Joseph Ratzinger on Suffering

“Pain and disease can paralyze one as a human being. They can shatter one to pieces, not only physically, but also psychologically and spiritually. However, they can also smash down complacency and spiritual lethargy and lead one to find oneself for the first time. The struggle with suffering is the place of human decision-making par excellence. Here the human project becomes flesh and blood. Here man is forced to face the fact that existence is not at his disposal, nor is his life his own property. Man may snap back defiantly that he will nevertheless try to acquire the power that will make it so. But in so doing, he makes a desperate anger his basic attitude to life. There is a second possibility: man can respond by seeking to trust this strange power to whom he is subject. He can allow himself to be led, unafraid, by the hand, without Angst-ridden concern for his situation. And in this second case, the human attitude towards pain, towards the presence of death within living, merges with the attitude we call love.”

Joseph Ratzinger, Eschatology, 95-96.

Mother Teresa in "Her own words"

“Where is my faith?” . . . “Even deep down… there is nothing but emptiness and darkness. . . If there be God — please forgive me.” . . . “Such deep longing for God… Repulsed, empty, no faith, no love, no zeal,”
“What do I labor for?” . . . “If there be no God, there can be no soul. If there be no soul then, Jesus, You also are not true.”

Excerpts taken from letter’s written in her book as edited on CBS News (click to see full story).

From Vatican II

I was doing a little reading for church history and came across this nugget from Vatican II. Perhaps you’ve already seen this:

16. Finally, those who have not yet received the gospel are related in various ways to the People of God…the plan of salvation also includes those who acknowledge the Creator. In the first place among these there are the Moslems, who, professing to hold the faith of Abraham, along with us adore the one and merciful God, who on the last day will judge mankind. Nor is God Himself far distant from those who in shadows and images seek the unknown God, for it is He who gives to all men life and breath and every other gift (cf. Acts 17:25-28), and who as Savior wills that all men be saved (cf. 1 Tim 2:4).

Those also can attain to everlasting salvation who through no fault of their own do not know the gospel of Christ or His Church, yet sincerely seek God and, moved by grace, strive by their deeds to do His will as it is know to them through the dictates of conscience. Nor does divine Providence deny the help necessary for salvation to those who, without blame on their part, have not yet arrived at an explicit knowledge of God, but who strive to live a good life, thanks to His grace. Whatever goodness or truth is found among them is looked upon by the Church as a preparation for the gospel. She regards such qualities as given by Him who enlightens all men so that they may finally have life.”

This leaves me with two thoughts: Muslims worship the same God? And Catholics wonder why fervor for evangelism is so obviously missing?

"Anytime a Catholic converts to a fundamentalist Evangelical denomination, ‘Even the altar cries,’ and so should we."

The paper is trying to deal with this sentiment: “When we need a labor union we go to our parish priest; when we need the word of God we go to the Protestant pastor,”

Interesting to note thier understanding of the Church’s mission:

Thus, Evangelii Nuntiandi expresses a truth about the Church and her purpose, which is not new, but rather exists since the evangelistic mission of Christ himself and it is the continuing mission of the Church, which he established through the apostles, and the power of the Holy Spirit…The question becomes then, what exactly does the Church mean by “evangelization?” While the term is multivalent in terms of meaning and interpretation, the Church is clear in what it principally means:

During the Synod, the bishops very frequently referred to this truth: Jesus Himself, the Good News of God, was the very first and the greatest evangelizer; He was so through and through: to perfection and to the point of the sacrifice of His earthly life. To evangelize: what meaning did this imperative have for Christ? It is certainly not easy to express in a complete synthesis the meaning, the content and the modes of evangelization as Jesus conceived it and put it into practice. In any case the attempt to make such a synthesis will never end. Let it suffice for us to recall a few essential aspects. As an evangelizer, Christ first of all proclaims a kingdom, the kingdom of God; and this is so important that, by comparison, everything else becomes “the rest,” which is given in addition. Only the kingdom therefore is absolute and it makes everything else relative. The Lord will delight in describing in many ways the happiness of belonging to this kingdom (a paradoxical happiness which is made up of things that the world rejects), the demands of the kingdom and its Magna Charta, the heralds of the kingdom, its mysteries, its children, the vigilance and fidelity demanded of whoever awaits its definitive coming. (Evangelii Nuntiandi, 7 & 8)

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