Friday, December 13, 2013

Taking Francis seriously: Santa Lucia!

This is a commentary on paragraph 8 of Evangelii Gaudium.

When last we  heard from Francis, he was quoting Benedict to the effect that the basis of Christianity is an encounter with a person.
Thanks solely to this encounter – or renewed encounter – with God’s love, which blossoms into an enriching friendship, we are liberated from our narrowness and self-absorption. We become fully human when we become more than human, when we let God bring us beyond ourselves in order to attain the fullest truth of our being. Here we find the source and inspiration of all our efforts at evangelization. For if we have received the love which restores meaning to our lives, how can we fail to share that love with others?
I quote the whole paragraph this time because there isn't a single original thought in that paragraph. I mean that as praise. Francis is a very back-to-basics guy and you can really see it here. You can trace this teaching all the way back to the first letters of Paul, and Paul is the very first Christian writer. The message is: Christ will do something wonderful for us by coming to us and we can and should change as a result.

And the key point is that we prepare for this by being receptive.
Though he was in the form of God,
Jesus did not deem equality with God
something to be grasped at.
And so Francis says that, "we let God bring us beyond ourselves". In other words, don't try to make it happen. Be receptive and open. Or, to put it in valley talk, "Try being, you know, ready to actually experience this stuff for real".

Think about how much of what the common culture means by "inner life" is the exact opposite of what Francis talks about here. So often we hear of an inner life as a place to retreat to, to get away from the world. How different it is if we think of looking side not to find ourselves but find someone else, Jesus.

It is Santa Lucia today. Think of the light in the darkness but don't try to be the light. If the light is real, it will come to you.

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