Thursday, 26 September 2013

Simple, profound, radiant (Spadaro interview)

In his wonderful interview with Antonio Spadaro SJ, the best comment on which can be found here, Pope Francis said,
"The proposal of the Gospel must be more simple, profound, radiant. It is from this proposition that the moral consequences then flow.... A beautiful homily, a genuine sermon must begin with the first proclamation, with the proclamation of salvation. There is nothing more solid, deep and sure than this proclamation. Then you have to do catechesis. Then you can draw even a moral consequence. But the proclamation of the saving love of God comes before moral and religious imperatives."
The heart of the Good News is that God is love (=Trinity), that Jesus is God as well as Man, that he allowed himself to be killed horribly in order to save us from oblivion (that is, out of his love for us individually and collectively) and that he returned to life and ascended to heaven so that we could follow. But people tend to react by saying, well OK, but not so fast. Once I know what you want me to do and not do in this life, as a result of believing this nice story, then I'll think about it.

The Pope doesn't want us to play that game. The love of God comes first. The "story" comes first. We can only make sense of our lives using stories. All of us tell them, all of us believe them. They may be stories we have made up, or stories that have been imposed upon us. We reinforce their strength in our lives by an interior monologue or conversation that hardly ever stops. We may cast ourselves as hero or villain or victim, but it is based on a selective choice of material and doesn't correspond to the full reality, which only God knows. The story God tells is more complete, and it can't be disproved, though many have tried. If we want meaning, then this one has it all.

The "moral and religious imperatives" Francis speaks of are a consequence only in the sense that we will accept them as a way of defending the meaning of the story. If the story is "true" – if it conveys the greatest possible meaning to our lives, and therefore if it is is "simple, profound, radiant" – then we will want to live that way. Better that way than any other. Then we might at last try to stop that interior conversation, or change it. The Jesus Prayer is one way.

Illustration courtesy of via Wikipedia.

No comments:

Post a Comment