Dear Brothers and Sisters,
Recently I was experiencing a certain sadness at how “few” seem interested in growing spiritually. Today I came across a portion of an Address written by Pope Emeritus (Benedict XVI). In his “simple and profound way”, he expressed a “special joy” that went deep into my soul. Here is the excerpt I read and the underlined portion which especially blessed me:
“The risen Lord instructed his apostles, and through them his disciples in all ages, to take his word to the ends of the earth and to make disciples of all people,” retired Pope Benedict wrote. "‘But does that still apply?’ many inside and outside the church ask themselves today. ‘Is mission still something for today? Would it not be more appropriate to meet in dialogue among religions and serve together the cause of world peace?’ The counter-question is: ‘Can dialogue substitute for mission?’
“In fact, many today think religions should respect each other and, in their dialogue, become a common force for peace. According to this way of thinking, it is usually taken for granted that different religions are variants of one and the same reality,” the retired pope wrote. "The question of truth, that which originally motivated Christians more than any other, is here put inside parentheses. It is assumed that the authentic truth about God is in the last analysis unreachable and that at best one can represent the ineffable with a variety of symbols. This renunciation of truth seems realistic and useful for peace among religions in the world.
“It is nevertheless lethal to faith. In fact, faith loses its binding character and its seriousness, everything is reduced to interchangeable symbols, capable of referring only distantly to the inaccessible mystery of the divine,” he wrote.
The address emphasized that the proclamation of Jesus Christ is not about gaining “as many members as possible for our community, and still less in order to gain power. … We speak of him because we feel the duty to transmit that joy which has been given to us”. (-- delivered on October 21, 2014 to faculty and students of Pontifical Urbanian University in Rome)