–– Sito di FORMAZIONE PERMANENTE MISSIONARIA –– Uno sguardo missionario sulla Vita, il Mondo e la Chiesa A missionary look on the life of the world and the church –– VIDA y MISIÓN – VIE et MISSION – VIDA e MISSÃO ––
But the saints are never the kind of killjoy spinster aunts who go in for faultfinding and lack all sense of humor. (Nor should the Karl Barth who so loved and understood Mozart be regarded as such).
For humor is a mysterious but unmistakable charism inseparable from Catholic faith, and neither the “progressives” nor the “integralists” seem to possess it – the latter even less than the former.
Both of these tend to be faultfinders, malicious satirists, grumblers, carping critics, full of bitter scorn, know-it-alls who think they have the monopoly on infallible judgment; they are self-legitimizing prophets – in short, fanatics. (The word comes from fanum, “holy place”, i.e., it denotes guardians of the temple threshold, transported into frenzy by the Divinity. They are ill-humored, as was Jansenism in toto, which spread like a blight, for centuries, over the spiritual life of France. Perhaps Claudel and Bernanos were the first to be completely free from it). And naturally they are critics before all else.
Having thoroughly criticized the pure, the practical and the judging reason, there is nothing left of reason but criticism itself, the real “thing-in-itself” that grinds up everything that comes between its millstones – all thinking about God, the language in which it is expressed, every form of proclaiming the message (Fichte began his career with an attempt at a critique of all revelation), and every recognizable feature of the Church itself, is a contradiction in terms. Whatever is, should not be or it should be otherwise; “changing the world” – that is the secret password of these humorless hard-liners.
They are rigid, while the Catholic is pliable, flexible, yielding, because the latter’s firmness is not based on himself and his own opinion but on God, who is the “ever-greater.”
They are either fanatically “come of age” (the Progressives) or fanatically immature (the integralists who clamor for the tangible exercise of papal authority and elevate to the status of dogma things that are not, such as Communion on the tongue and all kinds of apparitions of the Mother of God, etc.). Just as the fanatics who insisted on the soli of the Reformation were condemned, by an iron law of the philosophy of history, to bring about the very opposite of what they intended and thus fall prey to the schizophrenia of dialectics, so today the elements on the fringe of Catholicism, progressivism and integralism, are forever metamorphosing into each other, dialectically provoking each other into existence.
True enough, not everyone in the Catholic Church is what he should be: holy. And not all possess the balance that we have indicated by the reference to humor.
“I feel like a millionaire who has lost ten pounds”. These words, spoken by a Spanish journalist in an interview after becoming tetraplegic owing to a traffic accident, made a deep impact on me and raised questions in my mind.
How can a person going through such adverse circumstances react so courageously and have such a positive attitude? We all know people who struggle in the midst of life’s storms, beaten by crashing waves, who yet remain capable of delighting in the smallest details and maintaining a tough spirit and positive attitude. Their example inspires us and their determination is contagious.
On the other hand, why do some people always look dissatisfied and seem to live ‘drenched in a permanent complaint’? This was the case for the Romanian philosopher Emil Cioran, who even wrote a book with a very eloquent title: Syllogisms of Bitterness.2 In one of his thoughts he says: “The secret of my adaptation to life? I have changed from one type of despair to another as often as I have changed my shirt.”
How does one explain the difference between these two reactions? What’s the secret? Can we do something to achieve a minimum level of ‘happiness’ in the midst of the pain caused by chronic suffering? Can we avoid bitterness when touched by the thorns of life? The answer to these questions introduces us to the climax of our study…
by Fr Augusto Zampini Davies
Each year we prepare a month in advance, for our Christmas celebration. This time is called “Advent”, in latin “ad-venire”, in Spanish “lo/el que viene”, in English “the coming of someone or something”. But there are two ways in which we can prepare and celebrate Christmas. One way is to live it as a circular time, meaning something that is repeated and commemorated (ok, Christmas again… cool). The other way is to live it as a horizontal or linear time meaning, a time in which every year something absolutely new is happening (Christ is coming to us, to me, to the world… wow!) …