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Thursday, August 18, 2005

Return of the Mustard Seed

In my years of study, I have experienced two types of teachers who were effective in conveying their lesson. The first leads you by the hand and fills in the picture one detailed section at a time until the larger picture emerges. The second paints the large picture in broad strokes and then works in to produce the detailed version. John Paul the Great is of the second type. Pope Benedict, I think, is of the first, with each lesson a picture itself. In an address full of gems to the clergy of Aosta, here's one truffle quote that takes us back to a message before his elevation:

I am thinking of the Lord's Parable of the Mustard Seed which was so small and then became a tree so great that the birds of the sky build their nests in it. And I should say that these birds could be the people who are not yet converted but who at least perch on the tree of the Church. I have pondered on this: in the time of the Enlightenment, the time when faith was divided between Catholics and Protestants, people believed it was necessary to preserve the common moral values by giving them a firm foundation. They thought, "We must make the moral values independent of the religious denominations so that they can prevail 'etsi Deus non daretur' [even if there were no God]. "

Today, we are in an opposite situation; the situation has been reversed. There is no longer any proof of moral values. They become evident only if God exists. I have therefore suggested that lay people, the so-called laity, should think about whether the contrary might not be true for them today: We must live "quasi Deus daretur" [as if God exists], and even if we are not strong enough to believe, we must live on this hypothesis, otherwise the world will not function; and this, it seems to me, would be a first step to approaching faith. I also see in so many contacts that, thanks be to God, dialogue with at least part of the secular world is increasing.
The pieces are coming together.

(cap tip: Zenit)

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