Spiritual Life: December 2009 Archives

The Holy Father's annual address to the Roman Curia -the Cardinals and bishops resident in Rome and other officials of the Roman Curia who assist him in his governance of the Universal Church-- took place yesterday. In it the Pope points to some notable concerns that he thinks that ought to be the concern of all of us who believe faith is central our lives. Namely, belief and unbelief, doubt and certainty and freedom with regard to God and humanity's search for God. In my humble opinion, this papal address should be an essential point in any diocesan, parish or ecclesial movement's pastoral plan in 2010 and beyond. In part the Holy Father said,

Even the people who describe themselves as agnostics or atheists must be very important to us as believers. When we talk about a new evangelization, these people may become afraid. They do not want to see themselves as an object of mission, nor do they want to renounce their freedom of thought or of will. But the question about God nonetheless remains present for them as well, even if they cannot believe in the concrete nature of his attention to us. 

Benedict addresses Roman Curia 2009.jpg
In Paris, I talked about the search for God as the fundamental motive from which Western monasticism was born, and with it, Western culture. As the first step in evangelization, we must try to keep this search alive; we must take pains that man not set aside the question of God as an essential question of his existence. Take pains that he accept this question and the longing concealed within it.

Here I am reminded of the words that Jesus quoted from the prophet Isaiah, that the temple should be a house of prayer for all peoples (cf. Isaiah 56:7; Mark 11:17). He was thinking about what was called the court of the gentiles, which he cleansed of extraneous business so that it could be the space available for the gentiles who wanted to pray to the one God there, even if they could not take part in the mystery, for service of which the interior of the temple was reserved.

A place of prayer for all peoples: by this was meant the people who know God, so to speak, only from afar; who are dissatisfied with their gods, rites, myths; who desire the Pure and the Great, even if God remains for them the "unknown God" (cf. Acts 17:23). They needed to be able to pray to the unknown God, and so be in relation with the true God, although in the midst of obscurities of various kinds.

I think that the Church should also open today a sort of "court of the gentiles" where men can in some manner cling to God, without knowing him and before they have found the entryway to his mystery, which the interior life of the Church serves. To the dialogue with the religions it must above all add today a dialogue with those for whom religion is something foreign, to whom God is unknown, and who nonetheless would not like simply to remain without God, but at least to approach him as the Unknown.

How do you define faith?

| | Comments (0)
Faith, whether by word or by sign, opens the eyes and ears of the heart. Those who believe are said to see and to hear because faith is a light and a word.

It is a light, in accordance with what the apostle says: God, who told the light to shine out of the darkness, has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ (2 Cor 4:6).

The time that God told the light to shine out of darkness was when he called us from darkness to his own wonderful light (I Peter 2:9), when he dispersed the darkness of ignorance and said: let there by light, and there was light (Gen 1:3).

Faith is a word, in accordance with what the apostle James says: Receive the inborn word with meekness. (James 1:21). The word inborn because when God speaks within, it is implanted in our heart. The apostle speaks of this when he says: But what does the scripture say? The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart (Rom 10-8; Deut 30:14).

The Commendation of Faith
Baldwin of Forde, a 12th century Cistercian Abbot

World AIDS Day.jpg

God of our weary years, God of our silent tears, O Good and gracious God, you are the God of health and wholeness.

In the plan of your creation, you call us to struggle in our sickness and to cling always to the cross of your Son. Father, we are your servants. Many of us are now suffering with HIV or AIDS.

We come before you, and ask you, if it is your holy will, to take away this suffering from us, to restore us to health and to lead us to know you and your powerful healing, love of body and spirit.

We ask you also to be with those of us who nurse your sick ones. We are the mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, children, and friends of your suffering people. It is so hard for us to see those whom we love suffer. You know what it is to suffer. Help us to minister in loving care, support, and patience to your people who suffer with HIV and AIDS.

Lead us to do whatever it will take to eradicate this illness from the lives of those who are touched by it, both directly and indirectly. Trusting in you and the strength of your Spirit, we pray these things in the name of Jesus. Amen.

About the author

Paul A. Zalonski is from New Haven, CT. He is a member of the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation, a Catholic ecclesial movement and an Oblate of Saint Benedict. Contact Paul at paulzalonski[at]yahoo.com.



Humanities Blog Directory

About this Archive

This page is a archive of entries in the Spiritual Life category from December 2009.

Spiritual Life: November 2009 is the previous archive.

Spiritual Life: January 2010 is the next archive.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.