Rorate Caeli

God is Love, in past papal documents. IV - Pius XII

After reading about the meaning of the Love of Christ (Saint Pius X), its action through the Church (Leo XIII), its exercise through Christian charity (Pius XI), the mind is elevated to a sublime level by the words of the Pastor Angelicus, Pius XII, in one of his most beautiful texts, Haurietis Aquas, the great encyclical on Divine Love and the Sacred Heart whose golden jubilee shall be celebrated this year. Since this most Catholic and most powerful devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus is a devotion to Divine Love itself, one may safely say that Haurietis Aquas is an encyclical completely dedicated to adoration of the Charity who is God.

God is Love, Pius XII explains, and He has deigned to reveal His love throughout Sacred History. First, to the People of the Old Covenant:

God declares that His love for the chosen people, combining justice and a holy anxiety, is like the love of a merciful and loving father or of a husband whose honor is offended. This love is not diminished or withdrawn in the face of the perfidy or the horrible crimes of those who betray it. If it inflicts just chastisements on the guilty, it is not for the purpose of rejecting them or of abandoning them to themselves; but rather to bring about the repentance and the purification of the unfaithful spouse and ungrateful children, and to bind them once more to itself with renewed and yet stronger bonds of love. ...

This most tender, forgiving and patient love of God, though it deems unworthy the people of Israel as they add sin to sin, nevertheless at no time casts them off entirely. And though it seems strong and exalted indeed, yet it was only an advance symbol of that burning charity which mankind' s promised Redeemer, from His most loving Heart, was destined to open to all and which was to be the type of His love for us and the foundation of the new covenant.

Divine Love unfolds itself in the fulness of time, for the story of Salvation is a story of Divine Love; and of a Love which is completely Trinitarian, because the Most Holy Trinity is Mutual Love:

The mystery of the divine redemption is primarily and by its very nature a mystery of love, that is, of the perfect love of Christ for His heavenly Father to Whom the sacrifice of the Cross, offered in a spirit of love and obedience, presents the most abundant and infinite satisfaction due for the sins of the human race; "By suffering out of love and obedience, Christ gave more to God than was required to compensate for the offense of the whole human race." [Sum. Theol. III, q. 48, a. 2: ed. Leon., vol. XI, 1903, p. 464.]

It is also a mystery of the love of the Most Holy Trinity and of the divine Redeemer towards all men. Because they were entirely unable to make adequate satisfaction for their sins [Cfr. Encl. "Miserentissimus Redemptor": A.A.S. XX, 1928, p. 170], Christ, through the infinite treasure of His merits acquired for us by the shedding of His precious Blood, was able to restore completely that pact of friendship between God and man which had been broken, first by the grievous fall of Adam in the earthly paradise and then by the countless sins of the chosen people.


The holy Fathers, true witnesses of the divinely revealed doctrine, wonderfully understood what St. Paul the Apostle had quite clearly declared; namely, that the mystery of love was, as it were, both the foundation and the culmination of the Incarnation and the Redemption.... St. Augustine, in a special manner, notices the connections that exist between the sentiments of the Incarnate Word and their purpose, man's redemption. "These affections of human infirmity, even as the human body itself and death, the Lord Jesus put on not out of necessity, but freely out of compassion so that He might transform in Himself His Body, which is the Church of which He deigned to be the Head, that is, His members who are among the faithful and the saints, so that if any of them in the trials of this life should be saddened and afflicted they should not therefore think that they are deprived of His grace. Nor should they consider this sorrow a sin, but a sign of human weakness. Like a choir singing in harmony with the note that has been sounded, so should His Body learn from its Head." [Enarr. in Ps. LXXXVII, 3: P. L. XXXVII, 1111.]

And the depth of Divine Love for mankind can only be understood when one allows oneself to understand that Divine Love found a human abode of flesh, in the Sacred Heart of the Savior, majestic symbol of the threefold love of the God-Man:

...the Heart of the Incarnate Word is deservedly and rightly considered the chief sign and symbol of that threefold love with which the divine Redeemer unceasingly loves His eternal Father and all mankind.

[1] It is a symbol of that divine love which He shares with the Father and the Holy Spirit but which He, the Word made flesh, alone manifests through a weak and perishable body, since "in Him dwells the fullness of the Godhead bodily."[Col. 2:9.]

[2] It is, besides, the symbol of that burning love which, infused into His soul, enriches the human will of Christ and enlightens and governs its acts by the most perfect knowledge derived both from the beatific vision and that which is directly infused.[Cfr. Sum Theol. III, q. 9 aa. 1-3: ed. Leon., vol. XI, 1903, p. 142.]

[3] And finally - and this in a more natural and direct way - it is the symbol also of sensible love, since the body of Jesus Christ, formed by the Holy Spirit, in the womb of the Virgin Mary, possesses full powers of feelings and perception, in fact, more so than any other human body.[Cfr. Ibid. Ill, q. 33, a. 2, ad 3m; q. 46, a: ed. Leon., vol. XI, 1903, pp. 342, 433.]

A Love who emptied itself in Sacrifice for mankind, a Sacrifice of Love in the unbloody Sacrifice of the Altar and on the bloody Sacrifice of Calvary:

...who can worthily depict those beatings of the divine Heart, the signs of His infinite love, of those moments when He granted men His greatest gifts: Himself in the Sacrament of the Eucharist, His most holy Mother, and the office of the priesthood shared with us?

To the unbloody gift of Himself under the appearance of bread and wine our Savior Jesus Christ wished to join, as the chief proof of His deep and infinite love, the bloody sacrifice of the Cross. By this manner of acting He gave an example of His supreme charity, which He had proposed to His disciples as the highest point of love in these words: "Greater love than this no man hath, that a man lay down his life for his friends."[Jn. 15:13.] ... For, as the Angelic Doctor teaches, the love of the most Holy Trinity is the origin of man's redempion; it overflowed into the human will of Jesus Christ and into His adorable Heart with full efficacy and led Him, under the impulse of that love, to pour forth His blood to redeem us from the captivity of sin [Rom. 8:32.]...

Cor Iesu Sacratissimum, miserere nobis!

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