Monday, April 16, 2012
Pope Benedict XVI birthday
Today as I write this post Pope Benedict SVI is celebrating his 85th birthday! April 19th is the seventh anniversary of his election as Pope. We give thanks for his fatherly guidance of the church and recall some of the words of wisdom he has shared over the years. On April 18th, the day before his election, he gave a stirring homily that is worth remembering. I included excerpts here: "How many winds of doctrine we have known in recent decades, how many ideological currents, how many fashions of thinking...the small boat of thought of many Christians has often been tossed about by these waves, thrown form one extreme to the other: for Marxism to liberalism, even to libertinism; from collectivism to radical individualism; from atheism to a vague religious mysticism; from agnosticism to syncretism, and so forth. Every day new sects are created, and what St Paul says about human trickery comes true, with a cunning that tries to draw people into error. Having a clear faith, based on the Creed of the Church, is often labeled as fundamentalism, whereas relativism, which is letting oneself be tossed and swept along by every wind of teaching, looks like the only attitude acceptable to today's standards. We are moving toward a dictatorship of relativism that does not recognize anything as certain and that has as its ultimate standard one's own ego and one's own desires. However, we have a different standard: the Son of God, true man. He is the measure of true humanism. Being an 'adult' means having a faith that does not follow the waves of today's fashions or the latest novelties. A faith that is deeply rooted in friendship with Christ is adult and mature. It is this friendship that opens su up to all that is good and gives us the knowledge to judge true from false and deceit from truth. We must become mature in this adult faith; we must guide the flock of Christ to this faith. And it is this faith-faith alone-that creates unity and is realized in love. On this theme, St. Paul offers us some beautiful words. In contrast to the continual ups and downs of those who are like infants tossed by waves, he says that we must perform the truth in lov.' This is the basic formula for the Christian existence. In Christ, truth and love merge. Love without truth would be blind; truth without love would be like a 'resounding gong or a clanging cymbal (1 Cor 13:1)" What he is saying is that unchanging truth does not chanbe. If something was immoral in one era it is not moral in the next. We see this on many issues of morality in popular culture. We pray for Pope Bendict XVI on his birthday and on the anniversary of his papal succession. We also pray for awareness of, and adherence to, the dynamic truth proclaimed by Jesus Christ and the Catholic Church.