A curious way of speaking of the Reign of God and of salvation; what do you make of it?
10. This kingdom and this salvation, which are the key words of Jesus Christ’s evangelization, are available to every human being as grace and mercy, and yet at the same time each individual must gain them by force – they belong to the violent, says the Lord,[Cf. Mt 11:12; Lk 16:16] through toil and suffering, through a life lived according to the Gospel, through abnegation and the cross, through the spirit of the beatitudes. But above all each individual gains them through a total interior renewal which the Gospel calls metanoia; it is a radical conversion, a profound change of mind and heart.[Cf. Mt 4:17]
Force? I don’t see the initiation of violence as being part of citizenship in God’s Reign. I think a believer’s efforts include expressions in the realm of the physical and the material. I know persecution confronts believers–they don’t even need to go looking for it. I think we personally grapple with aspects of the spiritual life. And sometimes we fall–even literally.
Metanoia, the radical conversion? That seems right to me. What do you see in this passage?
Posted by catholicsensibility under Miscellaneous  Comments
I saw this feature at RNS today, on a priest who set aside three years in ordained ministry and who found love and eventually family life after he left. A few lines in the article struck me. First this one illustrative of the hermeneutic of silence:
(W)hen he did find a job at a Catholic high school, his bosses told him, as a condition of his employment, he couldn’t mention his time as a priest nor why he left the priesthood.
Interesting. Are we hushing up situations in which people leave, in good standing, not having been involved in any sort of scandal? Gerry Murphy makes it clear he discerned and left ministry. Only then did he pursue relationships with women. That seems a most honorable way of conducting oneself.
Mr Murphy takes a shot in turn:
I think the future of the church is in small, basic communities. The Catholic Church is stuck. It’s not relevant to where people are in their walk today. I don’t have any bitterness. I’ve just outgrown it.
Small, basic communities are not incompatible with the institution or its many aspects: parishes, hierarchy, groups, religious communities, and so forth. Mr Murphy was trained by a system (seminary) to be a system man (priest). It seems to be he’s still carrying some of that baggage. I do think that many people identify with the Church as an institution, and take great comfort in that. I dare say they find grace in it too. That’s not to say that the Church doesn’t require reform and renewal, or that institution-aligned folks may not need personal reform or metanoia.
Inculturation: one of the guiding themes of Vatican II, but in application, not always an easy affair:
§ 40 § The rich history of Catholic worship space traces a path through every people and place where the liturgy has been offered. Innumerable monasteries, cathedrals, and parish churches stand as witnesses to an organic growth of the liturgical and devotional life of the Church throughout the world. Since the Church is not wedded to a single architectural or artistic form, it seeks to engage the genius of every time and place, to craft the finest praise of God from what is available. (SC 123; GIRM 289) The rich dialogue between the Church’s liturgy, as a singular expression of divine revelation, and a local culture is an essential ingredient in the evangelization of peoples and the celebration of the Roman Catholic liturgy in a given time and place. The liturgy is proclaimed, celebrated and lived in all cultures in such a way that they themselves are not abolished by it, but redeemed and fulfilled.(CCC 1201-1206; Catechesi Tradendae 53)
§ 41 § Inculturation is the incarnation of the Christian message within particular cultures which have their own sense, artistic expressions, vocabulary and grammar, and conceptual frameworks.(Catechesi Tradendae 53) All ancient and modern evangelizing strategies in art and architecture are acts of inculturation to enable church buildings to proclaim the creative and redemptive meaning of the Gospel in every time and place.
It’s a bit curious that the US Bishops reference Catechesi Tradendae, a catechetical document, and not Varietates Legitimae (see sidebar here), a liturgical document. At any rate, Pope John Paul II does give a lengthy discursion on inculturation in the 53rd section of his 1979 apostolic exhortation. The section it cited in its entirety by the US bishops. I won’t cite it; I’ll send you to the Vatican link to read it there. One of the Holy Father’s points is that Christianity developed in a certain cultural milieu, and we can’t dismiss that aspect of human culture any more than we can ignore the culture receiving the Gospel. The revelation of God is broader than mere human culture. I think we must also keep in mind potential flaws in inculturation historically. Even if some cultural aspect was adopted, say, seventeen centuries ago it doesn’t mean it might not have been an error for that time, or a poor fit in ours. And the cultures in which we live are the ones in which the opportunity for redemption and fulfillment still exists. We cannot save ancient Rome, pre-Islam Africa, or the first millennium Middle East.
All texts from Built of Living Stones are copyright © 2000, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Inc. All rights reserved. Used with permission.