In Dante’s “Divine Comedy,” Virgil, the poet’s guide, says that in the highest spheres, “the more they are who say ‘ours.
I would like to offer my testimony regarding Joseph Ratzinger / Pope Benedict XVI, drawing from my personal experience. “What can I do for you? What can I do for all of you?” were the words with which, on August 1, 2019, he welcomed me to the Mater Ecclesiae Monastery in the Vatican. Thus began a series of personal meetings, seven to be precise, until January 2020, together with a correspondence that continued until his death.
The two stories collected in "Diarios de Adán y Eva" by Mark Twain were written in 1893 and 1905 respectively. Although there is more than ten years difference in their composition, Twain thought it most appropriate to publish them together because of their obvious connections. This first occurred in 1906 in the collection of short stories entitled "The $30 000 Bequest." For Twain Eden is not a place but a person. As the author of the Letter to the Ephesians suggests, husband and wife are meant to be for each other signs of this Person, who is heaven (cf. Eph 5:31-32). Mark Twain stopped at the sign, seeking salvation in human love without connecting it to divine love. But in turning to the sign, he inevitably, perhaps in spite of himself, also touched the greater reality, for which the love of the two is a sacrament: an efficacious sign that already mysteriously contains the reality it signifies.
The biological and psychological sciences attest to the existence of difference between male and female. What is needed now is not continually to repeat this as if it were an obvious truism, but a philosophical and theological reflection in order to develop the necessary conceptual tools for demonstrating its anthropological meaning.
The perspective of the truth of love is the key to understanding who human beings are as the image of God in Christ. “He told me everything I have ever done,” says the Samaritan woman after her encounter with him (Jn 4:39). Human beings are called to accept the original love offered by their Creator, a love which in turn demands the gift of themselves to God, and that manifests itself in their relationships with others. Only from this relational vision of the human being can we understand that freedom – so central a concern for the modern age – does not consist in an empty autonomy, but that it is a reality that springs from a gift and is called to fulfill itself in a gift: the gift of self.