January 05, 2003

Cardinal Ratzinger tackles a tough one
In his new book with Peter Seewald, the Cardinal is asked:

Q: The question is whether faith really makes us so much better, more merciful, more caring toward our neighbor...Let's take those people whom God has called to faith...Why is it that among monks and nuns we see so much bearing of grudges, so much envy and jealousy and such a lack of willingness to help?

A: This is indeed a most pressing question. There we can see once again that faith is not just there, but that it either withers or grows, that it either rises or falls on the graph. It is not just a ready-made guarantee, something one can regard as accumulated capital that can only grow. Faith is always given only in the context of a fragile freedom. We may wish it were otherwise. But just therein lies God's great gamble, which we find so hard to understand, that he has not given us stronger medicine.

Even if we are bound to notice inadequate patterns of behavior (behind which, of course, there is always a weakening of faith) within the world of those who believe, we cannot ignore the positive side of the account.

(He goes on to describe the many faith-filled people whose actions more closely follow their Christianity.)

--Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, God and the World

Makes sense to me. It's been said that God is a "just in time" God; he gives us our daily Bread, rather than a longer-term supply. A daily recommitment is necessary. I'd never heard faith compared to a graph but it comports to reality and would also help explain the "Situation" concerning wayward priests.

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