“Go therefore and make disciples of all nations …” (Mt. 28:19). But the dynamism of this mission, this openness and breadth of the Gospel, cannot be revised to read: “Go into the world and become the world yourselves!” Go into the world and confirm it in its secularity!” The opposite is true. The holy mystery of God, the mustard seed of the Gospel, cannot be identified with the world but is rather destined to permeate the whole world. That is why we must find again the courage to embrace what is sacred, the courage to distinguish what is Christian – not in order to segregate it, but in order to transform it – the courage to be truly dynamic.”In an interview in 1975, Eugene Ionesco, one of the founders of the theater of the absurd, expressed this with all the passion of seeking and searching that characterizes the person of our age. I quote here a few sentences from that interview:
“The Church does not want to lose her clients, so wants to acquire new members. This produces a kind of secularization which is truly deplorable. … The world is going astray, the church is going astray in the world, priests are stupid and mediocre, happy to be only mediocre people like the rest, to be little proletarians of the left. I heard a parish priest in one church saying: ‘Let’s all be happy together, let’s shake hands all round … Jesus jovially wishes you a lovely day, have a good day!’ Before long there will be a bar with bread and wine for Communion; and sandwiches and Beaujolais will be handed round. It seems to me incredible stupidity, a total absence of spirit. Fraternity is neither mediocrity nor fraternization. We need the eternal; because … what is religion? what is the Holy? We are left with nothing; with no stability everything is fluid. And yet what we need is a rock.”
It seems to me that if we listen to the voices of our age, of people who are consciously living, suffering, and loving in the world today, we will realize that we cannot serve this world with a kind of banal officiousness. It has no need of confirmation but rather of transformation, of the radicalism of the Gospel.
Joseph Ratzinger in Co-workers of the truth: meditations for every day of the year (Ignatius Press, p. 303 – originally from Diener eurer Freude).
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