Posted by: matt25 | November 7, 2013

Thankful For A Relationship That Cannot Be Reduced

Many of my friends on Facebook are posting things they are thankful for each day during November. I think that is a wonderful thing and in that spirit I will say that I am thankful for friends who post thought provoking and well written articles like Fr. John Mack Jr. did today. His comments above the link to “The Unfinished Symphony of the Composer Francis” said it contained excellent insights. I wholeheartedly agree. I encourage you to read the entire piece but here are a few excerpts which I will continue to meditate on in the days ahead.


“Mysticism, in the broader theological sense, is the disposition within the human spirit to receive the lights and movements of the Holy Spirit caused by an activity distinct from the ordinary human one. These lights and movements activate the gifts of the Holy Spirit already infused by God within the soul. The mystical life, thus understood, is nothing other than habitual docility to the Spirit of God.”
So this was Saint Ignatius: a mystic, before an ascetic.
And this is Pope Francis. In order to understand his actions, Ignatian mysticism is an indispensable key of interpretation.

It was said of Toscanini that he began a piece with its musical “logic” firmly established in his mind and the execution became a seamless unfolding of that logic. In contrast, Furtwängler’s style resembled an ongoing conversation among players and parts, gradually building toward a dramatic, sometimes surprising, conclusion.
Pope Francis’s invocation of Furtwängler, in his now much commented upon interview, rekindled that old memory. Francis’s preferential option for “narrative,” “discernment,” and the “mystical” seems more in harmony with the German conductor than with the Italian. Paradoxically, the style of his German predecessor, Benedict XVI, with his emphasis on logos, seems more attuned to Toscanini. Of course, both conductors (as both popes) respect and serve the same canonical texts. The notes are the same, though the accents and rhythms may noticeably vary.

…placing the pope’s remarks in the genre of conversation may serve as a better guide for their ongoing interpretation. The conversation transpired between two believers, two fellow Jesuits, who share a commitment, vision and common language. However, it is being overheard by a world avid to detect any hint of change in church teaching, but that is often deaf to the deeper language of faith. Thus, we see the predictable fixation by the secular media upon the issues of abortion and gay marriage—the very subjects that they charge portions of the hierarchy with obsessing over.

Finally, a comment that harmonizes with my personal journey of faith and is witnessed to in my many relationships formed through the Cursillo Movement.

Like Benedict XVI, Francis insists that Christianity cannot be reduced to a moral code. It is preeminently about relationship with a person: the person of Jesus Christ.


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