127. The love of friendship is called “charity” when it perceives and esteems the “great worth” of another person.(Cf. Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologiae I-II, q. 26, art. 3) Beauty – that “great worth” which is other than physical or psychological appeal – enables us to appreciate the sacredness of a person, without feeling the need to possess it. In a consumerist society, the sense of beauty is impoverished and so joy fades. Everything is there to be purchased, possessed or consumed, including people. Tenderness, on the other hand, is a sign of a love free of selfish possessiveness. It makes us approach a person with immense respect and a certain dread of causing them harm or taking away their freedom. Loving another person involves the joy of contemplating and appreciating their innate beauty and sacredness, which is greater than my needs. This enables me to seek their good even when they cannot belong to me, or when they are no longer physically appealing but intrusive and annoying. For “the love by which one person is pleasing to another depends on his or her giving something freely”.(Ibid., q. 110, art. 1)
After a springboard supplied by Thomas Aquinas, Pope Francis offers a familiar theme, tenderness. When a person annoys me: note how people of modern society behave. Unfriending on one of that most consumerist of media, facebook. Gossip and threats. Wishes for as well as actions toward someone that impinge on an individual’s freedoms.
Remember that Amoris Laetitia is online here.