St Paul speaks of the growth of the perfect man, who reaches the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ. We will no longer be children at the mercy of the waves, tossed to and fro and carried about by any wind of doctrine (cf. Eph 4:13-14). “Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him” (Eph 4:15). It is not possible to live in spiritual infancy, in an infantile faith: unfortunately, in this world of ours we see this infancy. Many have made no further progress after the first catechesis; perhaps the nucleus has remained, or perhaps it too has been destroyed. And, moreover, they are on the waves of the world and nothing else; they cannot, as adults, with skill and with profound conviction, explain and make present the philosophy of faith — so to speak — the great wisdom, the rationality of faith which also opens the eyes of others, which actually opens eyes to what is good and true in the world. Adulthood in faith is lacking and what remains is infancy in faith.
Of course in recent decades we have also experienced another use of the term, “adult faith”. People speak of an “adult faith”, namely, emancipated from the Magisterium of the Church. As long as I am under the mother I am a child, I must emancipate myself; emancipated from the Magisterium, I have finally reached adulthood. But the result is not an adult faith, the result is dependence on the waves of the world, on the opinion of the world, on the dictatorship of the media, of the opinion which is in all minds and which all want. This is not true emancipation, emancipation from the communion of the Body of Christ!
On the contrary, it is falling under the dictatorship of the wind and waves of the world. True emancipation is, precisely, freeing oneself from this dictatorship, in the freedom of God’s children who believe together in the Body of Christ, with the Risen Christ, and thus see reality and are able to respond to the challenges of our time.
It seems to me that we must pray the Lord often to help us to be emancipated in this sense, free in this sense, with a really adult faith which sees, which enables others to see and can also help them arrive at true perfection, and at true adulthood, in communion with Christ.
In this context there is the beautiful expression, aletheuein en te agape, being true in charity, living the truth, being truth in charity. The two concepts go hand in hand. Today the concept of truth is somewhat under suspicion, because truth is combined with violence. Unfortunately in history there have also been episodes in which an effort was made to defend truth with violence. But the two are in opposition.
Truth is not imposed with other means than itself! Truth can only come through itself, through its own light. However, we stand in need of truth; without truth we do not know the true values and how could we order the kosmos of values? Without truth we are blind in the world, we have no path. The great gift of Christ is precisely that we see the Face of God and, even though we see it enigmatically, very insufficiently, we know its basis, the essential of truth in Christ, in his Body. And in knowing this truth, we also grow in charity, which is the legitimation of the truth and shows us that it is truth.
I would say precisely that charity is the fruit of truth — the tree is known by its fruit — and if there is no charity, then truth is not adopted or lived either; and where truth is, charity comes into being. Thanks be to God, we see this in all the centuries; despite the negative factors, the fruit of charity has always been present in Christianity and still is today! We see it in the martyrs, we see it in numerous sisters, friars and priests, who humbly serve the poor and the sick, who are a presence of Christ’s charity. And in this way they are the great sign that the truth lies here.
vrijdag 9 maart 2012
Liefde is de vrucht van waarheid
Zeer mooie laatste deel Benedictus' toespraak aan het eind van de jaarlijkse ontmoeting van de bisschop van Rome met zijn pastoors, op 23 februari jl. (niet overslaan "omdat het in het Engels is"!):