PRAYING WITH THE CHURCH

7/31/2021 3:12:32 PM
August 2021

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INTENTION :  Let us pray for the Church, that She may receive from the Holy Spirit the grace and strength to reform herself in the light of the Gospel.


Guided by the Holy Spirit


The renewal of integrity in the Church requires more than individual pieces of reform: it requires broad and deep cultural shifts. The key question is what might provide such a renewal


A principal aspect of a satisfactory answer to that question is the ongoing discernment of God's desires for God's people must become the norm for the Christian community. Broadly speaking, the life of the Christian community is the obligation to be responsive to God's Holy Spirit at the heart of the Church.


The Spirit promotes only what is conducive to God's reign and the good of God's people.


Every aspect of the Church's life must continually find its rationale in relation to the Discernment of the Spirit. Thus we review:
·  how we interpret the Scriptures,
·  about our forms of worship,
·  about the goals we set for our structures
·  and the ministries at every level of the Christian community.


Discernment of the Spirit


Discernment is the opposite of idolatry. As Pope Francis describes it, discernment "is not a solipsistic self-analysis or a form of egotistical introspection, but an authentic process of leaving ourselves behind in order to approach the mystery of God" for the sake of our mission in the world (Gaudete et Exsultate, # 175).


Practice of Discernment


In urging the members of the Church to cultivate the practice of discernment, Pope Francis stresses that discernment "is not a matter of applying rules or repeating what was done in the past. The same solutions are not valid in all circumstances, and what was helpful in one context may not prove so in another.


The discernment of spirits liberates us from rigidity, which has no place before the perennial 'today' of the risen Lord. The Spirit alone can penetrate what is obscure and hidden in every situation, and grasp its every nuance so that the newness of the Gospel can emerge in another light" (Gaudete et Exsultate, # 173).


God's Grace linked to the Church


We believe God's Grace is inextricably linked to the Church and sustains the Church's mission in history. The Church longs for the community of faith to be a transparent witness to that Grace, to be a community that reflects thoroughly and consistently the boundless compassion, justice, and reconciliation expressive of the God of Jesus Christ. Even more! We long for that to be true of all of us, every day and in our every action.


The reality of the Church is, of course, otherwise. Nor are the failures of the Church a new story. Nor have the Church's sins remained only within its own community but have indisputably brought about the sufferings of others. That truth is one that we must never seek to escape or deny.


A future for the Church that offers an alternative to self-deception, and a future in which the Christian community might become less equivocal in its witness to all that God enables, will not be the product simply of our will-power, or even our best desires.


Instead, it can come only from recovering the hope we have in the crucified and risen Christ, the hope "that does not disappoint us, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us" (Rom 5:5). This hope is not a soft option.


As a Church, we must not turn away from the devastation that clerical sexual abuse and episcopal malfeasance have caused we must remember it with the intent to reform our community and its ministry.


We must also, all of us without exception, open our hearts and actions to the transformation that God's Spirit seeks and empowers. Here, we see the radical nature of hope, indeed its poverty, in the face of all that it cannot control. Here, we understand why Christian hope cries out for others and ourselves to the God who alone can heal what human beings have broken.


RICHARD LENNAN
Professor of Systematic Theology
in Boston College's School of Theology and Ministry
and Professor Ordinarius.


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二零二一年 八月  第三百五十七期

平 之 嘉理陵神父


願教會領受聖神的恩寵與力量,能在福音的光照中革新。


有愛教會的人,都會因為察覺到她的缺失,她的偏離福音精神,而心裏剌痛。賴天主的慈愛眷顧,也總會有人能化悲痛為協助教會改革,重回福音正軌的積極力量。只可惜,有些改革者選擇離開教會,另起爐灶,也許是誤以為教會只能從外進行改革。真正忠於教會,並蒙啟迪之恩的改革者,通常都是聖人,例如:聖方濟各.亞西西、聖伯納.克理弗、聖依納爵.羅耀拉,以及許許多多的其他人,而他們通常都是無名士。


宗方濟各選擇成為教會的改革者,並明白革新需要祈禱和聖神啟迪,所以,他邀請我們同他一起祈禱。願教會藉著天主的恩寵,能更符合耶穌的福音意願;因為革新教會,是神聖的任務,不單純是人願意將她變成自己心目中的模樣。

二零二一年 八月《和平》

正義與仁愛

自梵蒂岡第二屆大公會議,教會和幾個修會團體及其他組織都強調正義是基督徒的美德,還有了一個類似口號的說法:「履行公義的信仰」。為正義而奮鬥,尤其為窮人及邊緣人伸張正義,當然是我們的基督徒信仰不可或缺的部分。但正如為任何一端教義都是一樣的:若誇大其詞,或只有一腔熱情,會使人看不見一些不幸的後果。言過其實,或只有激情,通常會使人傾向於忘記仁愛或基督徒的愛,尤其我們必須要將耶穌在祂的新誡命中對我們的要求:「你們該彼此相愛;如同我愛了你們」(若13:34),與聖若望的權威斷語放在一起︰「天主竟這樣愛了世界,甚至賜下了自己的獨生子」(若3:16)。

在1960-1970年代,一些倫理神學家開始重新強調:「愛」是所有倫理神學的最高法則。未能像耶穌愛我們那樣彼此相愛而導致不愉快的情況出現時,若追溯過去再訴諸正義是無濟於事的;除非清楚確認,最大的不公義,是故意拒絕像耶穌那樣去愛,甚或故意拒絕本於人性去體恤關懷。我們永遠都不可忘記聖保祿的嚴正聲明︰「現今存在的,有信、望、愛這三樣,但其中最大的是愛」(格前13:13)。保祿又斷定:「愛與真理同樂」(格前13:6),教我們想起耶穌親口說的、我們經常引用的:「真理必會使你們獲得自由」(若8:32)。沒有真理和愛,沒有正義可言。

耶穌會士
嘉理陵神父

theology.org.hk
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