By releasing Deus Caritas Est (God Is Love) as his first encyclical, Pope Benedict XVI, building on the legacy of Pope John Paul II, presents the Church with a glorious vision of love and human sexuality, one that cuts to the core of all human struggles. The Holy Father’s message profoundly shows how agape, the self-sacrificial love of God, empowers romantic love, eros, with life-giving and meaningful existence.
Today, the term “love” has become one of the most frequently used and misused words, a word to which we attach quite different meanings. We speak of love of country, love of one’s profession, love between friends, love of work, love between parents and children, love of neighbor, and love of God. Amid this multiplicity of meaning, however, one in particular stands out: love between man and woman, where body and soul are inseparably joined and human beings glimpse an apparently irresistible promise of happiness. This would seem to be the very epitome of love: all other kinds of love immediately seem to fade in comparison (Deus Caritas Est, n.2).
The Love that Satisfies, by Christopher West, focuses on this last kind of love—the love that promises such happiness but so often leads to despair; the love that seems to be the epitome of all love but which relatively few people find in a measure that satisfies.
Why should this be the case? Why is the love between man and woman so attractive and illusive, demanding and rewarding, restrictive and liberating, painful and ecstatic, messy and beautiful, maddening and fulfilling? Our world is saturated with sex but remains starved for love. Why? Perhaps, as Waylon Jennings put it, we’re “lookin’ for love in all the wrong places, lookin’ for love in too many faces.” Where, then is the right place and whose, then, is the right face in which to look for love?
By reflecting on key passages from Pope Benedict’s grand encyclical, Deus Caritas Est, this book explores these and many other questions with the goal of pointing all who read it toward the love that satisfies.
Those who give the pope’s message the attention it deserves will discover that the Catholic Church – despite all the supposed anti-sex sentiment – has a vision of sexual love far more glorious than anything Sigmund Freud, Hugh Hefner, Britney Spears, or Howard Stern could dream of or imagine.
Hardcover, 166 pages