ConAltriOcchi blog – 以不同的眼光看世界-博客

"C'è un solo modo di vedere le cose finché qualcuno non ci mostra come guardare con altri occhi" – "There is only one way to see things, until someone shows us how to look at them with different eyes" (Picasso) – "人观察事物的方式只有一种,除非有人让我们学会怎样以不同的眼光看世界" (毕加索)


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When praying say Father

For nearly two millennia Christian prayer was within the daily rhythms of individual and social life, had its deadlines, its rituals, its prescriptions, but also its hypocrisy. For example, we can think to the medieval rite of Carroccio. In that period, the Italian municipalities, before joining a battle, deployed a wagon on which the Eucharist was celebrated, and immediately afterwards war began killing each other. This example reminds us that symbols and rites are not enough to identify prayer.

Jesus’ words say what prayer is. Jesus gives us the model of prayer, a simple thing, that in its simplicity casts light on our often complicated way of praying. Praying means recognizing our needs and our fragility to be creatures. In fact, strong and superb men do not pray but rather they are praying. Prayer then expresses humility before God and in front of other men. “When you pray, say, Father” is the simple imperative of Jesus. All the prayers of Jesus begin with this word Father. With God we have not to use the words of His divinity (eg the omnipotent). The word divine and human is Father, because Jesus has come to restore the relationship between the Father and us children in the Son. Jesus then gave us a single guarantee as a fruit of prayer; The Father will give the Holy Spirit. What does the Spirit need? The Spirit is the love of the Father and of the Son for each of us. God responds to our prayers by not leaving us the laws to obey and by giving his Spirit, guiding us infallibly in our daily lives. In this regard, the liturgy today offers two significant verses:

“I must go down and see whether or not their actions fully correspond to the cry against them that comes to me. I mean to find out “(Gen 18,21). We have to learn looking at our personal history, and we have to see the world with the eyes of the Spirit and not with those of the law. We find every day that confidence and serenity that the Lord promised us giving His Spirit.

In Christ, God also gave life to us, “obliterating the bond against us, with its legal claims, which was opposed to us, he also removed it from our midst, nailing it to the cross (Col 2:14). We ask the Lord in prayer to help us to remove the prescriptions that humiliate man and are a barrier to mercy. Be humble  people who are preventing mercy, appealing to pseudo-doctrine or to a pseudo-tradition that instead represents men’s precepts as Jesus told. These people are not able to pray and do not know how to love.

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The Spirit breaks in to dissipate the fear of the world

Fr. Francesco Pesce

The Cenacle, where the Apostles had witnessed of the Supper of the Lord, where on many occasions they had gathered together to listen to His Word, becomes now a refuge, a bolt-hole, “for fear of the Jews” – as the Evangelist John recalls. And as the Acts tells us: When the time for Pentecost was fulfilled, they were all in one place together” (Acts 2,1).

It is worth remembering that in Jerusalem, the Apostoles did not have many friends, they had challenged the religious and political power, they were considered by most as fanatics followers of one of the many messianic sects in existence in those days. They risked their own lives purely for preaching that Jesus was the Son of God who had truly died and resurrected. Indeed, the Acts soon recount of the first martyr, Stephen, stoned to death.

So what are today’s fears which shut in our groups? Leaving aside the Church of martyrs, which we well know exits and resists to date in many parts of the world, we notice that in the Church and among many Christians is strong the temptation to withdraw in an elitarian faith, often even sectarian, pushing out the world, which is considered as evil, as the enemy to be scared of and to judge rather than love. It sometimes happens that our faith, our Christian community, our ecclesial group, rather than being a place of friendship and announcement of the Gospel, transforms itself into an unbeatable fortress, where those inside judge those outside keeping them out. A “Church that goes forth” according to the teaching of Pope Francis means not to be afraid and not to judge, but quite the contrary be strong in faith and widen the borders of brotherhood.

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Image: Pentecost by He Qi

 

It is precisely in this climate of fear and closure that the Spirit breaks in. “And suddenly there came from the sky a noise like a strong driving wind, 2 and it filled the entire house in which they were” (Acts 2,2) In that closed cenacle room filled with fear, the Spirit breaks in, acts and transforms it, changes the heart of those disillusioned men, and creates a new brotherhood as far out as to the edge of the earth. That is why everybody was able to hear others speak in their own native language – the Acts reminds us.

Even today the Spirit calls us to look forward, open the boundaries of our heart and listen to the Word. The Gospel is not a script to copy and the Church is not a museum to protect. In its origin, the Cristian community had the courage to welcome in its bosom the non-circumcised, by being inspired by the Holy Spirit. That Church also had the audacity to write down the Good News and had been a pilgrimage to the end of the known World. It is up to ourselves today to pass on in the same way “the Gospel we have received”, without fear, without shame, and everywhere we go in this globalised world. “The Advocate, the holy Spirit that the Father will send in my name – he will teach you everything and remind you of all that (I) told you” (John 14,26).

It is not an easy task to bear witness to the Church of the Pentecost as it is the Church of joy (as the blessed Pope Paul VI reminded us) but also the Church of martyrdom. Do not be fooled in thinking you will not have to pay a price, even personal. Quite the opposite, living the Gospel of the “sacred gestures” locked in the sacristy or hidden behind the smoke of incense is undoubtedly easier. The Spirit instead calls us to embark onto the paths of life, and walk along the way (odos) as the Gospel is called in the Acts of the Apostles. The most difficult language will be that spoken by those we come across with, those we are dealing with, those who are against us, perhaps in the belief they are acting for the good. The Spirit will teach us also this language.