Monday, November 27, 2006

Pope Benedict XVI on Love and Truth's Invitation

Love and Truth does not impose. Love and Truth invites.

Don't bother grammar-checking me. I'm shamelessly ripping off Max Lucado to make his point.

God, Love and Truth himself, respects our free will. He offers. We choose to accept. Or not.

Pope Benedict reinforced this in his talk before his weekly praying of the Angelus:

"Answering the Roman governor's questions, Jesus affirms His kingship but says it is not of this world. He did not come to dominate peoples and lands, but to free mankind from the slavery of sin, and to reconcile him with God. And He added: 'For this ... I have come into the world, to bear witness to the truth'."

"But what is this 'truth'," the Holy Father asked, "to which Christ has come to bear witness in the world?" And he answered: "His entire existence reveals that God is love. This is, then, the truth to which He bore full witness with the sacrifice of His life at Calvary. The Cross is the 'throne' from which he demonstrated the sublime regality of God-Love. Offering Himself in atonement for the sin of the world, He defeated the dominion of 'the ruler of this world' and definitively established the Kingdom of God, a Kingdom that will be fully realized at the end of time, after all the enemies - and in the last instance, death - will have been defeated. Then the Son will consign the Kingdom to the Father and, finally, God will 'be everything to everyone.'

"The road to reach this goal," the Pope added, "is long and no shortcuts are allowed. Indeed, it is necessary for each individual to freely accept the truth of God's love. He is Love and Truth, and neither love nor truth ever impose themselves; they knock at the door of the heart and the mind and, where they are allowed in, they bring peace and joy. This is the way God reigns, this is His process of salvation, a 'mystery' in the biblical sense of the word, in other words a plan that is revealed little by little over history."

Misguided members of the Church--present and past--have ignored God's invitational nature. They thought they could coerce people into Faith, when God himself has always stretched out a hand, not a fist. The more malicious of those misguided members have even abused the misplaced efforts of their brothers, pursuing their own ambitions through inappropriate coercion.

Nevertheless, the truth remains. God calls us. He yearns for us. When we're honest, we realize we yearn for him, too. Our encounter with the mystery of his profound reality reveals to us the meaning we've always sought. Our discovery of the singular exception that is Christ opens us to the full experience of this mystery. We hunger for ultimate Reality. What a joy to realize he comes looking for us!

We can accept him and live the lives we've always wanted. We can reject him and try to nourish our starving selves on the same transient illusions. Either way, we begin to live our eternity in the wake of that decision. Yet while we live, we can always change our minds. For better or worst!

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