Monday, March 22, 2010

Think & Pray

In a message resonant to all Catholic leaders within the Church and apostolates of the laity, the Holy Father teaches us of the centrality of these two essential principles of spiritual leadership, in this article from Chiesa.

An excerpt.

“Benedict XVI has taught it to the faithful in a general audience, against those who call for a new beginning for Christianity, without hierarchy or dogmas. The secret of good governance, he said, is "above all to think and to pray"

“ROME, March 18 – Few have noticed it, but in the thick of the storm that has battered the Catholic Church in the wake of the scandal presented to the "little ones" by some of its priests, Joseph Ratzinger has faced the challenge in a way uniquely his own. With a surprising lesson on the theology of history, not without references to his own experience as theologian and pope….

“At the center of the lesson stands Bonaventure of Bagnoregio, doctor of the Church, one of the first successors of Saint Francis as head of the order he founded.

“And this is the first of the autobiographical features. Because it was precisely on Saint Bonaventure's theology of history that the young Joseph Ratzinger published, in 1959, his thesis for certification to teach theology, which has recently been republished.

“The novelty of this early text was that it compared, for the first time, Saint Bonaventure's theology of history with the highly influential version of Joachim of Fiore.

“Joachim of Fiore has had a tremendous influence on both Christian and atheist thought, in his own century and in later ones, up until our own time. Thirty years ago, the theologian Henri De Lubac dedicated a two-volume study to this influence, entitled: "La posterit√© spirituelle de Joachim de Flore."

“When today, in reaction to the scandal of some priests, appeals come again for an epochal, radical purification of the Church, a new Council to be a "new beginning and rupture," a spiritual Christianity made up of the bare Gospel without any more hierarchies or dogmas, what is being invoked if not the age of the Spirit proclaimed by Joachim of Fiore?

“In his lesson last March 10, Benedict XVI described and made accessible with rare clarity the contrast between Joachim and Bonaventure. He showed how Joachim's utopia found fertile ground in Vatican Council II to reproduce itself once again, successfully opposed, however, by the "wise helmsmen of Peter's barque," by the popes who were able to defend simultaneously the novelty of the Council and the continuity of the Church.

“It's a small step from spiritualism to anarchy, Benedict XVI warned. That's the way it was in Saint Bonaventure's century, and that's the way it is today. In order to be governed, the Church needs hierarchical structures, but these must be given a clear theological foundation. This is what Saint Bonaventure did in governing the Franciscan order. For him, "to govern was not simply a task but was above all to think and to pray. At the base of his government we always find prayer and thought; all his decisions resulted from reflection, from thought illumined by prayer."