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Transcendence vs. Isolation


God brings Abraham out from among his family and sets him on a certain path.


When it comes down to it, everyone has to undergo his own exodus.  He not only has to leave the place that nurtured him and become independent, but has to come out of his own reserved self.  He must leave himself behind, transcend his own limits; only then will he reach the Promised Land, so to speak — the sphere of freedom, in which he plays his part in creation.

We have come to recognize this fundamental law of transcendence as being the essence of love.  And of course the act of one who loves me is an act of this type.  He has to bring me out of the comfortable inclination to stay within myself... Isolation is contrary to man's inmost inclination. 

If isolation means not being loved, being abandoned, being alone on one's own, this situation is indeed the fear underlying all our fears.  Thus we can see again that man is constructed from within, in the image of God, to be loved and to love.  At this point I believe we have to refer to man's being in the image of God.  God is love.  The essence of love portrays its own nature in the Trinity.  Man is in God's image, and thereby he is a being whose innermost dynamic is likewise directed toward the receiving and the giving of love.



Pope Benedict XVI. "Transcendence vs. Isolation." from God and the World: Believing and Living in Our Time (San Francisco, CA: Ignatius Press, 2002).

Reprinted with permission of Ignatius Press.

This excerpt appeared in Benedictus: Day by Day with Pope Benedict XVI.


The Author

Pope Benedict XVI is the author of Jesus of Nazareth, Vol II, Jesus of Nazareth, Vol I, Caritas in Veritate: Charity in Truth, Saved in Hope: Spe Salvi, God Is Love: Deus Caritas Est,The End of Time?: The Provocation of Talking about God, Truth and Tolerance: Christian Belief and World Religions, Without Roots: The West, Relativism, Christianity, Islam, Salt of the Earth: An Exclusive Interview on the State of the Church at the End of the Millennium, God and the World: Believing and Living in Our Time, In the Beginning: A Catholic Understanding of the Story of Creation and the Fall, The Spirit of the Liturgy, The Ratzinger Report: An Exclusive Interview on the State of the Church, Introduction to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, Introduction to Christianity, Called to Communion: Understanding the Church Today, Milestones: Memoirs 1927-1977, Behold the Pierced One, and God Is Near Us: The Eucharist, the Heart of Life.

Copyright © 2014 Ignatius Press
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