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Inflation of the word “love” is a risk we are running. The Pope stressed it during the morning Mass at St Martha’s House. “It is a word we use very often and we do not know, when we use it, what its precise meaning is” Francis has said. “What is love?” He asked. “Sometimes we think about the soap-opera kind of love. No, it does not seem to be love. “Other times, he has said, “love can seem to be enthusiasm for a person … then it goes off.” Bergoglio has urged us to ask: “Where does true love come from?”. “All the people who love – he has said – were created by God,  because God is ‘love’. The Pope, therefore, “does not say, ‘All love is God’, no: God is love.”

According to Francis, therefore, “not all the love comes from God, but God is true love.” “Love, compassion. Otherwise – he continues his thought – they can be understood by God and man. In his First Letter, the Apostle John – the homily reminds us – weaves a long reflection on the two main commandments of a life in faith: love for God and love for the neighbor. “Love, he has said, “is beautiful in itself, to love is beautiful”, yet, sincere love “becomes stronger and grows in giving one’s life as a gift”.

Commenting on John’s Letter, the Pope has emphasized a characteristic of God’s love: He loves us “first”. Proof of this is the scene of the Gospel of the multiplication of the loaves, proposed by the liturgy: Jesus looked at the crowd, and he “felt compassion”, – the Pope has pointed out – ” which is not the same thing as feeling pity”. Because the love Jesus has for people around him “leads him to ‘suffer with’  them, to get involved in people’s lives,” a love “which is never preceded by man’s love. Francis has cited thousands of examples from Zacchaeus, Nathanael, to the prodigal son”.

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