Thursday 22 November 2018

Love in Action Loving God and Neighbor A Twofold Commandment - Fernando Ocáriz

Love in Action:
Loving God and Neighbor A Twofold Commandment
Fernando Ocáriz
Scepter Publishers
ISBN 9781594172915
eISBN 9781594172922

Sometimes when I am reading a book, I find it so good, that I start researching other books available from the author, and often purchasing them and adding to my ‘to be read’ pile. This was one of those times. I could hardly put this book down. And know it is a book I will return to again. Bit in that initial research, I found that a total of three books by Fernando Ocáriz are available as eBooks in English, and another four are currently available in English. And there are a few that are not available in English, as of yet. Fernando Ocáriz currently serves as the Prelate of Opus Dei and has since January 2017. Which could explain the expanding availability of his books in English.

Fernando Ocáriz Braña was born in 1944, ordained in 1971. Since 1986 he has served as a consultor of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. He has been a professor of Theology. This book is a result of his life of service, his passion for the Church, and his personal holiness. This book is accessible and would be a beneficial read for someone in their teens until their death. The sections in this book are:

By Way of Introduction

Chapter 1. God’s Love for Mankind
 God is the fullness of reality, infinite perfection
 Everything depends totally on God in its being and activity
 Divine presence, a presence of Love
 At the beginning of human history, sin entered the world
 The fullness of time: Christ
 God’s love, mercy, and justice
Chapter 2. Our Love for God
 Love and law
 Loving God, neighbor, and oneself
 God in us and we in God
Chapter 3. Risk of Adulterating Christianity
 Confronting modernity and post-modernity
 Utopia of a future earthly paradise
 “The death of God” and the worship of man
 True human greatness
 Christianity is not reducible to any humanism
Chapter 4. The Newness of Christianity
 The primacy of the love for God over the inseparable love for neighbor
 Love for the world
 Unity between love for God and love for neighbor

Chapter 1. The Theological Virtues and Christian Life
 Life of faith
 Christian hope
Chapter 2. Consequences of the Secularization of Christianity
 Faith and being faithful
 Christian truth is life and way
 Moral life: love and freedom
 Secularization of moral life
Chapter 3. What Loving God Requires
 We can’t love God too much
 Love for God: worship and prayer
 Love for God and obedience to his commandments
 Love for God and personal conversion
 Worship of God and human fraternity
 Service to God and service to neighbor

Chapter 1. The Divine Precept
 The measure of charity
 Root and foundation of Christian love
 Every person is worthy of being loved
 Beyond any “horizontal” humanism
Chapter 2. Requirements of Christian Fraternity
 The order of charity
 Charity and unity in the faith
 Learning to love by contemplating Jesus Christ
 Love for others and apostolate
 Charity and justice
 Mankind’s deepest hope
 Sowing peace and joy

Fernando in the introduction states:

“Parts of this book were published for the first time several decades ago. They are now offered in an updated and expanded form. The result is practically a new book. Like the first work, it is not meant to be a treatise on charity, but rather a collection of reflections, with no attempt to be exhaustive, about love for God and for our fellow men and women.”

And also:

“My intention here is to contribute to this understanding of charity’s central role, while striving to listen to God in Holy Scripture. We will do so guided especially by the Church’s Magisterium, the teachings of St. Josemaría Escrivá de Balaguer, and, for certain topics, the teachings of the Fathers of the Church and St. Thomas Aquinas.”

As stated, this book is not a theological treaty, it is more of a conversation. Reading it feels more like a conversation with a spiritual director, or close friend. It is engaging and compelling. This book will not just help us grow in knowledge, but provides the tools to help us fulfill the commandments to love and serve God and to love and serve mankind.

In the Epilogue Fernando states:

“The faith that has been lived in the Church for twenty centuries is not open to substantial change. However, there is certainly room for constant progress in better understanding the immense wealth contained in the Gospel, and above all for greater personal faithfulness to Christ.”

And finally:

“If we truly want to serve mankind and the world, and thereby fulfill our Lord’s command, we must love God first. For only in this love and through this love will our service to others—love shown in deeds—be able to imitate the incomparable grandeur of Christ’s heart. In contrast, Christ’s words and human history always remind us that setting aside God and the hope for eternity never lead to greater love and service to mankind and the world.”

This book was published in Spanish in 2015, and this English edition released in 2017, with the eBook release in 2018. It is not a large volume, but a very important one. It is a book that will help us live our mission as Christians. An incredible read that I highly recommend, all Christians could benefit from reading this book!

Books by Fernando Ocáriz:
The Mystery of Jesus Christ
Love in Action
God as Father
Fundamental Theology
The Canonical Path of Opus Dei: The History and Defense of a Charism
God, the Church, and the World: An Interview with the Auxiliary Vicar of Opus Dei
Opus Dei In The Church: An Ecclesiological Study Of The Life And Apostolate Of Opus Dei

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