Thursday, December 12, 2013

Taking Francis seriously: Gaudete in Domino semper

This post deals with paragraphs 4, 5, 6 and 7 of Evangelii Gaudium. I don't think I have done anything better than expand on Francis's very good work here so you'd be better off reading the relevant sections of the exhortation again rather than my commentary below.

There are Christians whose lives seem like Lent without Easter.
A friend recent told me of the travails of a couple of traditionalist Catholics and their fight against the post-Vatican 2 reforms. As a result of two decades struggle, their marriage foundered, one of them lost their faith and the other became a supporter of the SSPX, their children are bitter and unhappy and they have no friends left. After describing this, my friend says, "They paid a tremendous price for fighting for their values."

Well, I suppose they did but if fighting for you "values" (whatever that is supposed to mean) leaves you miserable, then they either weren't worth fighting for or you went about it the wrong way.

As I said in response to a comment yesterday, my mother taught my sisters and I that we were morally obligated to strive to be happy. She never read a word of Aquinas in her life but she understood.

It's a lot like being in love. Our culture treats this as a feeling that comes as a product of other things. But love (along with hope and faith) is something you have to pray for and then work for. So is happiness or, to use a better word, blessedness. You have to believe that God can do this for you. And I can't make it conditional on other stuff—I'll be happy if church politics goes my way or I meet someone to marry or I get a good job or whatever.
I never tire of repeating those words of Benedict XVI which take us to the very heart of the Gospel: “Being a Christian is not the result of an ethical choice or a lofty idea, but the encounter with an event, a person, which gives life a new horizon and a decisive direction”

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