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


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.

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


二零二一年 八月  第三百五十七期

平 之 嘉理陵神父




二零二一年 八月《和平》




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