Fr Ray: The Great Criterion Continued

Fourth Sunday In Lent Year C, Sunday 31 March 2019



Pope Francis in his pastoral letter ‘Gaudete Et Exultate (Rejoice and be Glad) speaks on the call to holiness for everyone in today’s world.


Paragraph 100–I regret that ideologies lead us at times to two harmful errors. On the one hand, there is the error of those Christians who separate these Gospel demands from their personal relationships with the Lord, from their interior union with him, from openness to his grace.


Christianity thus becomes a sort of NGO stripped of the luminous mysticism so evident in the lives of St Francis of Assisi, St Vincent de Paul, Teresa of Calcutta and many others.

For these great saints, mental prayer, the love of God and the reading of the Gospel in no way detracted from their passionate and effective commitment to their neighbours, quite the opposite.


Paragraph 101 – The other harmful ideological error is found in those who find suspect the social engagement of others, seeing it as superficial, worldly, secular, materialistic, communist or populist. Our defence of the innocent unborn, for example needs to be clear, firm and passionate, for at stake is the dignite of human life, which is always sacred and demands love for each person, regardless of his or her stage of development.


Equally sacred, however, are the lives of the poor, those already born, the destitute, the abandoned and underprivileged, the vulnerable infirm and elderly exposed to covert euthanasia, the victims of human trafficking, new forms of slavery and every form of rejection.


We cannot uphold an ideal of holiness that would ignore injustice in a world where some revel, spend with abandon and live only for the latest consumer goods, even as others look on from afar, living their entire lives in abject poverty.


Paragraph 107 – These who really wish to give glory to God with their lives, who truly want to grow in holiness, are called to be single-minded and tenacious in their practice of the works of mercy. St Teresa of Calcutta clearly realized this: ‘Yes I have many human faults and failures… But God bends down and uses us, you and me, to be his love and his compassion in the world; he bears our sins, our troubles and our faults. He depends on us to love the world and to show how much he loves it. If we are too concerned with ourselves, we will have no time left for others.’


Fr Ray Armstrong cm