Saturday, 28 September 2013

Knowing not just thinking

Pope Francis also said some words in a recent homily that I want to remember and live.
“Yes, you have to come to know Jesus in the Catechism – but it is not enough to know Him with the mind: it is a step. However, it is necessary to get to know Jesus in dialogue with Him, talking with Him in prayer, kneeling. If you do not pray, if you do not talk with Jesus, you do not know Him. You know things about Jesus, but you do not go with that knowledge, which He gives your heart in prayer.
There is also a third way to know Jesus: it is by following Him. "Go with Him, walk with Him."
“One cannot know Jesus without getting oneself involved with Him, without betting your life [on] Him. When so many people – including us – pose this question: ‘But, who is He?’, The Word of God responds, ‘You want to know who He is? Read what the Church tells you about Him, talk to Him in prayer and walk the street with him. Thus, will you know who this man is.’
And in a homily specifically to catechists that is well worth reading, he added: "God is the centre, but he always gives the gift of himself, he is a relationship, he is life which is passed on … This is what we become if we stay united with Christ; He draws us into this vortex of love. When Christ is truly present in one’s life, a person opens up to others, they come out of themselves and reach out to others in the name of Christ.”

It is, of course, easy to think we are doing this when things are going fairly well for us. But what is implied here without being spoken is that life is shot through with suffering – both our own, and that of others to whom we are called to reach out. It is hard to pray when in pain. That is why the Cross, and images of the Cross are so important in our lives, to remind us, to fix our gaze on him, to remind us of how to connect our suffering with his.

This was the real reason for having crucifixes as jewellery, in hospitals, in schools, in public places (even on street corners). So much will be lost in a secular society when those images are taken away – though the question has to be asked, did we appreciate, did we make use of them, did they stir us to prayer?

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