Saying ‘yes’ to God means giving up one’s own thoughts and accepting his. He does not look for the satiated, but those who are hungry to fill them with his possessions (Lk 1:53). He does not appreciate the powerful who sit on thrones but lowers himself to raise the lowly (Lk 1:52). He does not reward the righteous for their own merits, but makes himself the companion of the weak and introduces the tax collectors and prostitutes first in the kingdom.
News in Church
The vitality of the Church and, above all, the faith that animates her pastors and her faithful cannot be measured by numbers and statistics. Only God knows the mysterious and unique relationship that unites him to people who profess themselves Catholic. This is what constitutes the essence of the faith.
A certain spirituality has instilled in Christians 'the religion of merit,' which is equal to the religion of the Pharisees. It has been taught that we must do good because in this way we accumulate merit in Paradise. But this is not love, this is selfishness, it is thinking about ourselves. It is one of the conditions that Jesus sets for those who want to follow him: forget about yourself, think only on giving joy to your brother.
We should be grateful to Anne-Marie Pelletier for her recent book L’Église, des femmes avec des hommes, which collects and develops several lines of reflection on the relationship between women and men in the Church that she had already initiated in previous writings.
Over the last few decades China’s growing involvement in Africa has led many observers to point out that Chinese Christianity could benefit from this new proximity. In fact, the growing number of citizens from the Middle Kingdom who move to Africa encounter vibrant Christian communities. It appears that some of those Chinese have also embraced Christianity and taken it home with them.
We forgive ourselves with difficulty: we torment ourselves with remorse. We do not accept the humiliation of a weakness. We drag our fault behind as an unexploded, dangerously untriggered bomb. Only one who has a peaceful relationship with oneself is able to recognize one’s own mistake. He knows that a positive recovery from a bitter experience of sin is possible.
The community that boasts of its “heroes” and feels an unacknowledged rejection of sinners, considersthem ballast, dry branches, a “disgrace” for the whole family. It shows to have assimilated the criteria of this world, not those of God who is in love with the last and those who do not count. He declared his love to themost insignificant of the people, Israel, thus: “You are precious in my sight, and important—for I have loved you” (Is 43:4).
This week sees the start of a new school year, pandemic permitting, of course. It’s the perfect excuse to explore the role of medieval monasteries in education, or to be specific, the part monasteries played as providers of what we’d now call a secondary education (watch this space for a column on monks and universities).
Deny yourself means you stop thinking about yourself. It is the reversal of the principles in this world governing relations between people. It is the rejection of those that all believe to be positive stimuli because they push to action: the pursuit of one’s own interest, the will to achieve gratification, acknowledgments, and benefits. Even in the purest acts of love, there is often some veiled forms of selfishness and ambition.