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Love (caritas)

SG Love

Depicted in the top portion of the caritas window at the front on the chapel's left side, and crowning all of the virtues, both intellectual and theological, is Love. The biblical exemplar here is Jesus' mother, Mary. In a conspicuous gesture of tenderness and devotion, she holds the only begotten Son of God close, showing in her maternal affection also her humble submission to the will of God. Yet it is not Mary alone, of course, who shows us the perfection of human love, but pre-eminently the one she bore, Jesus himself, who "did not regard equality with God something to be grasped," but became like us in our human frailty, and in love's greatest conquest became "obedient to death, even death on a cross." Mary's mournful face anticipates the agonizing loss to be suffered for the sake of love's triumph. Below them is seated the great doctor and bishop of the church, St. Augustine, whose life and works remind us of the centrality of obedient love in Christian faith and practice. Augustine famously described caritas as the "motion of our soul toward the enjoyment of God for his own sake, and the enjoyment of one's self and of one's neighbor for the sake of God," and referred, accordingly, to the great commandment (Matt. 22:37-39) as the "law of love."

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Theological & Moral Virtues

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