EG 178: Confession of Faith and Commitment to Society

Vasnetsov_Maria_MagdalenePope Francis, in Evangelii Gaudium, cites Saint John Paul in this discussion on “Confession of faith and commitment to society.” Human dignity:

178. To believe in a Father who loves all men and women with an infinite love means realizing that “he thereby confers upon them an infinite dignity”.[JOHN PAUL II, Message to the Handicapped, Angelus (16 November 1980): Insegnamenti, 3/2 (1980), 1232]

The incarnation has a consequence:

To believe that the Son of God assumed our human flesh means that each human person has been taken up into the very heart of God. To believe that Jesus shed his blood for us removes any doubt about the boundless love which ennobles each human being. Our redemption has a social dimension because “God, in Christ, redeems not only the individual person, but also the social relations existing between (people)”.[Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church, 52]

The Word became flesh, and therefore, any being in the flesh possesses that “infinite” dignity. It’s not just a matter of the Incarnation, but also the abiding presence of the Holy Spirit. Again Pope John Paul teaches:

To believe that the Holy Spirit is at work in everyone means realizing that he seeks to penetrate every human situation and all social bonds: “The Holy Spirit can be said to possess an infinite creativity, proper to the divine mind, which knows how to loosen the knots of human affairs, even the most complex and inscrutable”.[JOHN PAUL II, Catechesis (24 April 1991): Insegnamenti, 14/1 (1991), 853]

Turning back to evangelization, the topic of the day, we are reminded that salvation is not something of our own doing. The divine liberation promised by God and fulfilled in Christ is something with which we cooperate. We don’t engineer it for ourselves, or for those specially chosen by us:

Evangelization is meant to cooperate with this liberating work of the Spirit. The very mystery of the Trinity reminds us that we have been created in the image of that divine communion, and so we cannot achieve fulfilment or salvation purely by our own efforts. From the heart of the Gospel we see the profound connection between evangelization and human advancement, which must necessarily find expression and develop in every work of evangelization. Accepting the first proclamation, which invites us to receive God’s love and to love him in return with the very love which is his gift, brings forth in our lives and actions a primary and fundamental response: to desire, seek and protect the good of others.

A full cooperation with God implies we adopt the same openness as the Almighty.

About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in the Pacific Northwest, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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