Fr Pasquale Foresi: The Christian Meaning of Agape

How is possible to speak of the Christian God to someone who comes from another religious experience like Buddhism? Some thoughts by Pasquale Foresi commenting on the 12 points of the spirituality of unity: mutual love.

20140714_2Foresi points to some of the major aspects of the Christian understanding of God, underscoring how it also provides a new understanding of the human being. This new understanding translates into new life, not only personally but socially as well. Jesus – Foresi emphasises – is quite clear on this point: the love he asks of us regards both God and neighbour, every neighbour. The spirituality of unity strongly underscores and re-proposes one essential aspect of this love: reciprocity. If love is to be as God intends it to be, it must be reciprocal.

“When Jesus was close to death and wanted to summarize all the teachings he had given during his life, he uttered the simplest words that any thinker had ever formulated: ‘Love one another’ (Jn 15:12).

These words can be understood by anyone – the less educated, the scientist and the man of letters. These words are able to be translated in every language, able to penetrate every culture from East to the West. This is because love is the mystery that lies at the origins of the life among human beings. It is through the love of a man and a woman that children receive their life and the basic cell of society is born, the family. Furthermore, it is love between parents and children that permits physical and psychological growth and development. It is love that allows peaceful coexistence in civilian society. So those words of Jesus can be immediately grasped and understood by all.

Nevertheless, we often fail to grasp the full depth of their meaning. Those words contain the hidden mystery of being. If people of every sort and background are able to understand them, if they are relevant to the life of families and entire populations, it is because they contain a deep reality that concerns the very essence of God.

For us Christians, mutual love is what reveals the innermost being of God: God’s being Trinity; God’s being mutual love between Father, Son and Holy Spirit, each of whom is the One God.

This is why the new commandment of mutual love is a call to humanity, to live according to the model of the Trinity. This is the Christian significance of the word agape.”

Pasquale Foresi, Luce che si incarna. Commento ai 12 punti della spiritualita dell’unita (Rocca di Papa: Citta Nuova editrice, 2014) 46-47. From an address to Buddhist-Christian Symposium, April 2004, at Castel Gandolfo, Italy.




  1. Padraic Gerard Marian O'Sullivan

    I love this, this is the gospel , this is the ideal, all we have to do is live it! Padraic O’S.

  2. Edeltraud Strugholtz

    Grazie, Don Foresi! Sono parole che incantano l’anima, perchè esprimono il nostro dover e poter vivere, già qui in terra, a mo’ della Trinità. Cercando di viverle nell’incontro con popoli e culture diverse, sono poi proprio le diversità che diventano un arricchimento grandissimo e espressione di bellezza della Vita in Dio, Vita che un giorno, una volta arrivati da Lui, potremo vivere in pienezza.
    Edi, Kinshasa


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