Friday, July 20, 2012


In addition to reading Harry Potter in German, I also acquired a copy of Pope Benedict XVI's Licht der Welt: Der Papst, die Kirche, und die Zeichen der Zeit. (Light of the World: The Pope, The Church, and the Signs of the Times)

The Holy Father is a remarkably gifted communicator and his German is very clear. Thus, it wasn't a burden to spend the better part of today reading his responses to interviewer Peter Seewald's questions. Over and over again, I was struck by the depth of the Pope's spiritual life, his love of the Church and humanity, and his commitment to sharing Christian joy with an increasingly cynical world. Following up on what I wrote the other day about remaining in the Catholic Church, I would like to share the following quote:
Der heilige Augustinus hat schon zu seiner Zeit gesagt: Es sind viele draußen, die drinnen zu sein scheinen; und es sind viele drinnen, die draußen zu sein scheinen. 
Saint Augustine said in his day: There are many outside, who appear to be inside; and there are many inside, who appear to be outside. 
There are very many of us who feel like outsiders in the Church. Yet we stay, not because it is easy, not because it's always fun, but because we know that we need the Church, we need her in all of her graces and shortcomings, because we need Jesus Christ. We need the one who made the deaf hear, the lame walk, the blind see, who restored life to the dead, the one who Himself conquered Death. We need the one who feeds us with his own life and gives us the command to go out and share his life with the world. In these dark times, we need the light of the world.

If Jesus is the light, then the Church is the lantern that lets the light shine forth. By its nature, the lantern conceals some of the light and needs, always, to be cleaned and fixed in order that it do its job well. By itself, without the light, the lantern is basically useless. Yet what greater sign is there for the weary traveler than the welcoming light that greets his eyes, the light that guides him to refuge, the light that signals that here there is life, that here there is welcome, that here there is refuge.

Each of us must live up to our baptismal call to promote the light. Do we, ourselves, act as good vessels for the light? Do we have the courage to 'cleanse' ourselves and by our example to challenge others to do the same? Can we, as a Church, recall that we are servants of Christ's light and live up ever more fully to this vocation? Can we come together and cast this light into the darkness, drawing from far and wide those pilgrims who are in need of rest and refreshment? Do we have the courage to claim our space within the Church, to find sustenance at the Table, and to be the Church we want to see?

Do we have the courage to be worthy of being called Christians? 

1 comment:

Barbara said...

When German is well written -- as I am sure the Pope's German is and, by the way, as is the Frankfurter Allgemeine -- I found it almost physically pleasurable to read. Pedantic German, like its English counterpart, is another story.

When I lived in Germany, aside from reading newspapers, magazine, textbooks, I tasked myself with getting through Steppenwolf. I got through it, despite the struggles you described. Eventually, I read it in English and was astonished that it felt like I was re-reading the book. I also learned that what appeared to be confusing German (I suspected Hesse was making the language up as he went along) were images of the protagonist's hallucinations.

I appreciate what you write about the Church. Many of us need this kind of encouragement to continue.