instruere...inlustrare...delectare Disputations

Friday, November 19, 2010

There is no greater priority than this

The second paragraph of the introduction of Verbum Domini is a bite of lettuce many people will skip over in their hunger for something meaty.* But if there's nothing particularly new in it, there's still something particularly important. I think it can be put this way:
The Christian life is a beautiful and joyful encounter with Jesus Christ Himself, an encounter both personal and communal, and this truth must be communicated to the world.**
And, really, whatever doesn't in some way come from this and return to this isn't worth a bent pin.

* "Lettuce": Anodyne filler in a religious text, as in, "Let us come together to recommit anew...."

**Here's the paragraph. Italics in original; bolding (apart from the heading) is mine:
That our joy may be complete

Before all else, I would like to call to mind the beauty and pleasure of the renewed encounter with the Lord Jesus which we experienced during the synodal assembly. In union with with the Synod Fathers, then, I address all the faithful in the words of Saint John in his first letter: "We proclaim to you the eternal life which was with the Father and which was made manifest to us – that which we have seen and heard we proclaim also to you, so that you may have fellowship with us; and our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ" (1 Jn 1:2-3). The Apostle speaks to us of hearing, seeing, touching and looking upon (cf. 1 Jn 1:1) the word of life, since life itself was made manifest in Christ. Called to communion with God and among ourselves, we must proclaim this gift. From this kerygmatic standpoint, the synodal assembly was a testimony, before the Church and before the world, to the immense beauty of encountering the word of God in the communion of the Church. For this reason I encourage all the faithful to renew their personal and communal encounter with Christ, the word of life made visible, and to become his heralds, so that the gift of divine life – communion – can spread ever more fully throughout the world. Indeed, sharing in the life of God, a Trinity of love, is complete joy (cf. 1 Jn 1:4). And it is the Church's gift and unescapable duty to communicate that joy, born of an encounter with the person of Christ, the Word of God in our midst. In a world which often feels that God is superfluous or extraneous, we confess with Peter that he alone has "the words of eternal life" (Jn 6:68). There is no greater priority than this: to enable the people of our time once more to encounter God, the God who speaks to us and shares his love so that we might have life in abundance (cf. Jn 10:10).