sussidio 3 December 2018
From the WORD of GOD
Jesus spoke the following parable to some people who prided themselves on being upright and despised everyone else.
10 ‘Two men went up to the Temple to pray, one a Pharisee, the other a tax collector. 11 The Pharisee stood there and said this prayer to himself, “I thank you, God, that I am not grasping, unjust, adulterous like everyone else, and particularly that I am not like this tax collector here. 12 I fast twice a week; I pay tithes on all I get.” 13 The tax collector stood some distance away, not daring even to raise his eyes to heaven; but he beat his breast and said, “God, be merciful to me, a sinner.”
14 This man, I tell you, went home again justified; the other did not. For everyone who raises himself up will be humbled, but anyone who humbles himself will be raised up.’ (Lk 18:9-14)
From the DOCUMENTS of the CHURCH
Here I would like to mention two false forms of holiness that can lead us astray: gnosticism and pelagianism. They are two heresies from early Christian times, yet they continue to plague us. In our times too, many Christians, perhaps without realizing it, can be seduced by these deceptive ideas. Let us take a look at these two forms of doctrinal or disciplinary security that give rise “to a narcissistic and authoritarian elitism, whereby instead of evangelizing, one analyses and classifies others, and instead of opening the door to grace, one exhausts his or her energies in inspecting and verifying. In neither case is one really concerned about Jesus Christ or others”(35). “Gnostics” think of the intellect as separate from the flesh, and thus become incapable of touching Christ’s suffering flesh in others, locked up as they are in an encyclopaedia of abstractions(37). Certainly this is a superficial conceit: there is much movement on the surface, but the mind is neither deeply moved nor affected (38). This ideology can be present within the Church, both among the laity in parishes and teachers of philosophy and theology in centres of formation (39).It can become all the more illusory when it masks itself as a disembodied spirituality. For gnosticism “by its very nature seeks to domesticate the mystery”, whether the mystery of God and his grace, or the mystery of others’ lives (40). When somebody has an answer for every question, it is a sign that they are not on the right road. They may well be false prophets. God infinitely transcends us; he is full of surprises. Someone who wants everything to be clear and sure presumes to control God’s transcendence (41). The same power that the gnostics attributed to the intellect, others now began to attribute to the human will, to personal effort. This was the case with the pelagians and semi-pelagians. Now it was not intelligence that took the place of mystery and grace, but our human will (48). Those who yield to this pelagian or semi-pelagian mindset, “ultimately trust only in their own powers and feel superior to others because they observe certain rules or remain intransigently faithful to a particular Catholic style”(49). Once we believe that everything depends on human effort as channelled by ecclesial rules and structures, we unconsciously complicate the Gospel and become enslaved to a blueprint that leaves few openings for the working of grace (59).
(Gaudete et Exultate, Apostolic Exhortation of the Holy Father Francis)
From the WRITINGS of Blessed A. ROSMINI
Is it possible for a moment that you can attribute to me the view that the renewal of souls can come from mere cold ideas or particular notions, rather than from the grace of Jesus Christ? The very idea horrifies me. In how many places in my works have I said that all the knowledge in the world avails nothing for eternal salvation, and that this can only come from the power and grace of Jesus Christ crucified? How often have I stated that simplicity of heart and even a certain innocent ignorance is more blessed than human wisdom, since those who are simple and ignorant sometimes have a firmer faith, and since the grace of God is communicated more readily to those who are humble?… I have never done other than inculcate piety — the piety which is all that I myself desire for its own sake, and which I regard as my sole good. God knows that I have never asked him for knowledge, I have every day prayed to him for the conversion of my heart and the amending of my defects, as well as to be ignored and despised by men. (A.L .Vol. II, let.143, p.45, translated and edited by John Morris IC ; to Don Pietro Rigler at Trent from Marco, near Rovereto, 25 August 1835)
Do we fancy ourselves to be wise? Let us never do so, but rather repeat always in our hearts what Solomon said: Surely I am too stupid to be human: I do not have human understanding. I have not learned wisdom, nor have I knowledge of the holy ones. (Pr 30: 2,3). How can a wretched man, however much he knows, think highly of himself? This reflection alone is enough to banish from us any temptation to be envious or to look down on those who know less than ourselves… May the Holy Spirit fill you all with himself, with love, gentleness and perfect union. What I want is charity, not learning. I have a great dread of learning, but an immense love for charity. Oh, may knowledge never be a cause of division among us; may charity build us up and make us one in Jesus Christ our Lord. (A.L. Vol. II, let.157, p.206; to Don Antonio Rey at Prior Park in England, Rovereto 1 December 1835)
LET US PRAY
Yahweh guides a strong man’s steps and keeps them firm; and takes pleasure in him.
Wisdom comes from the lips of the upright,
and his tongue speaks what is right;
the law of his God is in his heart,
his foot will never slip.
The upright have Yahweh for their Saviour. (Ps 37)
PASTORAL YEAR 2018 – 2019
INSTITUTE OF CHARITY
ROSMINIAN SISTERS OF PROVIDENCE
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