Class 1 of the University of the Acting Person.

 

As I feel my way along here, let me offer this take on the pope in Krakow on Saturday July 30 (2016) as the point. I am back in New York now. Francis voiced this statement: “Jesus directs us to a one-way street: that of going forth from ourselves.  It is a one-way trip, with no return ticket.  It involves making an exodus from ourselves, losing our lives for his sake and setting out on the path of self-gift.”  His mouthing the great transformation that must take place in our thinking: “making an exodus from ourselves.”

Let me back up to the great point. Pre-revelation thought always worked within the sensible perception of the world. What else was there? But Old Testament Genesis offers that God made the world “from nothing.” That means from no existing thing. That means that He is no thing. It means that He is not A Being. He is not even The Supreme Being. It forces the mind to see – not knowing what it is saying – that God is sheer existence, which St. Thomas formulated as Ipsum Esse: the dynamic act of all acts that gives to everything that is, the act of “to be.”

That means that God is beyond every kind of knowing that is about a being. That is we cannot name God as we name things. We cannot sense God, and we cannot name Him as we name things. And this makes sense of Mt. 11, 27 where Christ says that no one knows the Son except the Fat her, and no one knows the Father except the Son. And him to whom the Son reveals Him. So, you cannot know God except by becoming God.

But then, the Son became man. And we are men. And we can know a man by doing what he does and experiencing in ourselves what he does. That is, He experiences Himself by dioing x and y, and we experience ourselves doing x and y. If I know myself experientially by doing, then by transference I know Him. And if the other is a divine Person, then by doing what He does, I can be divine in myself – in my experiencing –  and know Him by knowing myself.

Therefore, we can know God in Himself experientially. And in passing, recall that Christ said “This is eternal life, that they know you the one true God, and him whom you have sent” (Jn. 17, 3). In the light of this, consider the following report on the pope yesterday. Tip: as Christ is “out self” as divine Person, if you go out self, you become Christ and know Christ. And  since I and the Father are one (Jn. 10, 30), you will know the Father and can cry out: Abba. Read:

 Not Sure How to Seek God? Hand Him Your Resistance, Says Pope

Pope Francis this morning lived out this Jubilee of Mercy he has proclaimed for the Church, crossing a holy door at the Shrine of John Paul II in Krakow, hearing the confessions of a handful of young people, and celebrating Mass for Polish priests and religious, encouraging them to “draw life from [God’s] forgiveness in order to pour it out with compassion on our brothers and sisters.”

The Pope this evening will celebrate the prayer vigil of World Youth Day before Sunday’s closing Mass with more than a million youth expected to participate in the final events of WYD.

At today’s Mass, the Holy Father reminded his fellow priests and consecrated persons and seminarians that “Jesus directs us to a one-way street: that of going forth from ourselves.  It is a one-way trip, with no return ticket.  It involves making an exodus from ourselves, losing our lives for his sake and setting out on the path of self-gift.”

Furthermore, the Pope added, Jesus doesn’t like “journeys made halfway, doors half-closed, lives lived on two tracks.  He asks us to pack lightly for the journey, to set out renouncing our own security, with him alone as our strength.”

This life of service to others, Francis explained, has no “closed spaces or private property for our own use.”

A priest, a consecrated person, does not choose where he lives or where they are sent; they don’t put their security in wealth or worldly power, he said.

“They love to take risks and to set out, not limited to trails already blazed, but open and faithful to the paths pointed out by the Spirit.  Rather than just getting by, they rejoice to evangelize.”

Searching and finding

Francis also reflected on the apostle named in today’s Gospel: Thomas.

Somewhat stubborn, and a bit like us, “we find him likeable,” the Pope remarked.

Thomas, he said, gives us a great gift: “he brings us closer to God, because God does not hide from those who seek him.”

Drawing from Poland’s St. Faustina, the Holy Father offered some concrete advice for following in Thomas’ footsteps and seeking the Lord.

“For us who are disciples, it is important to put our humanity in contact with the flesh of the Lord, to bring to him, with complete trust and utter sincerity, our whole being.  As Jesus told Saint Faustina, he is happy when we tell him everything: he is not bored with our lives, which he already knows; he waits for us to tell him even about the events of our day (cf. Diary, 6 September 1937).  That is the way to seek God: through prayer that is transparent and unafraid to hand over to him our troubles, our struggles and our resistance. Jesus’ heart is won over by sincere openness, by hearts capable of acknowledging and grieving over their weakness, yet trusting that precisely there God’s mercy will be active.”

The Pontiff suggested that Thomas’ prayer when he “found” Jesus, “My Lord and my God,” — these “magnificent words” — would be a good prayer for each day … “to say to the Lord: You are my one treasure, the path I must follow, the core of my life, my all.”

Writing the Gospel

Finally, Pope Francis recalled an image he has offered before, drawing from the final verse of John’s Gospel, which says that the book of the gospel does not contain the “many other signs that Jesus worked.”

“There is room left for the signs needing to be worked by us, who have received the Spirit of love and are called to spread mercy,” the Pope suggested. “It might be said that the Gospel, the living book of God’s mercy that must be continually read and reread, still has many blank pages left.  It remains an open book that we are called to write in the same style, by the works of mercy we practise.”

“Let me ask you this,” Francis said. “What are the pages of your books like?  Are they blank?  May the Mother of God help us in this.  May she, who fully welcomed the word of God into her life give us the grace to be living writers of the Gospel.”

 

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