clearly Manifests the Guiding Spirit of the Second-Vatican-Council. Pope Paul VI reminded the Second Session-of the Council, that every-Text and every-Effort must Express this Highest Goal and Honor: "Thee Christ alone, do we Know".

This Book also Points-out very-Clearly on every-Page, and in every-Aspect, what Pope John XXIII Verified-in his Whole Life, and what he 'Inspired' the Council: The Primacy of Love. Love is not merely an Item-in a List-of Commandments. The Whole Life-of a Christian, Revolves-around the Reality-of being Loved-by Christ, and of Loving one another, in-Christ and with-Christ.

Modern Legalists have often considered the Words-of Saint Augustine, "Love God, and do what you Will", very Dangerous, if not Erroneous. But Saint Alphonsus never Feared, that a True Love-of God, would Transgress the Laws-of-God. Quoting this Fundamental Text-of Saint Augustine, he explains, "A Soul that Loves God, is Taught-by that very Love, never to do anything, that might Displease Him".

When Saint Alphonsus began to-Write his 'Original' Moral Theology, as a Commentary-on a Text-by the Jesuit Busenbaum, he followed an Outline that was Acceptable-to his own Contemporaries. In the Final Years-of his Life, however, he said that he wanted to-Write a Moral Theology with quite a 'Different Approach'. The Practice of the Love of Jesus Christ, Reveals-what his Approach would have been. Here, Saint Alphonsus Returns-to the Foundations-of Sacred Scripture and Tradition, even for the Structure of his Presentation. In this Volume, he 'Anticipated' the Renewal-of Moral Theology that was to Take-place in the Era-of Pope-John-XXIII, and the Second-Vatican-Council.

This is the way to-Teach Christian Morality, if we really Believe-with the Council, that All Christians are-Called to-Holiness, a Holiness that will Lead-to an ever better Fulfillment-of the Commandment: "This is My Commandment, that you Love one another, as I have Loved you" - John 15:12; or, "Be you therefore Perfect, as also your Heavenly Father is Perfect" - Matthew 5:48. With this Love, one Finds-in every Commandment, an Invitation-to God's Love, and Tries Prudently-to Find an Adequate Response of-Love in Justice, Temperance, Fortitude, and all the other Virtues.

One who 'Reads' and 'Meditates' on this Song-of Love, can no-longer 'Share' the Attitude-of many Contemporary Christians, that has been Voiced-by Paul Claudel: "Surely, we Love Christ, but nothing in this World can make us Love Morality". One who 'Accepts' everything Superficially, on the Basis-of 'Legalistic Casuistry', and Knows only the "Ought" and the "Thou shalt not", will never Love the Moral Law. But one who Realizes that Christian Morality always Means being Loved-by Christ, and Living Christ's Own Life and Love, will find Joy in the Law-of-the-Lord, and will "Meditate on it Day and Night". This is the Purpose-of the Words-of Saint Alphonsus, that so-Clearly show the Essential Continuity-of the Doctrine-of-the-Church on the Good Tidings-of Christian Life.