March 27, 2013

From Cardinal Ratzinger's Co-Workers of the Truth...

The simple faith of simple souls merits the respect, the reverence of the preacher, who has noright simply to pit his intellectual superiority against a faith which has remained simple and which, by its simple and intuitive comprehension of the Faith as a whole, can, in some cases, understand the essence of that Faith more profoundly than is possible for a reflective faith that is fragmented by division into systems and theories. In my view, what is fundamental here is the insight that the transition from the Old to the New Testament actually took place in the faith of simple souls: it was the anawim (“the poor”) who associated themselves neither with the liberalism of the Sadducees nor with the literal orthodoxy of the Pharisees. Because of their simple intuitive comprehension of the Faith, their lives were based on an absolute confidence in its promise and precepts and so became the locale in which the Old Testament could be transformed into the New Testament: Zechariah, Elizabeth, Mary, Joseph, Jesus himself. The “faith of the poor” continues to be the most precious treasure of the Church, about which Jesus spoke these weighty words: “If any of you put a stumbling block before one of these little ones who believe in me [that is, destroys his faith by your intellectualism], it would be better for you if a great millstone were hung around your neck and you were thrown into the sea” (Mk 9:42). This text is not (as one might judge from the context in Matthew) about children whose innocence one should not destroy; nor is sexual scandal the immediate theme of these words. The “little ones who believe” are, rather, the simple individuals who believe simply and as simple persons. It is about the faith of these little people, the ordinary people, the poor, that Jesus is speaking.

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