Wednesday, April 21, 2010

True Liberation

Here's an excerpt from Pope Benedict XVI's impromptu homily which he gave to the Pontifical Biblical Commission last Thursday, April 15th.
Obedience to God has the primacy.

Here it is important to emphasize that this is a matter of obedience, and that it is precisely obedience that gives freedom. The modern age has spoken of the liberation of man, of his full autonomy, and therefore also of liberation from obedience to God. It is said that obedience should no longer exist, man is free, he is autonomous: nothing else. But this autonomy is a lie: it is an ontological lie, because man does not exist on his own and for himself, and it is also a political and practical lie, because collaboration, the sharing of freedom, is necessary. And if God does not exist, if God is not an imperative accessible to man, what remains as the supreme imperative is only the consensus of the majority. As a result, the consensus of the majority becomes the last word, which we must obey. And this consensus - we know this from the history of the last century - can also be a "consensus in evil."

So we see that so-called autonomy does not truly liberate man. Obedience to God is freedom, because it is the truth, it is the imperative that stands before all human imperatives. In the history of humanity, these words of Peter and of Socrates are the true beacon of liberation for man, who is able to see God and, in the name of God, can and must obey not so much men, but Him, and thus free himself from the positivism of human obedience. The dictatorships have always been against this obedience to God. The Nazi dictatorship, like that of Marxism, cannot accept a God who stands above ideological power; and the freedom of the martyrs, who recognize God precisely in obedience to divine power, is always the act of liberation by which the freedom of Christ comes to us... is important that we be told where Christ arrives, and where we must also arrive: hypsosen - on high - ascending to the right hand of the Father. Following Christ is not only an imitation of his virtues, it is not only living in this world, as much as we are able, as Christ did, according to his word, but it is a journey that has a destination. And the destination is the right hand of the Father. There is this journey of Jesus, this following of Jesus that ends at the right hand of the Father. It is to the horizon of this following that the entire journey of Jesus belongs, including his arrival at the right hand of the Father.

In this sense, the destination of this journey is eternal life at the right hand of the Father in communion with Christ. Often today we are afraid of talking about eternal life. We talk about things that are useful for the world, we show that Christianity also helps to improve the world, but we do not dare to say that its true destination is eternal life, and that it is from this destination that the criteria of life come. We must again come to understand that Christianity remains a "fragment" if we do not think about this destination, that we want to follow the archegos to the height where God is, to the glory of the Son who makes us sons in the Son, and we must again come to recognize that only in the grand perspective of eternal life does Christianity reveal all of its meaning. We must have the courage, the joy, the great hope that eternal life exists, it is true life and from this true life comes the light that also illuminates this world.
This excerpt echoes what I've been reading in my post-Easter recovery in Christ in His Mysteries by Bl. Columba Marmion.
It was from highest heaven, "a summo coelo," that He arose, like the sun: and it was to this sublime summit that He went up again--up to the highest heaven, "ad summum ejus." This coming forth, like the sun from the heavens, is His eternal dawn in the heart's-embrace of the Father: "I came forth from the Father." His return is His ascension to the Father: "I leave the world and go to the Father."

But he does not go up unaccompanied. This giant was sent to seek lost humanity: He regains it; and, in an embrace of love, bears it away with Him along the course He runs, so as to place it near Him in the heart's-embrace of the Father: "I ascend to my Father, who is also your Father." I go there to "prepare a place for you"--a place in "my Father's house."

Such is the work of this divine giant: to bring back fallen humanity into the heart's-embrace of the Fahter, to the divine source of all bliss, by giving it back the grace of adoption through His life and His sacrifice.
Beautiful! Where are you going?

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