donderdag 13 mei 2010

Wijsheid en ideaal

Enkele citaten uit de preken en toespraken van de paus dezer dagen in Portugal.

1. Uit de preek tijdens de H. Mis op het Terreiro do Paço van Lissabon, dinsdag 11 mei:
Often we are anxiously preoccupied with the social, cultural and political consequences of the faith, taking for granted that faith is present, which unfortunately is less and less realistic. Perhaps we have placed an excessive trust in ecclesial structures and programmes, in the distribution of powers and functions; but what will happen if salt loses its flavour?
2. Uit de toespraak tijdens een ontmoeting met vertegenwoordigers van de cultuur, Cultureel Centrum Belém, Lissabon, woensdag 12 mei:
Today’s culture is in fact permeated by a “tension” which at times takes the form of a “conflict” between the present and tradition. The dynamic movement of society gives absolute value to the present, isolating it from the cultural legacy of the past, without attempting to trace a path for the future. This emphasis on the “present” as a source of inspiration for the meaning of life, both individual and social, nonetheless clashes with the powerful cultural tradition of the Portuguese people, deeply marked by the millenary influence of Christianity and by a sense of global responsibility. This came to the fore in the adventure of the Discoveries and in the missionary zeal which shared the gift of faith with other peoples. The Christian ideal of universality and fraternity inspired this common adventure, even though influences from the Enlightenment and laicism also made themselves felt. This tradition gave rise to what could be called a “wisdom”, that is to say, an understanding of life and history which included a corpus of ethical values and an “ideal” to be realized by Portugal, which has always sought to establish relations with the rest of the world.
The Church appears as the champion of a healthy and lofty tradition, whose rich contribution she sets at the service of society. Society continues to respect and appreciate her service to the common good but distances itself from that “wisdom” which is part of her legacy. This “conflict” between tradition and the present finds expression in the crisis of truth, yet only truth can provide direction and trace the path of a fulfilled existence both for individuals and for a people. Indeed, a people no longer conscious of its own truth ends up by being lost in the maze of time and history, deprived of clearly defined values and lacking great and clearly formulated goals. Dear friends, much still needs to be learned about the form in which the Church takes her place in the world, helping society to understand that the proclamation of truth is a service which she offers to society, and opening new horizons for the future, horizons of grandeur and dignity. The Church, in effect, has “a mission of truth to accomplish, in every time and circumstance, for a society that is attuned to man, to his dignity, to his vocation. […] Fidelity to man requires fidelity to the truth, which alone is the guarantee of freedom (cf. Jn 8:32) and of the possibility of integral human development. For this reason the Church searches for truth, proclaims it tirelessly and recognizes it wherever it is manifested. This mission of truth is something that the Church can never renounce” (Caritas in Veritate, 9). For a society made up mainly of Catholics, and whose culture has been profoundly marked by Christianity, the search for truth apart from Christ proves dramatic. For Christians, Truth is divine; it is the eternal “Logos” which found human expression in Jesus Christ, who could objectively state: “I am the truth” (Jn 14:6). The Church, in her adherence to the eternal character of truth, is in the process of learning how to live with respect for other “truths” and for the truth of others. Through this respect, open to dialogue, new doors can be opened to the transmission of truth.
“The Church – wrote Pope Paul VI – must enter into dialogue with the world in which she lives. The Church becomes word, she becomes message, she becomes dialogue” (Ecclesiam Suam, 67). Dialogue, without ambiguity and marked by respect for those taking part, is a priority in today’s world, and the Church does not intend to withdraw from it. A testimony to this is the Holy See’s presence in several international organizations [...]
Precisely so as “to place the modern world in contact with the life-giving and perennial energies of the Gospel” (John XXIII, Apostolic Constitution Humanae Salutis, 3), the Second Vatican Council was convened. There the Church, on the basis of a renewed awareness of the Catholic tradition, took seriously and discerned, transformed and overcame the fundamental critiques that gave rise to the modern world, the Reformation and the Enlightenment. In this way the Church herself accepted and refashioned the best of the requirements of modernity by transcending them on the one hand, and on the other by avoiding their errors and dead ends. The Council laid the foundation for an authentic Catholic renewal and for a new civilization – “the civilization of love” – as an evangelical service to man and society.
Dear friends, the Church considers that her most important mission in today’s culture is to keep alive the search for truth, and consequently for God; to bring people to look beyond penultimate realities and to seek those that are ultimate. I invite you to deepen your knowledge of God as he has revealed himself in Jesus Christ for our complete fulfilment. Produce beautiful things, but above all make your lives places of beauty. May Our Lady of Belém intercede for you, she who has been venerated down through the centuries by navigators, and is venerated today by the navigators of Goodness, Truth and Beauty.
3. Uit de toespraak tijdens de viering van de vespers met priesters, religieuzen, diakens en seminaristen, H. Geestkerk, Fatima, woensdag 12 mei:
Fidelity to one’s vocation requires courage and trust, but the Lord also wishes that you join forces: that you be concerned for one another and support one another fraternally. Moments of common prayer and study, and sharing in the demands of the priestly life and work, are a necessary part of your life. It is a fine thing when you welcome one another into your homes with the peace of Christ in your hearts! It is important to assist one another with prayer, helpful advice and discernment! Be especially attentive to those situations where there is a certain weakening of priestly ideals or dedication to activities not fully consonant with what is proper for a minister of Jesus Christ. Then is the time to take a firm stand, with an attitude of warm fraternal love, as brother assisting his brother to “remain on his feet”.
4. Uit de toespraak bij het rozenkransgebed, kapel van de verschijningen, heiligdom van Onze Lieve Vrouw van Fatima, woensdag 12 mei:
Neither Mary nor we have a light of our own: we receive it from Jesus. His presence within us renews the mystery and the call of the burning bush which once drew Moses on Mount Sinai and still fascinates those aware of the light within us which burns without consuming us (cf. Ex 3:2-5). We are merely a bush, but one upon which the glory of God has now come down. [...]
God ordered Moses: “Take off your shoes, for the place on which you stand is holy ground” (Ex 3:5). And that is what he did: he would put his shoes back on to free his people from slavery in Egypt and to guide them to the promised land. This was not about the possession of a parcel of land or about the national territory to which every people has a right; in the struggle for the freedom of Israel and in the exodus from Egypt, what appears central is above all the freedom to worship, the freedom of a religion of one’s own. Throughout the history of the chosen people, the promise of a homeland comes more and more to mean this: the land is granted in order to be a place of obedience, a window open to God.
In our time, in which the faith in many places seems like a light in danger of being snuffed out for ever, the highest priority is to make God visible in the world and to open to humanity a way to God. And not to any god, but to the God who had spoken on Sinai; the God whose face we recognize in the love borne to the very end (cf. Jn 13:1) in Jesus Christ, crucified and risen. Dear brothers and sisters, worship Christ the Lord in your hearts (cf. 1 Pet 3:15)! Do not be afraid to talk of God and to manifest without fear the signs of faith, letting the light of Christ shine in the presence of the people of today, just as the Church which gives birth to humanity as the family of God sings on the night of the Easter Vigil.

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