*使徒的勧告「GAUDETE ET EXSULTATE(喜びなさい、大いに喜びなさい)-現代世界における聖性への呼びかけ」(全文・第一章翻訳終了・二章、三章、四章翻訳部分掲載中)

*使徒的勧告「GAUDETE ET EXSULTATE-現代世界における聖性への呼びかけ」*(全文・「カトリック・あい」試訳中)

1.「喜びなさい、大いに喜びなさい」(マタイ福音書5章12節)。イエスはご自分のために迫害され、侮辱される人々に、このように言われました。主は、私たちのすべてを求められますが、その見返りに、真のいのち、私たちが創られた目的である幸せを、私たちにくださいます。主は私たちに聖なる者であることを望まれます。私たちが当たり障りのない、平凡な生き方に満足することを願っておられません。聖性への呼びかけは、聖書の最初のいくつかのページにあります。主のアブラハムに対する言葉で、こう表現されています-「あなたは私に従って歩み、全き者となりなさい」(創世記17章1節)

2.これから申し上げることは、聖性に関する論文-この重要な課題の理解を助ける定義や区別、あるいは聖化のさまざまな方法についての議論-を意図していません。私の控えめな目的は、聖性への呼びかけを-現代に合った実際的な仕方で、危険、挑戦そして機会とともに-改めて行うことです。それは、主が私たち一人ひとりを、ご自分の前で「聖なる者、汚れのない者にしよう」(エフェソの信徒への手紙1章4節)と、お選びになったからです。

第一章 聖性への呼びかけ

 *私たちを励まし、同行してくださる聖人たち

3.「ヘブライ人への手紙」は、私たちを「自分に定められている競走を忍耐強くは知りぬく」(12章1節)よう励ます、たくさんの言明をしています。アブラハム、サラ、モーセ、ギデオン、その他の人々について語っています(11章1節-12章3節参照)。そして何よりも、「おびただしい証人の群れ」(12章1節)が、目標に向かって常に前進するよう私たちを駆り立てていることを認識しなさい、と私たちに呼びかけているのです。このような証人たちには、私たちの母、祖母、その他の愛する人たちも含まれるでしょう(テモテの手紙2・1章5節参照)。彼らの人生は常には完璧でなかったかも知れませんが、過ちと失敗の最中にあってさえも、前進し続け、主を喜ばせたのです。

4.聖人たちは今、神の前で、私たちとの愛と霊的交わりのきずなを保っています。「ヨハネの黙示録」は、殉教者たちのとりなしについて語る時に、そのことを証言しています-「神の言葉と自分たちがたてた証しのために殺された人々の魂を、私は祭壇の下に見た。彼らは大声でこう叫んだ。『真実で聖なる主よ、いつ前裁きを行わないのですか?」(6章9-10節)。私たちはそれぞれ、このように言うことができます-「神の友たちに取りまかれ、先導され、案内されます・・。私は、実際、一人で運ぶことが絶対にできないものを一人で運ばなくてもいい。すべての神の聖人たちが、私を守り、支え、歩ませるためにおられるのです」¹

5.列福と列聖を行う過程で、英雄的な美徳のしるし、殉教による自己犠牲、そして他の人々のために人生を捧げ続け、死に至るまで捧げ続けるような事例が評価されます。このことは、キリストの模範に倣う行為であることを示しています²。例として、福者マリア・ガブリエラ・サゲッドゥ(1914-1939イタリア・サルディニア生まれ、1983年に列福)を挙げることができるでしょう。彼女はキリスト教徒たちの一致のために命を捧げました。

 *聖人たちは”隣り”に

6.しかし、私たちはすでに列福され、列聖された人々だけを考える必要はありません。聖霊は、神を心から信じ、忠実な人々の間に、聖性を豊かに注いでくださいます。なぜなら、「神は、人々を個別的に、全く相互のかかわりなしに聖化し、救うのではなく、彼らを、真理に基づいて神を認め、忠実に神に仕える一つの民として、確立することを望んだ」₃(第二バチカン公会議「教会憲章」9項)からです。救済の歴史で、主は一つの民を救われました。私たちは、一つの民に属していなければ完全に自分自身ではないのです。それが、誰も一人では、ばらばらの個人では救われないことの理由です。神は、私たちを放っておかれず、人間社会の複雑な対人関係のあやをご存知の上で、ご自分のところに引き寄せようとなさいます。神は一つの民の生涯と歴史に立ち入ることを望まれました。

7. 聖性が神の民の忍耐の中-大きな愛をもって子供たちを育てる両親、家族を支えるために懸命に働く男女、病んでいる人、微笑みを絶やさない高齢の聖職者の中-にあることを考えたいと思います。彼らの日々の忍耐の中に、私は、闘う教会の聖性を見ます。聖性は、私たちの隣りの人たち-私たちの中で暮らし、神の実存を映す人たち-の中に見つかることが、とてもよくあります。「聖性の中流階級」と呼べるかもしれません。⁴

8.聖性のしるしに心を弾ませましょう-そのしるしは、主が「信仰と愛の生活を通して、キリストについて生きた証を広め・・キリストが果たした預言職に参加」⁵(「教会憲章」12項)する者の中で最も謙虚な人々を通して、私たちにお見せになります。私たちは、十字架の聖テレサ・ベネディクタが語ったように、本当の歴史はとても多くの人々によって作られている、という事実を思う必要があります。彼女はこう書いています-「預言の力と神聖さで最も優れた人物たちは、真っ暗な闇夜から抜け出て、前に歩む。だが、大部分の人にとって、神秘的な命の形成の流れは見えないままだ。まことに、世界史の最も決定的な転換点は、歴史書に書かれていない人々によって実質的に確定される。そして、私たちは、隠されていたすべてが明らかにされる日に、自分たち個人の生涯の中で、その決定的な転換点を定めた人々について、初めて知ることになるだろう。⁶

9.聖性は教会の持つ最も魅力的な側面です。しかし、聖霊は、カトリック教会の外においてさえも、とても異なった文脈の中で「キリストの花々を助けるご自身の臨在のしるし」を高く上げます⁷。聖ヨハネ・パウロ二世は「自らの血を流してさえもキリストを証しする人は、カトリック教会、ギリシャ正教会、英国国教会そしてプロテスタント教会の共通の遺産」である、ということを私たちに思い起こさせてくれます⁸。2000年の大聖年の期間中に行われた信仰一致の記念行事で、彼は、殉教者たちは「分裂をもたらしたいかなる原因よりも雄弁に物語る遺産」であると語りました⁹。

*主は呼びかけておられる

10.これらすべてが重要です。それでもなお、この勧告で、私は、主が私たち一人ひとりに、そしてあなたに個人的になさる「聖性への呼びかけ」について特に強調したいと思います-「聖なる者となれ。私が聖なる者だからである」(旧約聖書・レビ記11章44節、新約聖書・ペトロの手紙11章16節)。第二バチカン公会議はこのことについて、はっきりと言明しました-「これほど多くの優れた救いの手段に恵まれているすべてのキリスト信者は、どのような生活条件と身分にあっても、各自、自分の道において、父自身が完全に持っている聖性に達するよう、主から招かれている」¹⁰(教会憲章11項315)と

11.「各自、自分の道のおいて」と第二バチカン公会議は述べています。私たちは、達成不可能に見える聖性の模範の前にして、失望落胆してはなりません。助けられ、奮い立たされるような例証はいくつかあります。でもそれをまねることを意味しません。なぜなら、そうすることが、私たちのために主が考えておられる道から外れることさえあるかもしれないからです。大事なのは、信徒一人ひとりが自分自身の道を識別し、最善の道-神が自分たちの心に置かれた最も個人的な贈り物―をみつけること(コリントの信徒への手紙112章7節参照)。自分たちにとって意味のないことを真似ることに絶望的な努力をすることではありません。私たちはみな、証人になることを求められていますが、証人になるための実際の道はたくさんあります¹¹。実際に、偉大な神秘家である十字架の聖ヨハネは「Spiritual Canticle」を著わす際、難しくて固いルールを全面的に避けることを選びました。そして彼は、韻文を、誰もが「自分のやり方」で恩恵を受けることができるように組み立てた¹²、と説明しています。なぜなら、神の命は「ある人にはこのやり方、他の人には別のやり方」で、つながるからです¹³。

12. 様々な形の中で、私にはもう一つ、強調したいことがあります。それは、「女性の特質」を聖性の女性的な形の中に見ることができる、それは、この世界において神の聖性を映すために欠かすことのできない手立てだ、ということです。実際のところ、これまでの女性が一番無視され、見過ごされた時代にあって、聖霊は、教会において新しい霊的活力にあふれ、重要な改革を行う魅力ある聖人たちを、育て上げました。そうした聖人として、ビンゲンの聖ヒルデガルド、聖ブリジッド、シエナの聖カタリナ、アビラの聖テレジア、リジュ―の聖テレーズを挙げることができます。しかし、また私は、名を知られることのない、あるいは忘れられた女性たち全てのことも思い浮かべます-彼女たちは、それぞれのやり方で、証し人の力によって、家族と共同体社会を支え、改めたのです。

13. このことは、私たちのすべてを捧げ、神が永遠の昔から私たち一人ひとりのために作っておられた唯一の計画を自分のものとするように、刺激し、励まします-「私はあなたを母の胎内に造る前から、あなたを知っていた。母の胎から生まれる前に、私はあなたを聖別した」(旧約聖書・エレミヤ書1章5節)と。

 *あなたのためにも

14. 聖となるために、司教、司祭、あるいは聖職者である必要はありません。私たちはしばしば「聖性は、日常の雑事から離れ、祈りにたくさんの時間をかけることのできる人にだけある」と考えがちです。そのようなことはありません。私たちはみな、どこにいようと、愛をもって生活を送り、自分が行う一つ一つの事を通して証しすることで聖となるように、呼ばれているのです。あなたは司教として生きるように呼ばれていますか?-与えられた責任を愛をもって果たすことで、聖となりなさい。あなたは結婚していますか?-あなたの夫、妻を愛し、大切にすることで、聖となりなさい。キリストが教会のためになさったように。あなたは生計を立てるために働いていますか?-あなたの兄弟姉妹に奉仕するために、誠実に腕を振るって働くことで聖となりなさい。あなたは親、それとも祖父、祖母ですか?-子供たち、孫たちに、イエスに倣うにはどうしたらいいかを、辛抱強く教えることで、聖となりなさい。あなたは権限を振るう立場にありますか?-社会の利益を図るために働き、自己の利益を捨てることで、聖となりなさい¹⁴。

15.あなたが受けた洗礼の恵みが、聖性の歩みの中で、実を結ぶようにしましょう。すべてを神に対して開きましょう-どのような状況にあっても、神に顔を向けましょう。聖霊の力が、そうするように助けてくれますから、迷うことがないように。聖性は、結局のところ、あなたの人生において結ぶ聖霊の実(ガラテヤの信徒の手紙5章22-23節参照)なのです。あなた自身の弱さに安住する誘惑にかられるとき、十字架につけられたキリストを見上げて、こう言いなさい―「主よ、私はおろかな罪びとですが、あなたは、私をほんの少しだけ良くする奇跡がおできになります」と。聖ではあるが罪びとたちの集まりである教会には、あなたが聖性に向けて成長するのに必要なのものがすべてあります。主は、聖典、秘跡、聖所、生きた共同体、聖人である証し人、そして神の愛から発する多岐にわたる美徳を教会にお授けになりました―「宝石で飾られた花嫁のように」(イザヤ書61章10節)

16. 主があなたに呼びかけておられる聖性は、いくつものささやかな行いを通して成長します。例を挙げましょう。ある女性が買い物に出かけ、隣の人に会い、話し始め、うわさ話が始まります。でも、彼女は心の中でこう言います。「だめ。だれの悪口も言わない」と―これが聖性に進む第一歩。家に戻った彼女に、子供たちの一人が自分の望みと夢を聴いて、とせがみます。そこで、疲れていても、腰かけて、我慢して、愛をもって彼の話を聞きます―これが、聖性に進むもう一つの犠牲。後で、彼女は、いくらかの後ろめたさを感じますが、聖母マリアの愛を思い出し、ロザリオを取り、心から祈ります―これが聖性へのもう一つの歩み。さらに、この後で、彼女は通りに出て、失望落胆している人に出会い、立ち止まって、やさしい言葉をかけます―さらなる一歩です。

17.時として、人生は大きな試練に出会います。試練を通して、主は、私たちの人生で主の恵みをさらに明らかにすることのできる回心へ、新規まき直しを図るよう呼びかけます―「ご自分の神聖にあずからせる目的」(ヘブライ人への手紙12章10節)で。また、時として、自分がすでにしていることをもっと完全にする方法を見つけることだけを必要とします―「暮らしの中で普通にしていることを、特別な方法で完全なものにするだけのための、霊感がある」¹⁵.ベトナムのグエン・バン・スアン枢機卿( 1928 –  2002)は 刑務所に入れられた時、釈放される日を待つことで時間を無駄に過ごすことを拒否しました。そうする代わりに、「この時を、愛でいっぱいにして生きる」ことを選びました。彼はこう決断しました―「日々あたえられる機会をしっかりと捕えよう。普通ではない仕方で、普通のふるまいをしていこう」¹⁶と。

18.このようにして、神の恵みに導かれ、私たちは、たくさんのささやかな振る舞いによって、神が望まれた聖性を形作ります―自分たちだけで十分な男、女としてではなく、「神のさまざまな恵みの管理者」(ペトロの手紙14章10節)として。ニュージーランドの司教団は、私たちが主の無条件の愛をもって愛することができる、と正しく教えています。なぜなら、復活された主は、その力強い命を、私たちのひ弱な命と共にされます―「主の愛は限りなく、一度与えられたら、決して取り去られることはない。無条件で、常に誠実です。主のように愛するのは容易ではありません。それは私たちが、しばしば弱いからです。しかし、キリストが私たちを愛されたように愛しようと、ひたすら努めることは、キリストがご自身の復活された命を私たちと共にしてくださる、ということを示します。このようにして、私たちの人生に―たとえ、人間的な弱さのただ中にあっても、主の力が働いていることが実証されるのです」¹⁷。

 *キリストにおけるあなたの使命

19.キリスト教徒は、地上での自分の使命を聖性への道をたどること見なさずに考えることはできません。なぜなら、「神の御心は、あなた方が聖なる者となること」(テサロニケの信徒への手紙14章3節)だからです。それぞれの聖人は、歴史の特定の時に、福音の特定の側面を反映し、具体化するために父が計画された使命を帯びています。

20.その使命はキリストにおいて完全な意味を持ち、キリストを通してのみ、理解することができます。その核心に、聖性は、キリストとの一致において、キリストの命の神秘を経験しています。聖性は、独特の、個人的なやり方―キリストと共に常に死に、新たに復活する、という仕方―で、主の死と復活に私たちを結びつける中に存在します。しかし、それはまた、私たち自身の人生で、イエスの地上での生活の様々な側面―彼の表に出さない暮らし、共同体社会での生活、底辺の人たちへの親密さ、自己犠牲の愛を示す中での貧しさなど―を再現することを必要とします。このような神秘を深く想うことで、ロヨラの聖イグナチオが指摘しているように、私たちの選択と態度に、その神秘が体現されるように導かれます。¹⁸ なぜなら「イエスの生涯のすべては、その神秘のしるし」¹⁹(カトリック教会のカテキズム515項)「キリストの全生涯は御父を啓示するもの」²⁰(同516項)「キリストの全生涯はあがないの神秘」²¹(同517項)「キリストの全生涯は統合の神秘」²²(同518項)であり、「キリストは、私たちがご自分とともにそれを生き、ご自分が私たちと共にそれを生きることができるようにされる」からです。

 21.御父の計画はキリストであり、キリストのおける私たち自身です。結局のところ、私たちの中で愛されるのはキリストです。それは「聖性は、十分に慈愛に満ちて生きる以外の何ものでもない」²⁴からです。結果として「私たちの聖性の大きさは、キリストとキリストの中にある私たち自身に端を発します。その限りにおいて、聖霊の力によって、私たちは全人生をキリストをひな型として作っていくのです」²⁵。聖人一人ひとりは、聖霊がイエス・キリストの豊かさから取り、の民に与えられるメッセージなのです。

22.聖人たちの一人を通して主が私たちに語ろうと望まれる言葉を知るために、細部に巻き込まれる必要はありません。それは、そうすることで間違ったり、失敗したりするかも知れないからです。聖人の語ることすべてが福音書に完全に忠実だとは限りません―彼や彼女のすることすべてが正当あるいは完全だとは限りません。私たちが熟慮する必要があるのは、聖人たちの生涯の全体、聖性における成長の旅全体、私たちが個人として彼らの全体として意味するところを理解した時に現れるイエス・キリストの似姿です。²⁶

23.これは、私たちすべてに対する強力な勧めです。あなたはまた、使命として自分の人生全体を見る必要があります。祈りの中で神の声を聴き、あなたに与えられるしるしを知ることで、そのようにしてみなさい。いつも聖霊に尋ねなさい―私が受けた使命を果たす場を識別するために、私の人生の瞬間、瞬間に、私がもとめられる判断の一つ一つに、イエスが何を期待しておられるのでしょうか―と。聖霊があなたの中に、現代世界でイエス・キリストを映すことのできる個人的な神秘を作ってくださるようにしなさい。

24.その言葉の内容、神があなたの人生によって世界に話しかけることを望まれた、というイエスのメッセージをはっきりと理解するようになるように。あなた自身を変容させましょう。あなた自身を聖霊によって新たにされるようにしましょう。そうすることで、あなたの尊い使命に失敗しないようにすることができるのです。あなたがその愛の道を放棄せず、浄化し啓蒙する主の超自然的な恵みにいつも心を開いている限り、主は、あなたが失敗し、道を外しても、使命を全うするようにしてくださいます。

 *聖化する行為

25.キリストは神の王国をもたらすためにおいでになりました。キリストを、その王国から離れて理解することができないように、あなたがたの一人ひとりの使命も、その王国の建設と分かちがたいものです―「何よりもまず、神の国と神の義を求めなさい」(マタイ福音書6章33節)。キリストとその意志と一体となることは、愛、正義、そして普遍的な平和の国をキリストとともに建設する責任を含みます。キリストご自身はあなたとともに―必然的に伴うすべての努力と犠牲において、そして、それがもたらすすべての喜び、豊かさにおいて―このことを経験したいと希望されています。あなた自身の体と魂でこの偉大な事業に最善を尽くすように努めなければ、聖性を成長させることはできません。

26.他の人々との交流を避けて沈黙を愛すること、行動を避けて平和と静寂を望むこと、奉仕を軽んじて祈りを求めることは、いずれも健全ではありません。この世界での私たちの人生で、すべてのものが受け入れられ、統合され、私たちの聖性への道の一部となり得ます。私たちは、行動の最中においてさえも、思慮深くあり、責任と寛大さをもって、ふさわしい使命を遂行することで、聖性において成長することが求められます。

27.聖霊が、使命を果たすことを私たちに強く促してから、使命を放棄するように、あるいは使命を一生懸命果たさないように求めることがありうるでしょうか? それでも、私たちには、司牧の約束や責任をこの世界で二の次にする誘惑にかられる時があります。聖性における成長と内的な平和の道に「心の乱れ」があったかのように、です。私たちには、「人生には使命はない、人生が使命なのだ」²⁷ということを忘れる可能性もあります。

28.申し上げる必要もありませんが、不安、誇り、あるいは他の人々に感銘を与える必要からなされるものは、どれも聖性に導くことがありません。そのようにして私たちが行うことが、どれも福音的な意味をもち、イエス・キリストと一層、一体化させる、という約束を証しするように、私たちは強く求められています。例えば、キリスト教の教理を教える人の霊性について、教区司祭の霊性について、務めの霊性について、私たちはよく話します。同じ理由から、私は使徒的勧告「福音の喜び」では福音宣教の使命の霊性を、回勅 「ラウダート・シ―ともに暮らす家を大切に」では環境に関する霊性を、「(家庭における)愛の喜び」では家庭生活の霊性を、締めくくりの言葉としました。

29.このことは、神の前で、静かにひとり、沈黙の時を過ごすことの必要性を無視することを意味しません。それとは全く反対です。絶えず新製品が出る小物、旅の興奮し、そして限りなく並ぶ日用品―は時として、神の声を聴く場をなくしてしまいます。私たちは、言葉、浅薄な娯楽、そして騒々しさを増す騒音に圧倒され、喜びではなく、人生に意味を失った人が抱く不満でいっぱいになります。私たちは、”rat race”(心身をすり減らす空しい行為)を止めねばならない、と気づくこと、神との心からの対話をするのに必要な個人的な空間を取り戻すことに、どうやって失敗するのでしょうか?そのような空間を見つけることに苦痛を感じるかもしれませんが、それはいつも良い結果を生みます。遅かれ早かれ、私たちは、自分の本当の姿に向き合い、主に入ってきていただかねばならなくなるのです。「底知れない恐ろしい誘惑をじっと見つめる自分を知る、絶望の淵に立ち目もくらむような気持になる、あるいは、自分が完全に孤独で見捨てられたことに気づく」²⁸というようなことがなければ、このようなことは起きないかもしれません。そのような状況の中に、私たちは、自分の任務に十分な献身をもって生きるという、最も強い動機を見出すのです。

 30.私たちの心を乱す様々な事象が世界中に広がり、私たちは、自由な時を絶対化するように導かれ、娯楽やつかの間の快楽を与える趣向に自分自身を委ねることになり得ます。²⁹ 結果として、私たちは自分の使命を不快に感じるようになり、約束はおろそかになり、惜しみない用意を怠らない奉仕の心が薄らいでいきます。そして、私たちの霊的な認識を変えてしまいます。福音を述べ伝えること、あるいは他の人々へ奉仕することに手を抜くようになる時、どのような霊的情熱が健全でいられるでしょうか?

31.一人でいることと奉仕、個人生活と福音宣教の努力、をともに満たすことのできる聖性の精神が、私たちには必要です。それがあれば、どの瞬間にも神の目の中で自己犠牲の愛を表すことができるのです。

 *もっと生き生きと、もっと人間らしく

32.聖性を恐れないように。聖性があなたの気力、活力、喜びを奪うことはありません。それとは反対に、あなたは、天の父があなたをお創りになった時に考えておられたものとなり、自分自身そのものに誠実になるでしょう。神により頼むことは、私たちをあらゆる形の隷属から解放し、自身のもつ素晴らしい尊厳に気づかせてくれます。この好例を、聖ジョセフィン・バキタ(「カトリック・あい」注・1869 – 1947・スーダン生まれ、奴隷にさせられたのち、イタリアの女子修道会に入り活動)に見ることができます―「ジョセフィンは拉致され、わずか7歳で奴隷に売られ、残酷な主人たちのせいでひどい苦しみを味わった。だが、彼女は神―人ではなく―が一人ひとりの人間の、一人ひとりの人生の真の主人である、という深遠な真実を理解するようになった。この経験が、この『アフリカの謙虚な娘』にとっての、偉大な賢明さの源となった」³⁰。

33 .一人ひとりのキリスト教徒が聖性を育てれば育てるほど、私たちの世界のために、より大きな結果を生むことでしょう。西アフリカの司教たちはこのような意見を述べました―「新しい福音宣教の精神のもとで、福音化されるように、あなた方―洗礼を受けた者―すべての力を通して福音化するように、そして、あなた方がどこにあっても、地の塩、世の光としての役割を担うように、私たちは呼びかけられています」³¹

34.あなたの目を高く上げ、あなた自身を神によって愛され、自由にされるようにすることを、恐れないように。聖霊によって導かれることを、恐れないように。聖性があなたの人間らしさを弱めることはありません。なぜなら、それは「あなたの弱さと神の恩寵の力の出合い」だからです。レオン・ブロイ( 1846 – 1917、フランスの作家)の言葉にも、結局のところ「人生で唯一最大の悲劇は、聖人にならないことだ」³²とあります。

(第一章試訳終了・第二章以降も翻訳中「カトリック・あい」南條俊二)

第二章 聖性の二つの狡猾な敵

35.ここで私は、私たちを惑わす可能性のある誤った二つの聖性の形―グノーシス主義とペラギウス主義―について述べたいと思います。この二つはキリスト教の歴史の初期からある異説ですが、私たちを悩まし続けています。今も、多くのキリスト教徒が、恐らくそうとは知らずに、この誤った考え―カトリックの真理の面をかぶった人間中心的な内在論を取る―に惑わされることがあります³³。注意したいのは、この二つの形が教義と規範の仮定的な確信が「自己陶酔的で権威的なエリート主義」を生じさせ、それによって、「福音を述べ伝える代わりに、他者を分析し、格付けし、そして恵みへ導くことにではなく、人を管理することに力を費やし」、どちらの場合も、「イエス・キリストに対しても、他者に対しても、真の関心を払っていない」(以上、使徒的勧告「福音の喜び」94項)ことです。

 *現代のグノーシス主義

 36.グノーシス主義は「特定の経験、あるいは一連の論証と少しばかりの情報だけに関心を持っています。それは、慰めと光を与えると考えられるものですが、主体は、自らの理性と感情の内在にとざされたまま」なのです³⁵(同94項)。

  神と体を欠いた知性

37.  ありがたいことに、カトリック教会の歴史を通じて、常に明白になってきたことがあります。それは、人の完成度は、情報と知識の量ではなく、慈愛の深さによって計られる、ということです。グノーシス主義者たちはこれを理解しません。なぜなら、特定の教義の複雑さを理解する能力をもとにして他者を判定するからです。彼らは、知性を体から離れたものとして考えるので、他者の中にキリストの傷つけられた体を感じることができず、抽象的な概念の百科事典の中に閉じ込められたようになっています。それで結局のところ、信仰の神秘を具現化しないことで「キリスト無き神、教会無きキリスト、民無き教会」を選ぶのです³⁶。

38.確かにこれは表面的で独断的な見方です―表面にはたくさんの動きがあるのに、内面の心は深く動かされず、影響されもしません。それでも、グノーシス主義は人によっては誤った魅力を感じさせます。なぜなら、グノーシス的なアプローチは、厳格で、人のよっては純粋のように見え、すべてを包含するある種の調和か秩序があるように見えるからです。

39.ここで注意してほしいのは、私が、キリスト教の信仰に対して理性主義が有害だ、と言っているのではない、ということです。理性主義は、教会で―教区の信徒の間でも、それを形成する中心をなす哲学と神学の教師の間でも―存在可能です。グノーシス主義者たちは、自分たちの説明でキリスト教の信仰と福音のすべてを完全に理解できると考えています。自説を絶対的なものと死、自分たちの考え方を他者に押し付けます。福音の教義的、道徳的教えについて熟考するために健全かつ謙虚に理論を使うことは、(注・グノーシス主義のように)イエスの教えをすべての支配を希求する冷酷で厳しい論理に貶めるのとは違います³⁷。

 神秘無き教義

40.グノーシス主義は、最も邪悪なイデオロギーの一つです。なぜなら、知識や表面的な経験を不当に称揚しながら、自分自身の現実についての見方を完全だと考えているからです。そのことに気が付くことすらなく、イデオロギーは独善的になり、近視眼的にさえなります。自己を具現化されない霊性の仮面をかぶる時、なお一層、非現実的になります。グノーシス主義は「本質的に、神秘―それが神と恩寵の神秘だろうと、他者の命の神秘だろうと―を支配することを希求する」³⁸からです。

41. ある人がどの質問に対しても答えをもっている時、それは、その人が正しい道を歩いていないしるしです。偽預言者―自分自身の心理的、あるいは知的理論を売り込むために、宗教を利用する人―になるかもしれません。神は私たちを限りなく超越しています-驚きに満ちています。私たちは神にいつ、どのようにして出会うか、を決める者ではありません-出会いの時と場所を決めることは、私たちに任されていないのです。すべてのことを明らかに、確かなものにしたい、と望む人は、神の超越を制御するという、おこがましいことをすることになります。

42. 私たちには、どこに神がおられないかを言う資格もありません-神はご自身でお選びになった仕方で、一人ひとりの人生に神秘的に存在されるからですし、私たちが確信をもってそれを排除することもできません。ある人の人生が完全に破綻したように見えときでも、悪い行いや常習で荒廃したように見える時でさえも、神はそこにおられるのです。私たちが自分自身を、偏見ではなく、聖霊の導きにゆだねるなら、どの人生にも神を見つけることができるし、見つけるに違いありません。これが、グノーシス的な考えが、それが制御できないために、つかむことのできない神秘の一部なのです。

 理解力の諸限界

43.主から受けている真理を把握することは容易でない。そして、それを表現するのはもっと難しいことです。ですから、真理を理解する方法で、他者の人生を厳しく監督する権威づけを、私たちに与えるように主張することはできません。ここで私は、教会において、教理の多くの側面とキリスト教徒の人生を解釈する異なった方法が正しく共存していることを指摘したいと思います―その多様性において(注・哲学や神学や司牧における見解の異なる方針は)「神のみ言葉の豊かな宝を明確にすために役立ち」³⁹(「福音の喜び」40項)ます。寸分の違いもなく皆が守る、教理の一枚岩を夢見る人にとっては「これは望ましくない、混乱を招くもののように思われるかもしれない」(同)のも事実です。実際、グノーシス主義のいくつかの系統は、福音の具象的な単純さを批判し、至高の統一体に、三位一体であり人となった神を取って代わらせようとしました。そうすれば、私たちの歴史の豊かな多様性が消えてしまいます。

44.実際に、教理―あるいは教理の理解と表現と言った方がいいかもしれませんが―は「質問、疑問、尋問・・を提起する精力的な能力を欠いた閉鎖されたシステムではない。人々の問い―苦難、葛藤、夢、試練、それと心配についての問い―にはすべて、解釈する価値がある。私たちが、人となられた神の真理を真剣にとらえようとするなら、その解釈の価値を無視することはできない。その不思議さは、私たちが知りたいと思うのを助長し、彼らの問いは私たちに問いかける」⁴⁰のです。

・・・・・・・・・・・・・・・・・

・以下、4名の試訳により、教皇庁公式発表の英語・イタリア語の公式文から出来次第、逐次掲載していきます(「カトリック・あい」)

45. A dangerous confusion can arise. We can think that because we know something, or are able to explain it in certain terms, we are already saints, perfect and better than the “ignorant masses”. Saint John Paul II warned of the temptation on the part of those in the Church who are more highly educated “to feel somehow superior to other members of the faithful”.[41] In point of fact, what we think we know should always motivate us to respond more fully to God’s love. Indeed, “you learn so as to live: theology and holiness are inseparable”.[42]

46. When Saint Francis of Assisi saw that some of his disciples were engaged in teaching, he wanted to avoid the temptation to gnosticism. He wrote to Saint Anthony of Padua: “I am pleased that you teach sacred theology to the brothers, provided that… you do not extinguish the spirit of prayer and devotion during study of this kind”.[43] Francis recognized the temptation to turn the Christian experience into a set of intellectual exercises that distance us from the freshness of the Gospel. Saint Bonaventure, on the other hand, pointed out that true Christian wisdom can never be separated from mercy towards our neighbour: “The greatest possible wisdom is to share fruitfully what we have to give… Even as mercy is the companion of wisdom, avarice is its enemy”.[44]“There are activities that, united to contemplation, do not prevent the latter, but rather facilitate it, such as works of mercy and devotion”.[45]

 CONTEMPORARY PELAGIANISM

47. Gnosticism gave way to another heresy, likewise present in our day. As time passed, many came to realize that it is not knowledge that betters us or makes us saints, but the kind of life we lead. But this subtly led back to the old error of the gnostics, which was simply transformed rather than eliminated.

48. The same power that the gnostics attributed to the intellect, others now began to attribute to the human will, to personal effort. This was the case with the pelagians and semi-pelagians. Now it was not intelligence that took the place of mystery and grace, but our human will. It was forgotten that everything “depends not on human will or exertion, but on God who shows mercy” (Rom 9:16) and that “he first loved us” (cf. 1 Jn 4:19).

A will lacking humility

49. Those who yield to this pelagian or semi-pelagian mindset, even though they speak warmly of God’s grace, “ultimately trust only in their own powers and feel superior to others because they observe certain rules or remain intransigently faithful to a particular Catholic style”.[46] When some of them tell the weak that all things can be accomplished with God’s grace, deep down they tend to give the idea that all things are possible by the human will, as if it were something pure, perfect, all-powerful, to which grace is then added. They fail to realize that “not everyone can do everything”,[47] and that in this life human weaknesses are not healed completely and once for all by grace.[48] In every case, as Saint Augustine taught, God commands you to do what you can and to ask for what you cannot,[49] and indeed to pray to him humbly: “Grant what you command, and command what you will”.[50]

50. Ultimately, the lack of a heartfelt and prayerful acknowledgment of our limitations prevents grace from working more effectively within us, for no room is left for bringing about the potential good that is part of a sincere and genuine journey of growth.[51]Grace, precisely because it builds on nature, does not make us superhuman all at once. That kind of thinking would show too much confidence in our own abilities. Underneath our orthodoxy, our attitudes might not correspond to our talk about the need for grace, and in specific situations we can end up putting little trust in it. Unless we can acknowledge our concrete and limited situation, we will not be able to see the real and possible steps that the Lord demands of us at every moment, once we are attracted and empowered by his gift. Grace acts in history; ordinarily it takes hold of us and transforms us progressively.[52] If we reject this historical and progressive reality, we can actually refuse and block grace, even as we extol it by our words.

51. When God speaks to Abraham, he tells him: “I am God Almighty, walk before me, and be blameless” (Gen 17:1). In order to be blameless, as he would have us, we need to live humbly in his presence, cloaked in his glory; we need to walk in union with him, recognizing his constant love in our lives. We need to lose our fear before that presence which can only be for our good. God is the Father who gave us life and loves us greatly. Once we accept him, and stop trying to live our lives without him, the anguish of loneliness will disappear (cf. Ps 139:23-24). In this way we will know the pleasing and perfect will of the Lord (cf. Rom 12:1-2) and allow him to mould us like a potter (cf. Is 29:16). So often we say that God dwells in us, but it is better to say that we dwell in him, that he enables us to dwell in his light and love. He is our temple; we ask to dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of our life (cf. Ps 27:4). “For one day in your courts is better than a thousand elsewhere” (Ps 84:10). In him is our holiness.

An often overlooked Church teaching

52. The Church has repeatedly taught that we are justified not by our own works or efforts, but by the grace of the Lord, who always takes the initiative. The Fathers of the Church, even before Saint Augustine, clearly expressed this fundamental belief. Saint John Chrysostom said that God pours into us the very source of all his gifts even before we enter into battle.[53] Saint Basil the Great remarked that the faithful glory in God alone, for “they realize that they lack true justice and are justified only through faith in Christ”.[54]

53. The Second Synod of Orange taught with firm authority that nothing human can demand, merit or buy the gift of divine grace, and that all cooperation with it is a prior gift of that same grace: “Even the desire to be cleansed comes about in us through the outpouring and working of the Holy Spirit”.[55] Subsequently, the Council of Trent, while emphasizing the importance of our cooperation for spiritual growth, reaffirmed that dogmatic teaching: “We are said to be justified gratuitously because nothing that precedes justification, neither faith nor works, merits the grace of justification; for ‘if it is by grace, it is no longer on the basis of works; otherwise, grace would no longer be grace’ (Rom 11:6)”.[56]

54. The Catechism of the Catholic Church also reminds us that the gift of grace “surpasses the power of human intellect and will”[57] and that “with regard to God, there is no strict right to any merit on the part of man. Between God and us there is an immeasurable inequality”.[58] His friendship infinitely transcends us; we cannot buy it with our works, it can only be a gift born of his loving initiative. This invites us to live in joyful gratitude for this completely unmerited gift, since “after one has grace, the grace already possessed cannot come under merit”.[59] The saints avoided putting trust in their own works: “In the evening of this life, I shall appear before you empty-handed, for I do not ask you, Lord, to count my works. All our justices have stains in your sight”.[60]

55. This is one of the great convictions that the Church has come firmly to hold. It is so clearly expressed in the word of God that there can be no question of it. Like the supreme commandment of love, this truth should affect the way we live, for it flows from the heart of the Gospel and demands that we not only accept it intellectually but also make it a source of contagious joy. Yet we cannot celebrate this free gift of the Lord’s friendship unless we realize that our earthly life and our natural abilities are his gift. We need “to acknowledge jubilantly that our life is essentially a gift, and recognize that our freedom is a grace. This is not easy today, in a world that thinks it can keep something for itself, the fruits of its own creativity or freedom”.[61]

56. Only on the basis of God’s gift, freely accepted and humbly received, can we cooperate by our own efforts in our progressive transformation.[62] We must first belong to God, offering ourselves to him who was there first, and entrusting to him our abilities, our efforts, our struggle against evil and our creativity, so that his free gift may grow and develop within us: “I appeal to you, therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God” (Rom 12:1). For that matter, the Church has always taught that charity alone makes growth in the life of grace possible, for “if I do not have love, I am nothing” (1 Cor 13:2).

 New pelagians

57. Still, some Christians insist on taking another path, that of justification by their own efforts, the worship of the human will and their own abilities. The result is a self-centred and elitist complacency, bereft of true love. This finds expression in a variety of apparently unconnected ways of thinking and acting: an obsession with the law, an absorption with social and political advantages, a punctilious concern for the Church’s liturgy, doctrine and prestige, a vanity about the ability to manage practical matters, and an excessive concern with programmes of self-help and personal fulfilment. Some Christians spend their time and energy on these things, rather than letting themselves be led by the Spirit in the way of love, rather than being passionate about communicating the beauty and the joy of the Gospel and seeking out the lost among the immense crowds that thirst for Christ.[63]

58. Not infrequently, contrary to the promptings of the Spirit, the life of the Church can become a museum piece or the possession of a select few. This can occur when some groups of Christians give excessive importance to certain rules, customs or ways of acting. The Gospel then tends to be reduced and constricted, deprived of its simplicity, allure and savour. This may well be a subtle form of pelagianism, for it appears to subject the life of grace to certain human structures. It can affect groups, movements and communities, and it explains why so often they begin with an intense life in the Spirit, only to end up fossilized… or corrupt.

59. Once we believe that everything depends on human effort as channelled by ecclesial rules and structures, we unconsciously complicate the Gospel and become enslaved to a blueprint that leaves few openings for the working of grace. Saint Thomas Aquinas reminded us that the precepts added to the Gospel by the Church should be imposed with moderation “lest the conduct of the faithful become burdensome”, for then our religion would become a form of servitude.[64]

The summation of the Law

60. To avoid this, we do well to keep reminding ourselves that there is a hierarchy of virtues that bids us seek what is essential. The primacy belongs to the theological virtues, which have God as their object and motive. At the centre is charity. Saint Paul says that what truly counts is “faith working through love” (Gal 5:6). We are called to make every effort to preserve charity: “The one who loves another has fulfilled the law… for love is the fulfilment of the law” (Rom 13:8.10). “For the whole law is summed up in a single commandment, ‘You shall love your neighbour as yourself’” (Gal 5:14).

61. In other words, amid the thicket of precepts and prescriptions, Jesus clears a way to seeing two faces, that of the Father and that of our brother. He does not give us two more formulas or two more commands. He gives us two faces, or better yet, one alone: the face of God reflected in so many other faces. For in every one of our brothers and sisters, especially the least, the most vulnerable, the defenceless and those in need, God’s very image is found. Indeed, with the scraps of this frail humanity, the Lord will shape his final work of art. For “what endures, what has value in life, what riches do not disappear? Surely these two: the Lord and our neighbour. These two riches do not disappear!”[65]

62. May the Lord set the Church free from these new forms of gnosticism and pelagianism that weigh her down and block her progress along the path to holiness! These aberrations take various shapes, according to the temperament and character of each person. So I encourage everyone to reflect and discern before God whether they may be present in their lives.

(以下、「カトリック・あい」岡山康子試訳)

第三章 主の光の中で

63.何が聖性かは、さまざまな説があり、それぞれに、様々な説明と相違があります。それをよく考えてみることは、よいことですが、イエスの言葉に頼り、イエスの真理の教え方を思い返すときほど、それが照らし出されることはありません。イエスは、山上の説教(マタイ福音書5章3節―12節、ルカ福音書6章20節―23節参照)を私たちに与えてくださったときに、聖なるとはどういうことか、とても平易に説明されました。山上の説教は、キリスト教徒の身分証明書のようなものです。ですから、もし誰かが、「よいキリスト教徒になるためには、何をしなければなりませんか」と尋ねたら、答えは明確です。私たちは、それぞれのやり方で、イエスが山上の説教で言われたことをしなくてはなりません⁶⁶。この山上の説教の中に、私たちは主の御姿を見るのです。そして、私たちは毎
日の生活の中で、それを映し出すよう呼びかけられているのです。

64.このようにして、「幸せな」や「喜ばしい」と言う言葉は、「神聖な」と言う言葉と同義になります。それは、神と神の言葉に忠実な人々はその自己犠牲によって、真の幸福を得る、という事実を表わしているからです。


 *流れに逆らって

65.イエスの言葉は、詩のように美しく私たちの心に響きますが、それらは明らかに世間のやり方とは、逆方向です。イエスの言葉にどんなに惹きつけられても、世間はそういう生き方はさせてくれません。山上の説教は、決してありふれた、なまやさしいものではありません。全くその逆です。私たちは、聖霊が、その力をもって私たちを弱さや我儘や自己満足や自尊心から解き放った時にだけ、実行できるものなのです。

66.もう一度、主にふさわしい愛と尊敬をもって、イエスの言葉を聞きましょう。彼の言葉が私たちを落ち着かなくさせ、私たちを挑ませ、私たちの生き方に、本当の変化を求めるのを受け入れましょう。さもないと、聖性は空虚な言葉のままになってしまうでしょう。今こそ、マタイ福音書の、私たちの個人的な山上の説教の実践に取り掛かりましょう⁶⁷(マタイ福音書5章3節―12節参照)。

 *心の貧しい人々は 幸いである、天の国はその人たちのものである。

67.福音書は私たちの心の深みをのぞき込んで、私たちが、人生で、どこに安心を見出すか見るよう誘いかけてきます。普通、豊かな人々は彼らの富に安心し、もしその富が脅かされたら地上の生活のすべての意味が失われると考えます。イエスはこれを、私たちに「愚かな金持ち」のたとえをもって語られています: 彼は、富があるので安心しきっている愚かな男のことを語られました。なぜなら、まさにその夜、その男の命は取り上げられたからです(ルカ福音書12章16節―21節参照)。

68.富は何も保障してくれません。実に、私たちは、いったん自分たちが豊かだと思うと、それですっかり自己満足に浸り、神の言葉や、兄弟姉妹への愛や、人生で最も大切なことの喜びの場を手放します。そうして、私たちは全ての中で最も素晴らしい宝を得る機会を失ってしまいます。それが(注・山上の説教で)イエスが「心の貧しい人々、貧しい心を持った人々は幸いだ」と語られた理由です。そこに、主がとこしえの新しさをもってお入りになることができるからです。

69. ここに出てくる霊的な貧困は、ロヨラの聖イグナチオが「holy indifference(聖なる不偏心)」(注・貧困より富がいい、名誉のあるほうがいいとか、病気より健康の方がいいとか、普通の人間の常識ではそう判断するが、イグナチオの基本的心構えとして、そうした世の常識にとらわれず、心を不偏に保って神が自分に望まれる方を選び取る、という心のあり方を意味する。「神のより大いなる栄光」を積極的に生きるための「偏らない心」のこと)と呼んだものと密接に関係します―これは私たちに喜びに満ちた内面の自由をもたらします:「私たちは、すべての被造物に対する振る舞いに、無頓着であるように自分を鍛えねばなりません。そのすべにおいて、私たちの自由な意思が認められ、禁じられてはいない;それゆえ、私たちは、病弱よりも健康な体、貧困よりも富裕、不名誉よりも名誉、短命よりも長命、そしてその他同じようなことすべて―を熱望することはありません」⁶⁸。

70.ルカは「心の」貧しさではなく、単純に「貧しい」人々のことを言っています。(ルカ福音書6章20節参照)。このように、彼もまた、私たちに、簡素で質素な生活をするよう促しています。彼は、最も困窮した人々の生活を分かち合うよう私たちに呼びかけています。それは使徒たちの暮らしであり、つきつめれば、「豊かであるのに貧しくなられた」(コリントの信徒への手紙二8章9節)、そのイエスの生活に身を置くよう呼び掛けているのです。心が貧しいこと:それが聖性なのです。

 *柔和な人々は、幸いである、その人たちは地を受け継ぐ

71.初めからすべての方面で紛争、論争、敵対があり、考え方、習慣、そして話し方や衣服に至るまでをを基準に常に私たちは他人を分類している世界にあって、これは強い言葉です。結局、自尊心と虚栄心が支配し、そこでは、人は他者を支配する権利があると考えるのです。それでも、イエスは出来ないと思えるような違うやり方を薦められます。それは、柔和な方法です。これは、イエスが弟子たちと共になさっている仕方です。エルサレムにイエスが入られた時の様子を思いめぐらせてみましょう:「見よ、あなたの王が来る。高ぶることなく、ろばに乗ってくる」(マタイ福音書21章5節、旧約聖書ゼカリア書9章9節)。

72.キリストは言われます:「私は柔和で謙遜な者だから、わたしに学びなさい。そうすれば、あなたがたは安らぎを得られる」(マタイ福音書11章29)。もし私たちが常に他人に怒ったり、いらいらしたりしていると、しまいには消耗して疲れはててしまいます。でも、偉そうな態度を見せず、他人の欠点や限界を優しさと柔和さを持ってみるなら、私たちは実際に彼らを助けることができ、無駄な不平不満にエネルギーを消耗することを止められるのです。リジューの聖テレーズは「完全な寛容さは、他者の過ちを我慢し、その過ちに憤慨しないことです」⁶⁹と言っています。

73.パウロは柔和さを聖霊の実の一つだ、と言っています(ガラテヤの信徒への手紙5章23節)。彼は、もし私たちの兄弟姉妹の一人の悪い行いが、私たちを苦しめるなら、私たちは彼らを叱らなくてはなりませんが、私たちは「柔和な心で」しなくてはいけません。なぜなら「あなた自身も誘惑されないように」(ガラテヤの信徒への手紙6章1節)です。私たちが、私たちの信仰や信念を弁明するときでさえ、私たちは、「穏やかに」(ペトロの手紙一3章16節参照)やらねばなりません。私たちは、また敵対するものも「優しく」教え導かねばなりません(テモテへの手紙2章25節)。カトリック教会の中で、私たちはしばしば、この神の言葉が要求することに喜んで応じないという過ちを犯すのです。

74.柔和さは、また、神だけに信を置く人々の心の貧しさの別の表現でもあります。実際、聖書の中では同じ言葉ーanawim-は、通例、貧しい人々と、柔和な人々の両方を意味します。。「もし私がそんなに柔和だったら、人は私のことを愚か者か、馬鹿者か、弱虫だと思うでしょう」と反論するひとがいるかもしれません。時にはそう思われるかもしれません。でも、そう思わせておきなさい。いつもそのほうが良いのです。なぜなら、そうすれば私たちの最も深い望みがかなうからです。柔和な人々は「地を受け継ぐ」と言うのは、彼らは彼らの人生のうちに神の約束が成就されるのを見るからです。あらゆる状況で、柔和な人々は彼らの望みを主に置きます。そして主に望みを置く人は地を継ぎ…そして豊かな平和に自らをゆだねるであろう(旧約聖書詩編37章9節、11節参照)。主の側からすれば、主は彼らに信をおかれるのです:「わたしが顧みるのは苦しむ人、霊の砕かれた人、わたしの言葉におののく人」(旧約聖書イザヤ書66章2節)。柔和さと謙遜を持って対応すること:それが聖性なのです。

 *悲しむ人々は、幸いである、その人たちは慰められる。

75.世間はまさに反対のことを言います:娯楽、喜び、気晴らしや逃避が良い人生の役に立つと言います。世俗的な人は、家族や周りの人の病気や悲しみの問題を見ないふりをします。視線をそらすのです。世間は悲しみを望んでいない:苦しい状況はむしろ無視して、隠してしまったほうが良いと思います。現実は隠せるのだと信じて、不幸な状況から逃れるためにたくさんのエネルギーを使い果たします。でも、十字架は決して無くならないのです。

76.物事を本当にあるがままに見て、苦しみや悲しみに同情する人は人生の深さに触れ、本物の幸福を見つけることができます⁷⁰。その人は、慰められるのです。世間にではなく、イエスによって。そのような人々は、他の人々の苦しみを共にすることを恐れません:彼らは苦しい状況から逃げないのです。彼らは、苦しむ人々を助けに来たり、彼らの苦痛を理解したり、慰めをもたらしたりすることによって、人生の意味を発見します。彼らは、他の人の身は自分たちの身であり近づくことも、彼らの傷に触れることすら恐れません。彼らはすべての距離が消えてしまったかのように、他者への同情を感じます。このように、彼らは聖パウロの説教に喜んで応ずるのです:「喜ぶ人と共に喜び、泣く人と共に泣きなさい」(ローマの信徒への手紙12章15節)。他者と共に悲しむことを知ること:それが聖性なのです。

 *義に飢え渇く人々は、幸いである、その人たちは満たされる

77.飢えと渇きは基本的欲求と我々の生存本能にかかわるので強烈な経験です。同じ強烈さで正義を望み、高潔さにあこがれる人々がいます。イエスは、彼らは満たされる、とおっしゃいます。というのは、遅かれ早かれ、正義が来るからです。私たちは、たとえいつもその努力の結果を見るとは限りませんが、その実現のために協力することは出来ます。

78.イエスは、あまりにしばしば、些細な利益のために台無しにされたり、あの手この手でごまかされたりする世間の正義とは別の正義をお薦めになります。見返りを求める政治の駆け引きで汚職の泥沼にはまるのは、なんとたやすいことか、いつものことで分かっていますし、そこでは何もかもが取り引きなのです。なんと多くの人が、不正で苦しみ、力なく立ち尽くすことか、その一方で、この世のおいしい分け前をとる人々がいるのです。本当の正義のために戦うのをあきらめてしまい、勝者の列に加わることを選ぶ者もいます。これは、イエスがお称えになる、義を飢え渇き求めることとは、全く違います

79.真の正義は、人々が自分でまさに決心するとき、彼らの人生にやってきます:それは、貧しい人々、弱い人々のための正義を追い求めるときに現われます。「義」と言う言葉は、人生のあらゆる面で、神の意思に忠実であることの同義語であり得ますが、その言葉の意味をあまりに一般的に考えると、私たちはそれが特に、最も弱い人々に対する義に示されることを忘れてしまいます:「善を行うことを学び 裁きをどこまでも実行して 搾取する者を懲らし、孤児の権利を守り、やもめの訴えを弁護せよ」(旧約聖書イザヤ書1章17節)。義のために飢え渇くこと:それが聖性です。

 

(以下翻訳中)

 “Blessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy”

80. Mercy has two aspects. It involves giving, helping and serving others, but it also includes forgiveness and understanding. Matthew sums it up in one golden rule: “In everything, do to others as you would have them do to you” (7:12). The Catechism reminds us that this law is to be applied “in every case”,[71]especially when we are “confronted by situations that make moral judgments less assured and decision difficult”.[72]

81. Giving and forgiving means reproducing in our lives some small measure of God’s perfection, which gives and forgives superabundantly. For this reason, in the Gospel of Luke we do not hear the words, “Be perfect” (Mt 5:48), but rather, “Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful. Judge not, and you will not be judged; condemn not, and you will not be condemned; forgive, and you will be forgiven; give, and it will be given to you” (6:36-38). Luke then adds something not to be overlooked: “The measure you give will be the measure you get back” (6:38). The yardstick we use for understanding and forgiving others will measure the forgiveness we receive. The yardstick we use for giving will measure what we receive. We should never forget this.

82. Jesus does not say, “Blessed are those who plot revenge”. He calls “blessed” those who forgive and do so “seventy times seven” (Mt 18:22). We need to think of ourselves as an army of the forgiven. All of us have been looked upon with divine compassion. If we approach the Lord with sincerity and listen carefully, there may well be times when we hear his reproach: “Should not you have had mercy on your fellow servant, as I had mercy on you?” (Mt 18:33).

Seeing and acting with mercy: that is holiness.

 “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God”

83. This Beatitude speaks of those whose hearts are simple, pure and undefiled, for a heart capable of love admits nothing that might harm, weaken or endanger that love. The Bible uses the heart to describe our real intentions, the things we truly seek and desire, apart from all appearances. “Man sees the appearance, but the Lord looks into the heart” (1Sam 16:7). God wants to speak to our hearts (cf. Hos 2:16); there he desires to write his law (cf. Jer 31:33). In a word, he wants to give us a new heart (cf. Ezek36:26).

84. “Guard your heart with all vigilance” (Prov 4:23). Nothing stained by falsehood has any real worth in the Lord’s eyes. He “flees from deceit, and rises and departs from foolish thoughts” (Wis 1:5). The Father, “who sees in secret” (Mt 6:6), recognizes what is impure and insincere, mere display or appearance, as does the Son, who knows “what is in man” (cf. Jn 2:25).

85. Certainly there can be no love without works of love, but this Beatitude reminds us that the Lord expects a commitment to our brothers and sisters that comes from the heart. For “if I give away all I have, and if I deliver my body to be burned, but have no love, I gain nothing” (1 Cor 13:3). In Matthew’s Gospel too, we see that what proceeds from the heart is what defiles a person (cf. 15:18), for from the heart come murder, theft, false witness, and other evil deeds (cf. 15:19). From the heart’s intentions come the desires and the deepest decisions that determine our actions.

86. A heart that loves God and neighbour (cf. Mt 22:36-40), genuinely and not merely in words, is a pure heart; it can see God. In his hymn to charity, Saint Paul says that “now we see in a mirror, dimly” (1 Cor 13:12), but to the extent that truth and love prevail, we will then be able to see “face to face”. Jesus promises that those who are pure in heart “will see God”.

Keeping a heart free of all that tarnishes love: that is holiness.

 “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God”

87. This Beatitude makes us think of the many endless situations of war in our world. Yet we ourselves are often a cause of conflict or at least of misunderstanding. For example, I may hear something about someone and I go off and repeat it. I may even embellish it the second time around and keep spreading it… And the more harm it does, the more satisfaction I seem to derive from it. The world of gossip, inhabited by negative and destructive people, does not bring peace. Such people are really the enemies of peace; in no way are they “blessed”.[73]

88. Peacemakers truly “make” peace; they build peace and friendship in society. To those who sow peace Jesus makes this magnificent promise: “They will be called children of God” (Mt 5:9). He told his disciples that, wherever they went, they were to say: “Peace to this house!” (Lk 10:5). The word of God exhorts every believer to work for peace, “along with all who call upon the Lord with a pure heart” (cf. 2 Tim 2:22), for “the harvest of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace” (Jas 3:18). And if there are times in our community when we question what ought to be done, “let us pursue what makes for peace” (Rom 14:19), for unity is preferable to conflict.[74]

89. It is not easy to “make” this evangelical peace, which excludes no one but embraces even those who are a bit odd, troublesome or difficult, demanding, different, beaten down by life or simply uninterested. It is hard work; it calls for great openness of mind and heart, since it is not about creating “a consensus on paper or a transient peace for a contented minority”,[75] or a project “by a few for the few”.[76] Nor can it attempt to ignore or disregard conflict; instead, it must “face conflict head on, resolve it and make it a link in the chain of a new process”.[77] We need to be artisans of peace, for building peace is a craft that demands serenity, creativity, sensitivity and skill.

Sowing peace all around us: that is holiness.

 “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven”

90. Jesus himself warns us that the path he proposes goes against the flow, even making us challenge society by the way we live and, as a result, becoming a nuisance. He reminds us how many people have been, and still are, persecuted simply because they struggle for justice, because they take seriously their commitment to God and to others. Unless we wish to sink into an obscure mediocrity, let us not long for an easy life, for “whoever would save his life will lose it” (Mt 16:25).

91. In living the Gospel, we cannot expect that everything will be easy, for the thirst for power and worldly interests often stands in our way. Saint John Paul II noted that “a society is alienated if its forms of social organization, production and consumption make it more difficult to offer this gift of self and to establish this solidarity between people”.[78] In such a society, politics, mass communications and economic, cultural and even religious institutions become so entangled as to become an obstacle to authentic human and social development. As a result, the Beatitudes are not easy to live out; any attempt to do so will be viewed negatively, regarded with suspicion, and met with ridicule.

92. Whatever weariness and pain we may experience in living the commandment of love and following the way of justice, the cross remains the source of our growth and sanctification. We must never forget that when the New Testament tells us that we will have to endure suffering for the Gospel’s sake, it speaks precisely of persecution (cf. Acts 5:41; Phil 1:29; Col 1:24; 2 Tim 1:12; 1 Pet 2:20, 4:14-16; Rev 2:10).

93. Here we are speaking about inevitable persecution, not the kind of persecution we might bring upon ourselves by our mistreatment of others. The saints are not odd and aloof, unbearable because of their vanity, negativity and bitterness. The Apostles of Christ were not like that. The Book of Acts states repeatedly that they enjoyed favour “with all the people” (2:47; cf. 4:21.33; 5:13), even as some authorities harassed and persecuted them (cf. 4:1-3, 5:17-18).

94. Persecutions are not a reality of the past, for today too we experience them, whether by the shedding of blood, as is the case with so many contemporary martyrs, or by more subtle means, by slander and lies. Jesus calls us blessed when people “utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account” (Mt 5:11). At other times, persecution can take the form of gibes that try to caricature our faith and make us seem ridiculous.

Accepting daily the path of the Gospel, even though it may cause us problems: that is holiness.

 THE GREAT CRITERION

95. In the twenty-fifth chapter of Matthew’s Gospel (vv. 31-46), Jesus expands on the Beatitude that calls the merciful blessed. If we seek the holiness pleasing to God’s eyes, this text offers us one clear criterion on which we will be judged. “I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me” (vv. 35-36).

 In fidelity to the Master

96. Holiness, then, is not about swooning in mystic rapture. As Saint John Paul II said: “If we truly start out anew from the contemplation of Christ, we must learn to see him especially in the faces of those with whom he himself wished to be identified”.[79] The text of Matthew 25:35-36 is “not a simple invitation to charity: it is a page of Christology which sheds a ray of light on the mystery of Christ”.[80] In this call to recognize him in the poor and the suffering, we see revealed the very heart of Christ, his deepest feelings and choices, which every saint seeks to imitate.

97. Given these uncompromising demands of Jesus, it is my duty to ask Christians to acknowledge and accept them in a spirit of genuine openness, sine glossa. In other words, without any “ifs or buts” that could lessen their force. Our Lord made it very clear that holiness cannot be understood or lived apart from these demands, for mercy is “the beating heart of the Gospel”.[81]

98. If I encounter a person sleeping outdoors on a cold night, I can view him or her as an annoyance, an idler, an obstacle in my path, a troubling sight, a problem for politicians to sort out, or even a piece of refuse cluttering a public space. Or I can respond with faith and charity, and see in this person a human being with a dignity identical to my own, a creature infinitely loved by the Father, an image of God, a brother or sister redeemed by Jesus Christ. That is what it is to be a Christian! Can holiness somehow be understood apart from this lively recognition of the dignity of each human being?[82]

99. For Christians, this involves a constant and healthy unease. Even if helping one person alone could justify all our efforts, it would not be enough. The bishops of Canada made this clear when they noted, for example, that the biblical understanding of the jubilee year was about more than simply performing certain good works. It also meant seeking social change: “For later generations to also be released, clearly the goal had to be the restoration of just social and economic systems, so there could no longer be exclusion”.[83]

 Ideologies striking at the heart of the Gospel

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 relationship 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 Saint Francis of Assisi, Saint Vincent de Paul, Saint 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.

101. The other harmful ideological error is found in those who find suspect the social engagement of others, seeing it as superficial, worldly, secular, materialist, communist or populist. Or they relativize it, as if there are other more important matters, or the only thing that counts is one particular ethical issue or cause that they themselves defend. Our defence of the innocent unborn, for example, needs to be clear, firm and passionate, for at stake is the dignity of a 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 the underprivileged, the vulnerable infirm and elderly exposed to covert euthanasia, the victims of human trafficking, new forms of slavery, and every form of rejection.[84] 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.

102. We often hear it said that, with respect to relativism and the flaws of our present world, the situation of migrants, for example, is a lesser issue. Some Catholics consider it a secondary issue compared to the “grave” bioethical questions. That a politician looking for votes might say such a thing is understandable, but not a Christian, for whom the only proper attitude is to stand in the shoes of those brothers and sisters of ours who risk their lives to offer a future to their children. Can we not realize that this is exactly what Jesus demands of us, when he tells us that in welcoming the stranger we welcome him (cf. Mt 25:35)? Saint Benedict did so readily, and though it might have “complicated” the life of his monks, he ordered that all guests who knocked at the monastery door be welcomed “like Christ”,[85] with a gesture of veneration;[86] the poor and pilgrims were to be met with “the greatest care and solicitude”.[87]

103. A similar approach is found in the Old Testament: “You shall not wrong a stranger or oppress him, for you yourselves were strangers in the land of Egypt” (Ex 22:21). “When a stranger resides with you in your land, you shall not oppress him. The stranger who resides with you shall be to you as the citizen among you; and you shall love him as yourself; for you were strangers in the land of Egypt” (Lev 19:33-34). This is not a notion invented by some Pope, or a momentary fad. In today’s world too, we are called to follow the path of spiritual wisdom proposed by the prophet Isaiah to show what is pleasing to God. “Is it not to share your bread with the hungry and bring the homeless poor into your house; when you see the naked, to cover him, and not to hide yourself from your own kin? Then your light shall break forth like the dawn” (58:7-8).

 The worship most acceptable to God

104. We may think that we give glory to God only by our worship and prayer, or simply by following certain ethical norms. It is true that the primacy belongs to our relationship with God, but we cannot forget that the ultimate criterion on which our lives will be judged is what we have done for others. Prayer is most precious, for it nourishes a daily commitment to love. Our worship becomes pleasing to God when we devote ourselves to living generously, and allow God’s gift, granted in prayer, to be shown in our concern for our brothers and sisters.

105. Similarly, the best way to discern if our prayer is authentic is to judge to what extent our life is being transformed in the light of mercy. For “mercy is not only an action of the Father; it becomes a criterion for ascertaining who his true children are”.[88]Mercy “is the very foundation of the Church’s life”.[89] In this regard, I would like to reiterate that mercy does not exclude justice and truth; indeed, “we have to say that mercy is the fullness of justice and the most radiant manifestation of God’s truth”.[90] It is “the key to heaven”.[91]

106. Here I think of Saint Thomas Aquinas, who asked which actions of ours are noblest, which external works best show our love for God. Thomas answered unhesitatingly that they are the works of mercy towards our neighbour,[92] even more than our acts of worship: “We worship God by outward sacrifices and gifts, not for his own benefit, but for that of ourselves and our neighbour. For he does not need our sacrifices, but wishes them to be offered to him, in order to stir our devotion and to profit our neighbour. Hence mercy, whereby we supply others’ defects, is a sacrifice more acceptable to him, as conducing more directly to our neighbour’s well-being”.[93]

107. Those who really wish to give glory to God by their lives, who truly long to grow in holiness, are called to be single-minded and tenacious in their practice of the works of mercy. Saint 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”.[94]

108. Hedonism and consumerism can prove our downfall, for when we are obsessed with our own pleasure, we end up being all too concerned about ourselves and our rights, and we feel a desperate need for free time to enjoy ourselves. We will find it hard to feel and show any real concern for those in need, unless we are able to cultivate a certain simplicity of life, resisting the feverish demands of a consumer society, which leave us impoverished and unsatisfied, anxious to have it all now. Similarly, when we allow ourselves to be caught up in superficial information, instant communication and virtual reality, we can waste precious time and become indifferent to the suffering flesh of our brothers and sisters. Yet even amid this whirlwind of activity, the Gospel continues to resound, offering us the promise of a different life, a healthier and happier life.

* * *

109. The powerful witness of the saints is revealed in their lives, shaped by the Beatitudes and the criterion of the final judgement. Jesus’ words are few and straightforward, yet practical and valid for everyone, for Christianity is meant above all to be put into practice. It can also be an object of study and reflection, but only to help us better live the Gospel in our daily lives. I recommend rereading these great biblical texts frequently, referring back to them, praying with them, trying to embody them. They will benefit us; they will make us genuinely happy.

(以下、「カトリック・あい」田中典子試訳)

第四章 現代世界における聖性のいくつかの特徴

110. 真福八端とマタイ福音書25章31-46節が示す聖性の枠組みの中で、主が呼びかけておられる命の道を理解するのに必要な、いくつかの特徴や霊的な姿勢について、私の考えを述べてみたいと思います。聖別の方法はすでに知られているので、説明するまでもないと思いますが、さまざまな祈り方、聖体拝領と赦しの重要な秘蹟、個人的な犠牲の奉献、異なる形の献身、霊的な指導などその他にも沢山の方法があります。ここでは、特に重要な聖性への呼びかけについて、確かな観点からだけ、お話したいと思います。

111. 私が強調したいしるしは、一つの聖性の模範全体ではなく、神と隣人に対する5つの素晴らしい愛の表現-今日の文化に存在するある種の危険と制約からみて特に重要と考えるもの―です。今日の文化には、悩ませたり衰弱させたりするような不安観、時には暴力が見られます;無気力と陰鬱;消費至上主義で培われた自己満足;そしてあらゆる形の霊性の代用品―神とはかかわりのない―それが現在の“宗教市場”を支配しているのです。

*忍耐力、辛抱強さ、そして柔和さ

112.強調したいしるしの第一は、私たちを愛し、支えてくださる神の内に堅固な基礎を置くこと。この内的な強さの源は、私たちが人生の浮き沈みに屈せずやり通すだけでなく、他者の敵意、裏切り、そして失敗に耐えるのを可能にします。

「もし神が私たちの味方であるならば、誰が私たちに敵対できますか」(ローマの信徒への手紙8章31節)-聖人に見られる平安は、ここから来ています。このような内的な力によって、私たちは、テンポが速く、騒がしく、攻撃的な世界で、愛から生まれる誠実さを示すことができるーなぜなら、神にpistis(信頼)を置く人々は、 他者に対してもpistos(誠実である)からです。彼らは、苦難にある人々を見捨てることなく、不安と失望の中にいる人々に寄り添います。そうすることが彼らにすぐさま満足をもたらさないかも知れない、としてもです。

113. 聖パウロは、ローマの信徒たちに「悪に悪を返さず」(ローマの信徒への手紙12章17節参照)、「復讐せず」(同19節)、「悪に負ける」ことなく、「善をもって悪に勝ちなさい」(同21節)と述べています。この態度は、「弱さ」ではなく、「真の強さ」のしるしです。なぜなら神ご自身が「忍耐強く、その力は大きい」(旧約聖書ナホム書1章3節)からです。神の言葉は私たちに「無慈悲、憤り、怒り、わめき、そしりなどすべてを、一切の悪意と一緒に捨てる」(エフェソの信徒への手紙4章31節)ように強く勧めています。

114.私たちは攻撃的で自己中心的な傾向を認識して闘い、根を張らないようにする必要があります。「怒ることがあっても罪を犯してはなりません。日が暮れるまで怒ったままでいてはなりません」(エフェソの信徒への手紙4章26節)。そうした傾向に圧倒されると感じる時、私たちは「祈りの錨」にいつでもしっかりと、すがりつく ことができます。そうすることで、神の手の中―安らぎの源―に帰ることができます。「どんな ことでも、思い煩うのはやめなさい。何事につけ、感謝を込めて祈りと願いをささげ、求 めているものを神に打ち明けなさい。そうすれば、あらゆる人知を超える神の平和が、あ なたがたの心と考えとをキリスト・イエスによって守るでしょう」(フィリピの信徒への 手紙4章6節-7節)。

115.  キリスト教徒もまた、インターネットや様々なデジタル通信を通じて、言葉の暴力を もつネットワークのとばっちりを受けるときがあります。カトリック系メディアにおいてさえ、許容範囲 の限界が無視され、中傷と名誉棄損が当たり前のようになり、あらゆる倫理的な基準や他者への 名誉に対する敬意が放棄される時があります。その結果、「(注・話す人の顔がみえる)公の議論の場」では受け入れられないような話を「(顔の見えない)ネットワーク」で語り、他人に暴言を吐くことで自分の不満を解消しようとする―という危険な二極分化が起きるのです。ひどいことに、そうした人々は折に触れて、他の戒律を支持すると言いながら、偽証 や嘘を禁じるカトリック教会の「第八のおきて」(注・「カトリック教会のカテキズム2464項以降参照)を完全に無視し、冷酷に他者を中傷します。このようなことの中に、どのようにして軽率な舌が地獄によって火を付けられ、 すべてのものを燃やしてしまう(ヤコブの手紙3章6節参照)かを、私たちは知るのです。

116. 神の恵みの業としての内なる力は、今日の暮らしに蔓延する暴力に心騒がせることのないようにしてくれます。神の恵みは、私たちから虚栄心を取り除き、柔和な心を持てるようにしてくれるからです。聖人たちは、他者の失敗に文句をつけるような無駄なエ ネルギーは使いません。兄弟姉妹の落ち度に口をつぐみ、他者を貶めたり、不当に扱うような言葉の暴力を避けます。他者を厳しく扱うことを躊躇し― 自分よりも優れた者と考えます(フィリピへの信徒への手紙2章3節参照)。

117. 無慈悲な裁判官のように他者を見下し、威張りちらし、常に他者に教 えようとするのは、良いことではありません。それ自体が巧妙な形の暴力なので す⁹⁵。十字架の聖ヨハネは別の道を示しました。「特に、教えたい、と思う時で も、すべての人から教えられることをいつも求めなさい」⁹⁶。そして、どうやったら 悪魔を追い払えるか、こう助言しています―「他者の良いことを、自分自身の良い ことのように喜びなさい。そして、あらゆる点で、相手が自分よりも優位になるよ うに願いなさい。心の底からそうしなさい。そうすることで善をもって悪に打 ち勝ち、悪を追い払い、心の平安を得ます。あなたが最も苦手とする人々に 対して一層、そのようにしなさい。そのような方法で自分自身を鍛えないなら、真の慈しみは得られず、慈しみの心を持って前に進むこともできない、と自覚しなさい」⁹⁷。

118 謙遜は辱められることによってのみ心に根付かせることができます。辱められることなしに、謙遜も聖性もありません。もし、あなたがいくつかの辱めを受けることができず、神に捧げることができないなら、謙虚にはなれないし、聖性への道を歩むこともありません。神が教会に授ける聖性は、子であるイエスの辱めをくぐります。イエスは聖性への道です。辱めは、あなたをイエスの似姿にします。辱めは、キリス トに倣うために避けられません。なぜなら、「キリストもあなたがた のために苦しみを受け、その足跡に続くようにと、模範を残された」(ペトロの 手紙一2章21節)からです。次に、イエスは父である神の謙遜を示します。神は、民の不信仰 と不満に耐えながら、謙虚に旅をともにしてくださいます(旧約聖書・出エジプト記34章 6-9節、知恵の書11章23節-12章2節、新約聖書・ルカ6章36節参照)。それゆえ、辱めを受けた弟子たちは「イエスの名のために辱めを受けるほどの者にされたこと 」(使徒言行録5章41節)を喜んだのです。

119. ここで私は殉教の過酷な境遇に置かれた人だけではなく、様々な人々―家族を危険から守るために黙り続ける人々、自分自身を誇るよりも他者を讃えることを望む人々、あるいは、歓迎しない仕事 を選び、時には神に捧げるために不当な処置を耐える選択した人々―が受けるの日々の辱めについても、お話したいと思います。「善を行って苦しみを受け、それを耐え忍ぶなら、これこそ神の御心に適うことです」(ペトロの手紙一2章20節)―こ れは、下を向いて歩き回るとか、ひと言も話さないとか、他者とともにいることから逃げ ることを意味しません。時には、自分本位から解放されるために、あえて穏やかに反対意見を述べ、正義を求め、あるいは、権力者の前で弱者を守ろうとします。それが、自分の名声が傷つけられるかも知れない、としても。

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

120. I am not saying that such humiliation is pleasant, for that would be masochism, but that it is a way of imitating Jesus and growing in union with him. This is incomprehensible on a purely natural level, and the world mocks any such notion. Instead, it is a grace to be sought in prayer: “Lord, when humiliations come, help me to know that I am following in your footsteps”.

121. To act in this way presumes a heart set at peace by Christ, freed from the aggressiveness born of overweening egotism. That same peacefulness, the fruit of grace, makes it possible to preserve our inner trust and persevere in goodness, “though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death” (Ps 23:4) or “a host encamp against me” (Ps 27:3). Standing firm in the Lord, the Rock, we can sing: “In peace I will both lie down and sleep; for you alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety” (Ps 4:8). Christ, in a word, “is our peace” (Eph 2:14); he came “to guide our feet into the way of peace” (Lk 1:79). As he told Saint Faustina Kowalska, “Mankind will not have peace until it turns with trust to my mercy”.[98] So let us not fall into the temptation of looking for security in success, vain pleasures, possessions, power over others or social status. Jesus says: “My peace I give to you; I do not give it to you as the world gives peace” (Jn 14:27).

 JOY AND A SENSE OF HUMOUR

122. Far from being timid, morose, acerbic or melancholy, or putting on a dreary face, the saints are joyful and full of good humour. Though completely realistic, they radiate a positive and hopeful spirit. The Christian life is “joy in the Holy Spirit” (Rom 14:17), for “the necessary result of the love of charity is joy; since every lover rejoices at being united to the beloved… the effect of charity is joy”.[99] Having received the beautiful gift of God’s word, we embrace it “in much affliction, with joy inspired by the Holy Spirit” (1 Thess 1:6). If we allow the Lord to draw us out of our shell and change our lives, then we can do as Saint Paul tells us: “Rejoice in the Lord always; I say it again, rejoice!” (Phil 4:4).

123. The prophets proclaimed the times of Jesus, in which we now live, as a revelation of joy. “Shout and sing for joy!” (Is 12:6). “Get you up to a high mountain, O herald of good tidings to Zion; lift up your voice with strength, O herald of good tidings to Jerusalem!” (Is 40:9). “Break forth, O mountains, into singing! For the Lord has comforted his people, and he will have compassion on his afflicted” (Is 49:13). “Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout aloud, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your king comes to you; triumphant and victorious is he” (Zech 9:9). Nor should we forget Nehemiah’s exhortation: “Do not be grieved, for the joy of the Lord is your strength!” (8:10).

124. Mary, recognizing the newness that Jesus brought, sang: “My spirit rejoices” (Lk 1:47), and Jesus himself “rejoiced in the Holy Spirit” (Lk 10:21). As he passed by, “all the people rejoiced” (Lk 13:17). After his resurrection, wherever the disciples went, there was “much joy” (Acts 8:8). Jesus assures us: “You will be sorrowful, but your sorrow will turn into joy… I will see you again and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy from you” (Jn 16:20.22). “These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full” (Jn 15:11).

125. Hard times may come, when the cross casts its shadow, yet nothing can destroy the supernatural joy that “adapts and changes, but always endures, even as a flicker of light born of our personal certainty that, when everything is said and done, we are infinitely loved”.[100] That joy brings deep security, serene hope and a spiritual fulfilment that the world cannot understand or appreciate.

126. Christian joy is usually accompanied by a sense of humour. We see this clearly, for example, in Saint Thomas More, Saint Vincent de Paul and Saint Philip Neri. Ill humour is no sign of holiness. “Remove vexation from your mind” (Eccl 11:10). We receive so much from the Lord “for our enjoyment” (1 Tim 6:17), that sadness can be a sign of ingratitude. We can get so caught up in ourselves that we are unable to recognize God’s gifts.[101]

127. With the love of a father, God tells us: “My son, treat yourself well… Do not deprive yourself of a happy day” (Sir 14:11.14). He wants us to be positive, grateful and uncomplicated: “In the day of prosperity, be joyful… God created human beings straightforward, but they have devised many schemes” (Eccl 7:14.29). Whatever the case, we should remain resilient and imitate Saint Paul: “I have learned to be content with what I have” (Phil 4:11). Saint Francis of Assisi lived by this; he could be overwhelmed with gratitude before a piece of hard bread, or joyfully praise God simply for the breeze that caressed his face.

128. This is not the joy held out by today’s individualistic and consumerist culture. Consumerism only bloats the heart. It can offer occasional and passing pleasures, but not joy. Here I am speaking of a joy lived in communion, which shares and is shared, since “there is more happiness in giving than in receiving” (Acts 20:35) and “God loves a cheerful giver” (2 Cor 9:7). Fraternal love increases our capacity for joy, since it makes us capable of rejoicing in the good of others: “Rejoice with those who rejoice” (Rom12:15). “We rejoice when we are weak and you are strong” (2 Cor 13:9). On the other hand, when we “focus primarily on our own needs, we condemn ourselves to a joyless existence”.[102]

 BOLDNESS AND PASSION

129. Holiness is also parrhesía: it is boldness, an impulse to evangelize and to leave a mark in this world. To allow us to do this, Jesus himself comes and tells us once more, serenely yet firmly: “Do not be afraid” (Mk 6:50). “I am with you always, to the end of the world” (Mt 28:20). These words enable us to go forth and serve with the same courage that the Holy Spirit stirred up in the Apostles, impelling them to proclaim Jesus Christ. Boldness, enthusiasm, the freedom to speak out, apostolic fervour, all these are included in the word parrhesía. The Bible also uses this word to describe the freedom of a life open to God and to others (cf. Acts4:29, 9:28, 28:31; 2 Cor 3:12; Eph 3:12; Heb 3:6, 10:19).

130. Blessed Paul VI, in referring to obstacles to evangelization, spoke of a lack of fervour (parrhesía) that is “all the more serious because it comes from within”.[103] How often we are tempted to keep close to the shore! Yet the Lord calls us to put out into the deep and let down our nets (cf. Lk 5:4). He bids us spend our lives in his service. Clinging to him, we are inspired to put all our charisms at the service of others. May we always feel compelled by his love (2 Cor 5:14) and say with Saint Paul: “Woe to me if I do not preach the Gospel” (1 Cor 9:16).

131. Look at Jesus. His deep compassion reached out to others. It did not make him hesitant, timid or self-conscious, as often happens with us. Quite the opposite. His compassion made him go out actively to preach and to send others on a mission of healing and liberation. Let us acknowledge our weakness, but allow Jesus to lay hold of it and send us too on mission. We are weak, yet we hold a treasure that can enlarge us and make those who receive it better and happier. Boldness and apostolic courage are an essential part of mission.

132. Parrhesía is a seal of the Spirit; it testifies to the authenticity of our preaching. It is a joyful assurance that leads us to glory in the Gospel we proclaim. It is an unshakeable trust in the faithful Witness who gives us the certainty that nothing can “separate us from the love of God” (Rom 8:39).

133. We need the Spirit’s prompting, lest we be paralyzed by fear and excessive caution, lest we grow used to keeping within safe bounds. Let us remember that closed spaces grow musty and unhealthy. When the Apostles were tempted to let themselves be crippled by danger and threats, they joined in prayer to implore parrhesía: “And now, Lord, look upon their threats, and grant to your servants to speak your word with all boldness” (Acts 4:29). As a result, “when they had prayed, the place in which they were gathered together was shaken; and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God with boldness” (Acts 4:31).

134. Like the prophet Jonah, we are constantly tempted to flee to a safe haven. It can have many names: individualism, spiritualism, living in a little world, addiction, intransigence, the rejection of new ideas and approaches, dogmatism, nostalgia, pessimism, hiding behind rules and regulations. We can resist leaving behind a familiar and easy way of doing things. Yet the challenges involved can be like the storm, the whale, the worm that dried the gourd plant, or the wind and sun that burned Jonah’s head. For us, as for him, they can serve to bring us back to the God of tenderness, who invites us to set out ever anew on our journey.

135. God is eternal newness. He impels us constantly to set out anew, to pass beyond what is familiar, to the fringes and beyond. He takes us to where humanity is most wounded, where men and women, beneath the appearance of a shallow conformity, continue to seek an answer to the question of life’s meaning. God is not afraid! He is fearless! He is always greater than our plans and schemes. Unafraid of the fringes, he himself became a fringe (cf. Phil 2:6-8; Jn 1:14). So if we dare to go to the fringes, we will find him there; indeed, he is already there. Jesus is already there, in the hearts of our brothers and sisters, in their wounded flesh, in their troubles and in their profound desolation. He is already there.

136. True enough, we need to open the door of our hearts to Jesus, who stands and knocks (cf. Rev 3:20). Sometimes I wonder, though, if perhaps Jesus is already inside us and knocking on the door for us to let him escape from our stale self-centredness. In the Gospel, we see how Jesus “went through the cities and villages, preaching and bringing the good news of the kingdom of God” (Lk 8:1). After the resurrection, when the disciples went forth in all directions, the Lord accompanied them (cf. Mk 16:20). This is what happens as the result of true encounter.

137. Complacency is seductive; it tells us that there is no point in trying to change things, that there is nothing we can do, because this is the way things have always been and yet we always manage to survive. By force of habit we no longer stand up to evil. We “let things be”, or as others have decided they ought to be. Yet let us allow the Lord to rouse us from our torpor, to free us from our inertia. Let us rethink our usual way of doing things; let us open our eyes and ears, and above all our hearts, so as not to be complacent about things as they are, but unsettled by the living and effective word of the risen Lord.

138. We are inspired to act by the example of all those priests, religious, and laity who devote themselves to proclamation and to serving others with great fidelity, often at the risk of their lives and certainly at the cost of their comfort. Their testimony reminds us that, more than bureaucrats and functionaries, the Church needs passionate missionaries, enthusiastic about sharing true life. The saints surprise us, they confound us, because by their lives they urge us to abandon a dull and dreary mediocrity.

139. Let us ask the Lord for the grace not to hesitate when the Spirit calls us to take a step forward. Let us ask for the apostolic courage to share the Gospel with others and to stop trying to make our Christian life a museum of memories. In every situation, may the Holy Spirit cause us to contemplate history in the light of the risen Jesus. In this way, the Church will not stand still, but constantly welcome the Lord’s surprises.

 IN COMMUNITY

140. When we live apart from others, it is very difficult to fight against concupiscence, the snares and temptations of the devil and the selfishness of the world. Bombarded as we are by so many enticements, we can grow too isolated, lose our sense of reality and inner clarity, and easily succumb.

141. Growth in holiness is a journey in community, side by side with others. We see this in some holy communities. From time to time, the Church has canonized entire communities that lived the Gospel heroically or offered to God the lives of all their members. We can think, for example, of the seven holy founders of the Order of the Servants of Mary, the seven blessed sisters of the first monastery of the Visitation in Madrid, the Japanese martyrs Saint Paul Miki and companions, the Korean martyrs Saint Andrew Taegon and companions, or the South American martyrs Saint Roque González, Saint Alonso Rodríguez and companions. We should also remember the more recent witness borne by the Trappists of Tibhirine, Algeria, who prepared as a community for martyrdom. In many holy marriages too, each spouse becomes a means used by Christ for the sanctification of the other. Living or working alongside others is surely a path of spiritual growth. Saint John of the Cross told one of his followers: “You are living with others in order to be fashioned and tried”.[104]

142. Each community is called to create a “God-enlightened space in which to experience the hidden presence of the risen Lord”.[105] Sharing the word and celebrating the Eucharist together fosters fraternity and makes us a holy and missionary community. It also gives rise to authentic and shared mystical experiences. Such was the case with Saints Benedict and Scholastica. We can also think of the sublime spiritual experience shared by Saint Augustine and his mother, Saint Monica. “As the day now approached on which she was to depart this life, a day known to you but not to us, it came about, as I believe by your secret arrangement, that she and I stood alone leaning in a window that looked onto a garden… We opened wide our hearts to drink in the streams of your fountain, the source of life that is in you… And as we spoke of that wisdom and strained after it, we touched it in some measure by the impetus of our hearts… eternal life might be like that one moment of knowledge which we now sighed after”.[106]

143. Such experiences, however, are neither the most frequent nor the most important. The common life, whether in the family, the parish, the religious community or any other, is made up of small everyday things. This was true of the holy community formed by Jesus, Mary and Joseph, which reflected in an exemplary way the beauty of the Trinitarian communion. It was also true of the life that Jesus shared with his disciples and with ordinary people.

144. Let us not forget that Jesus asked his disciples to pay attention to details.
The little detail that wine was running out at a party.
The little detail that one sheep was missing.
The little detail of noticing the widow who offered her two small coins.
The little detail of having spare oil for the lamps, should the bridegroom delay.
The little detail of asking the disciples how many loaves of bread they had.
The little detail of having a fire burning and a fish cooking as he waited for the disciples at daybreak.

145. A community that cherishes the little details of love,[107] whose members care for one another and create an open and evangelizing environment, is a place where the risen Lord is present, sanctifying it in accordance with the Father’s plan. There are times when, by a gift of the Lord’s love, we are granted, amid these little details, consoling experiences of God. “One winter night I was carrying out my little duty as usual… Suddenly, I heard off in the distance the harmonious sound of a musical instrument. I then pictured a well-lighted drawing room, brilliantly gilded, filled with elegantly dressed young ladies conversing together and conferring upon each other all sorts of compliments and other worldly remarks. Then my glance fell upon the poor invalid whom I was supporting. Instead of the beautiful strains of music I heard only her occasional complaints… I cannot express in words what happened in my soul; what I know is that the Lord illumined it with rays of truth which so surpassed the dark brilliance of earthly feasts that I could not believe my happiness”.[108]

146. Contrary to the growing consumerist individualism that tends to isolate us in a quest for well-being apart from others, our path to holiness can only make us identify all the more with Jesus’ prayer “that all may be one; even as you, Father, are in me, and I in you” (Jn 17:21).

 IN CONSTANT PRAYER

147. Finally, though it may seem obvious, we should remember that holiness consists in a habitual openness to the transcendent, expressed in prayer and adoration. The saints are distinguished by a spirit of prayer and a need for communion with God. They find an exclusive concern with this world to be narrow and stifling, and, amid their own concerns and commitments, they long for God, losing themselves in praise and contemplation of the Lord. I do not believe in holiness without prayer, even though that prayer need not be lengthy or involve intense emotions.

148. SaintJohn of the Cross tells us: “Endeavour to remain always in the presence of God, either real, imaginative, or unitive, insofar as is permitted by your works”.[109] In the end, our desire for God will surely find expression in our daily lives: “Try to be continuous in prayer, and in the midst of bodily exercises do not leave it. Whether you eat, drink, talk with others, or do anything, always go to God and attach your heart to him”.[110]

149. For this to happen, however, some moments spent alone with God are also necessary. For Saint Teresa of Avila, prayer “is nothing but friendly intercourse, and frequent solitary converse, with him who we know loves us”.[111] I would insist that this is true not only for a privileged few, but for all of us, for “we all have need of this silence, filled with the presence of him who is adored”.[112] Trust-filled prayer is a response of a heart open to encountering God face to face, where all is peaceful and the quiet voice of the Lord can be heard in the midst of silence.

150. In that silence, we can discern, in the light of the Spirit, the paths of holiness to which the Lord is calling us. Otherwise, any decisions we make may only be window-dressing that, rather than exalting the Gospel in our lives, will mask or submerge it. For each disciple, it is essential to spend time with the Master, to listen to his words, and to learn from him always. Unless we listen, all our words will be nothing but useless chatter.

151. We need to remember that “contemplation of the face of Jesus, died and risen, restores our humanity, even when it has been broken by the troubles of this life or marred by sin. We must not domesticate the power of the face of Christ”.[113] So let me ask you: Are there moments when you place yourself quietly in the Lord’s presence, when you calmly spend time with him, when you bask in his gaze? Do you let his fire inflame your heart? Unless you let him warm you more and more with his love and tenderness, you will not catch fire. How will you then be able to set the hearts of others on fire by your words and witness? If, gazing on the face of Christ, you feel unable to let yourself be healed and transformed, then enter into the Lord’s heart, into his wounds, for that is the abode of divine mercy.[114]

152. I ask that we never regard prayerful silence as a form of escape and rejection of the world around us. The Russian pilgrim, who prayed constantly, says that such prayer did not separate him from what was happening all around him. “Everybody was kind to me; it was as though everyone loved me… Not only did I feel [happiness and consolation] in my own soul, but the whole outside world also seemed to me full of charm and delight”.[115]

153. Nor does history vanish. Prayer, because it is nourished by the gift of God present and at work in our lives, must always be marked by remembrance. The memory of God’s works is central to the experience of the covenant between God and his people. God wished to enter history, and so our prayer is interwoven with memories. We think back not only on his revealed Word, but also on our own lives, the lives of others, and all that the Lord has done in his Church. This is the grateful memory that Saint Ignatius of Loyola refers to in his Contemplation for Attaining Love,[116] when he asks us to be mindful of all the blessings we have received from the Lord. Think of your own history when you pray, and there you will find much mercy. This will also increase your awareness that the Lord is ever mindful of you; he never forgets you. So it makes sense to ask him to shed light on the smallest details of your life, for he sees them all.

154. Prayer of supplication is an expression of a heart that trusts in God and realizes that of itself it can do nothing. The life of God’s faithful people is marked by constant supplication born of faith-filled love and great confidence. Let us not downplay prayer of petition, which so often calms our hearts and helps us persevere in hope. Prayer of intercession has particular value, for it is an act of trust in God and, at the same time, an expression of love for our neighbour. There are those who think, based on a one-sided spirituality, that prayer should be unalloyed contemplation of God, free of all distraction, as if the names and faces of others were somehow an intrusion to be avoided. Yet in reality, our prayer will be all the more pleasing to God and more effective for our growth in holiness if, through intercession, we attempt to practise the twofold commandment that Jesus left us. Intercessory prayer is an expression of our fraternal concern for others, since we are able to embrace their lives, their deepest troubles and their loftiest dreams. Of those who commit themselves generously to intercessory prayer we can apply the words of Scripture: “This is a man who loves the brethren and prays much for the people” (2 Mac 15:14).

155. If we realize that God exists, we cannot help but worship him, at times in quiet wonder, and praise him in festive song. We thus share in the experience of Blessed Charles de Foucauld, who said: “As soon as I believed that there was a God, I understood that I could do nothing other than to live for him”.[117] In the life of God’s pilgrim people, there can be many simple gestures of pure adoration, as when “the gaze of a pilgrim rests on an image that symbolizes God’s affection and closeness. Love pauses, contemplates the mystery, and enjoys it in silence”.[118]

156. The prayerful reading of God’s word, which is “sweeter than honey” (Ps 119:103) yet a “two-edged sword” (Heb 4:12), enables us to pause and listen to the voice of the Master. It becomes a lamp for our steps and a light for our path (cf. Ps 119:105). As the bishops of India have reminded us, “devotion to the word of God is not simply one of many devotions, beautiful but somewhat optional. It goes to the very heart and identity of Christian life. The word has the power to transform lives”.[119]

157. Meeting Jesus in the Scriptures leads us to the Eucharist, where the written word attains its greatest efficacy, for there the living Word is truly present. In the Eucharist, the one true God receives the greatest worship the world can give him, for it is Christ himself who is offered. When we receive him in Holy Communion, we renew our covenant with him and allow him to carry out ever more fully his work of transforming our lives.

 

CHAPTER FIVE SPIRITUAL COMBAT, VIGILANCE AND DISCERNMENT

158. The Christian life is a constant battle. We need strength and courage to withstand the temptations of the devil and to proclaim the Gospel. This battle is sweet, for it allows us to rejoice each time the Lord triumphs in our lives.

 COMBAT AND VIGILANCE

159. We are not dealing merely with a battle against the world and a worldly mentality that would deceive us and leave us dull and mediocre, lacking in enthusiasm and joy. Nor can this battle be reduced to the struggle against our human weaknesses and proclivities (be they laziness, lust, envy, jealousy or any others). It is also a constant struggle against the devil, the prince of evil. Jesus himself celebrates our victories. He rejoiced when his disciples made progress in preaching the Gospel and overcoming the opposition of the evil one: “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven” (Lk 10:18).

 More than a myth

160. We will not admit the existence of the devil if we insist on regarding life by empirical standards alone, without a supernatural understanding. It is precisely the conviction that this malign power is present in our midst that enables us to understand how evil can at times have so much destructive force. True enough, the biblical authors had limited conceptual resources for expressing certain realities, and in Jesus’ time epilepsy, for example, could easily be confused with demonic possession. Yet this should not lead us to an oversimplification that would conclude that all the cases related in the Gospel had to do with psychological disorders and hence that the devil does not exist or is not at work. He is present in the very first pages of the Scriptures, which end with God’s victory over the devil.[120] Indeed, in leaving us the Our Father, Jesus wanted us to conclude by asking the Father to “deliver us from evil”. That final word does not refer to evil in the abstract; a more exact translation would be “the evil one”. It indicates a personal being who assails us. Jesus taught us to ask daily for deliverance from him, lest his power prevail over us.

161. Hence, we should not think of the devil as a myth, a representation, a symbol, a figure of speech or an idea.[121] This mistake would lead us to let down our guard, to grow careless and end up more vulnerable. The devil does not need to possess us. He poisons us with the venom of hatred, desolation, envy and vice. When we let down our guard, he takes advantage of it to destroy our lives, our families and our communities. “Like a roaring lion, he prowls around, looking for someone to devour” (1 Pet 5:8).

 Alert and trustful

162. God’s word invites us clearly to “stand against the wiles of the devil” (Eph 6:11) and to “quench all the flaming darts of the evil one” (Eph 6:16). These expressions are not melodramatic, precisely because our path towards holiness is a constant battle. Those who do not realize this will be prey to failure or mediocrity. For this spiritual combat, we can count on the powerful weapons that the Lord has given us: faith-filled prayer, meditation on the word of God, the celebration of Mass, Eucharistic adoration, sacramental Reconciliation, works of charity, community life, missionary outreach. If we become careless, the false promises of evil will easily seduce us. As the sainted Cura Brochero observed: “What good is it when Lucifer promises you freedom and showers you with all his benefits, if those benefits are false, deceptive and poisonous?”[122]

163. Along this journey, the cultivation of all that is good, progress in the spiritual life and growth in love are the best counterbalance to evil. Those who choose to remain neutral, who are satisfied with little, who renounce the ideal of giving themselves generously to the Lord, will never hold out. Even less if they fall into defeatism, for “if we start without confidence, we have already lost half the battle and we bury our talents… Christian triumph is always a cross, yet a cross which is at the same time a victorious banner, borne with aggressive tenderness against the assaults of evil”.[123]

Spiritual corruption

164. The path of holiness is a source of peace and joy, given to us by the Spirit. At the same time, it demands that we keep “our lamps lit” (Lk 12:35) and be attentive. “Abstain from every form of evil” (1 Thess 5:22). “Keep awake” (Mt 24:42; Mk 13:35). “Let us not fall asleep” (1 Thess 5:6). Those who think they commit no grievous sins against God’s law can fall into a state of dull lethargy. Since they see nothing serious to reproach themselves with, they fail to realize that their spiritual life has gradually turned lukewarm. They end up weakened and corrupted.

165. Spiritual corruption is worse than the fall of a sinner, for it is a comfortable and self-satisfied form of blindness. Everything then appears acceptable: deception, slander, egotism and other subtle forms of self-centredness, for “even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light” (2 Cor 11:14). So Solomon ended his days, whereas David, who sinned greatly, was able to make up for disgrace. Jesus warned us against this self-deception that easily leads to corruption. He spoke of a person freed from the devil who, convinced that his life was now in order, ended up being possessed by seven other evil spirits (cf. Lk 11:24-26). Another biblical text puts it bluntly: “The dog turns back to his own vomit” (2 Pet 2:22; cf. Pr 26:11).

 DISCERNMENT

166. How can we know if something comes from the Holy Spirit or if it stems from the spirit of the world or the spirit of the devil? The only way is through discernment, which calls for something more than intelligence or common sense. It is a gift which we must implore. If we ask with confidence that the Holy Spirit grant us this gift, and then seek to develop it through prayer, reflection, reading and good counsel, then surely we will grow in this spiritual endowment.

 An urgent need

167. The gift of discernment has become all the more necessary today, since contemporary life offers immense possibilities for action and distraction, and the world presents all of them as valid and good. All of us, but especially the young, are immersed in a culture of zapping. We can navigate simultaneously on two or more screens and interact at the same time with two or three virtual scenarios. Without the wisdom of discernment, we can easily become prey to every passing trend.

168. This is all the more important when some novelty presents itself in our lives. Then we have to decide whether it is new wine brought by God or an illusion created by the spirit of this world or the spirit of the devil. At other times, the opposite can happen, when the forces of evil induce us not to change, to leave things as they are, to opt for a rigid resistance to change. Yet that would be to block the working of the Spirit. We are free, with the freedom of Christ. Still, he asks us to examine what is within us – our desires, anxieties, fears and questions – and what takes place all around us – “the signs of the times” – and thus to recognize the paths that lead to complete freedom. “Test everything; hold fast to what is good” (1 Thess 5:21).

Always in the light of the Lord

169. Discernment is necessary not only at extraordinary times, when we need to resolve grave problems and make crucial decisions. It is a means of spiritual combat for helping us to follow the Lord more faithfully. We need it at all times, to help us recognize God’s timetable, lest we fail to heed the promptings of his grace and disregard his invitation to grow. Often discernment is exercised in small and apparently irrelevant things, since greatness of spirit is manifested in simple everyday realities.[124] It involves striving untrammelled for all that is great, better and more beautiful, while at the same time being concerned for the little things, for each day’s responsibilities and commitments. For this reason, I ask all Christians not to omit, in dialogue with the Lord, a sincere daily “examination of conscience”. Discernment also enables us to recognize the concrete means that the Lord provides in his mysterious and loving plan, to make us move beyond mere good intentions.

 A supernatural gift

170. Certainly, spiritual discernment does not exclude existential, psychological, sociological or moral insights drawn from the human sciences. At the same time, it transcends them. Nor are the Church’s sound norms sufficient. We should always remember that discernment is a grace. Even though it includes reason and prudence, it goes beyond them, for it seeks a glimpse of that unique and mysterious plan that God has for each of us, which takes shape amid so many varied situations and limitations. It involves more than my temporal well-being, my satisfaction at having accomplished something useful, or even my desire for peace of mind. It has to do with the meaning of my life before the Father who knows and loves me, with the real purpose of my life, which nobody knows better than he. Ultimately, discernment leads to the wellspring of undying life: to know the Father, the only true God, and the one whom he has sent, Jesus Christ (cf. Jn 17:3). It requires no special abilities, nor is it only for the more intelligent or better educated. The Father readily reveals himself to the lowly (cf. Mt 11:25).

171. The Lord speaks to us in a variety of ways, at work, through others and at every moment. Yet we simply cannot do without the silence of prolonged prayer, which enables us better to perceive God’s language, to interpret the real meaning of the inspirations we believe we have received, to calm our anxieties and to see the whole of our existence afresh in his own light. In this way, we allow the birth of a new synthesis that springs from a life inspired by the Spirit.

 Speak, Lord

172. Nonetheless, it is possible that, even in prayer itself, we could refuse to let ourselves be confronted by the freedom of the Spirit, who acts as he wills. We must remember that prayerful discernment must be born of a readiness to listen: to the Lord and to others, and to reality itself, which always challenges us in new ways. Only if we are prepared to listen, do we have the freedom to set aside our own partial or insufficient ideas, our usual habits and ways of seeing things. In this way, we become truly open to accepting a call that can shatter our security, but lead us to a better life. It is not enough that everything be calm and peaceful. God may be offering us something more, but in our comfortable inadvertence, we do not recognize it.

173. Naturally, this attitude of listening entails obedience to the Gospel as the ultimate standard, but also to the Magisterium that guards it, as we seek to find in the treasury of the Church whatever is most fruitful for the “today” of salvation. It is not a matter of applying rules or repeating what was done in the past, since the same solutions are not valid in all circumstances and what was useful in one context may not prove so in another. The discernment of spirits liberates us from rigidity, which has no place before the perennial “today” of the risen Lord. The Spirit alone can penetrate what is obscure and hidden in every situation, and grasp its every nuance, so that the newness of the Gospel can emerge in another light.

 The logic of gift and of the cross

174. An essential condition for progress in discernment is a growing understanding of God’s patience and his timetable, which are never our own. God does not pour down fire upon those who are unfaithful (cf. Lk 9:54), or allow the zealous to uproot the tares growing among the wheat (cf. Mt 13:29). Generosity too is demanded, for “it is more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35). Discernment is not about discovering what more we can get out of this life, but about recognizing how we can better accomplish the mission entrusted to us at our baptism. This entails a readiness to make sacrifices, even to sacrificing everything. For happiness is a paradox. We experience it most when we accept the mysterious logic that is not of this world: “This is our logic”, says Saint Bonaventure,[125] pointing to the cross. Once we enter into this dynamic, we will not let our consciences be numbed and we will open ourselves generously to discernment.

175. When, in God’s presence, we examine our life’s journey, no areas can be off limits. In all aspects of life we can continue to grow and offer something greater to God, even in those areas we find most difficult. We need, though, to ask the Holy Spirit to liberate us and to expel the fear that makes us ban him from certain parts of our lives. God asks everything of us, yet he also gives everything to us. He does not want to enter our lives to cripple or diminish them, but to bring them to fulfilment. Discernment, then, is not a solipsistic self-analysis or a form of egotistical introspection, but an authentic process of leaving ourselves behind in order to approach the mystery of God, who helps us to carry out the mission to which he has called us, for the good of our brothers and sisters.

* * *

176. I would like these reflections to be crowned by Mary, because she lived the Beatitudes of Jesus as none other. She is that woman who rejoiced in the presence of God, who treasured everything in her heart, and who let herself be pierced by the sword. Mary is the saint among the saints, blessed above all others. She teaches us the way of holiness and she walks ever at our side. She does not let us remain fallen and at times she takes us into her arms without judging us. Our converse with her consoles, frees and sanctifies us. Mary our Mother does not need a flood of words. She does not need us to tell her what is happening in our lives. All we need do is whisper, time and time again: “Hail Mary…”

177. It is my hope that these pages will prove helpful by enabling the whole Church to devote herself anew to promoting the desire for holiness. Let us ask the Holy Spirit to pour out upon us a fervent longing to be saints for God’s greater glory, and let us encourage one another in this effort. In this way, we will share a happiness that the world will not be able to take from us.

Given in Rome, at Saint Peter’s, on 19 March, the Solemnity of Saint Joseph, in the year 2018, the sixth of my Pontificate. Francis


[1] BENEDICT XVI, Homily for the Solemn Inauguration of the Petrine Ministry (24 April 2005): AAS 97 (2005), 708.

[2] This always presumes a reputation of holiness and the exercise, at least to an ordinary degree, of the Christian virtues: cf. Motu Proprio Maiorem Hac Dilectionem (11 July 2017), Art. 2c: L’Osservatore Romano, 12 July 2017, p. 8.

[3] SECOND VATICAN ECUMENICAL COUNCIL, Dogmatic Constitution on the Church Lumen Gentium, 9.

[4] Cf. JOSEPH MALEGUE, Pierres noiresLes classes moyennes du Salut, Paris, 1958.

[5] SECOND VATICAN ECUMENICAL COUNCIL, Dogmatic Constitution on the Church Lumen Gentium, 12.

[6] Verborgenes Leben und Epiphanie: GW XI, 145.

[7] JOHN PAUL II, Encyclical Letter Novo Millennio Ineunte (6 January 2001), 56: AAS 93 (2001), 307.

[8] Encyclical Letter Tertio Millennio Adveniente (10 November 1994), 37: AAS 87 (1995), 29.

[9] Homily for the Ecumenical Commemoration of Witnesses to the Faith in the Twentieth Century (7 May 2000), 5: AAS 92 (2000), 680-681.

[10] Dogmatic Constitution on the Church Lumen Gentium, 11.

[11] Cf. HANS URS VON BALTHASAR, “Theology and Holiness”, in Communio 14/4 (1987), 345.

[12] Spiritual Canticle, Red. B, Prologue, 2.

[13] Cf. ibid., 14-15, 2.

[14] Cf. Catechesis, General Audience of 19 November 2014Insegnamenti II/2 (2014), 555.

[15] FRANCIS DE SALES, Treatise on the Love of God, VIII, 11.

[16] Five Loaves and Two Fish, Pauline Books and Media, 2003, pp. 9, 13.

[17] NEW ZEALAND CATHOLIC BISHOPS’ CONFERENCE, Healing Love, 1 January 1988.

[18] Spiritual Exercises, 102-312.

[19] Catechism of the Catholic Church, 515.

[20] Ibid., 516.

[21] Ibid., 517.

[22] Ibid., 518.

[23] Ibid., 521.

[24] BENEDICT XVI, Catechesis, General Audience of 13 April 2011Insegnamenti VII (2011), 451.

[25] Ibid., 450.

[26] Cf. HANS URS VON BALTHASAR, “Theology and Holiness”, in Communio 14/4 (1987), 341-350.

[27] XAVIER ZUBIRI, Naturaleza, historia, Dios, Madrid, 19933, 427.

[28] CARLO M. MARTINI, Le confessioni di Pietro, Cinisello Balsamo, 2017, 69.

[29] We need to distinguish between this kind of superficial entertainment and a healthy culture of leisure, which opens us to others and to reality itself in a spirit of openness and contemplation.

[30] JOHN PAUL II, Homily at the Mass of Canonization (1 October 2000), 5: AAS 92 (2000), 852.

[31] REGIONAL EPISCOPAL CONFERENCE OF WEST AFRICA, Pastoral Message at the End of the Second Plenary Assembly, 29 February 2016, 2.

[32] La femme pauvre, Paris, II, 27.

[33] Cf. CONGREGATION FOR THE DOCTRINE OF THE FAITH, Letter Placuit Deo on Certain Aspects of Christian Salvation (22 February 2018), 4, in L’Osservatore Romano, 2 March 2018, pp. 4-5: “Both neo-Pelagian individualism and the neo-Gnostic disregard of the body deface the confession of faith in Christ, the one, universal Saviour”. This document provides the doctrinal bases for understanding Christian salvation in reference to contemporary neo-gnostic and neo-pelagian tendencies.

[34] Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Gaudium (24 November 2013), 94: AAS 105 (2013), 1060.

[35] Ibid.: AAS 105 (2013), 1059.

[36] Homily at Mass in Casa Santa Marta, 11 November 2016: L’Osservatore Romano, 12 November 2016, p. 8.

[37] As Saint Bonaventure teaches, “we must suspend all the operations of the mind and we must transform the peak of our affections, directing them to God alone… Since nature can achieve nothing and personal effort very little, it is necessary to give little importance to investigation and much to unction, little to speech and much to interior joy, little to words or writing but all to the gift of God, namely the Holy Spirit, little or no importance should be given to the creature, but all to the Creator, the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit”: BONAVENTURE, Itinerarium Mentis in Deum, VII, 4-5.

[38] Cf. Letter to the Grand Chancellor of the Pontifical Catholic University of Argentina for the Centenary of the Founding of the Faculty of Theology (3 March 2015): L’Osservatore Romano, 9-10 March 2015, p. 6.

[39] Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Gaudium (24 November 2013), 40: AAS 105 (2013), 1037.

[40] Video Message to Participants in an International Theological Congress held at the Pontifical Catholic University of Argentina (1-3 September 2015): AAS 107 (2015), 980.

[41] Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation Vita Consecrata (25 March 1996), 38: AAS 88 (1996), 412.

[42] Letter to the Grand Chancellor of the Pontifical Catholic University of Argentina for the Centenary of the Founding of the Faculty of Theology (3 March 2015): L’Osservatore Romano, 9-10 March 2015, p. 6.

[43] Letter to Brother Anthony, 2: FF 251.

[44] De septem donis, 9, 15.

[45] In IV Sent. 37, 1, 3, ad 6.

[46] Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Gaudium (24 November 2013), 94: AAS 105 (2013), 1059.

[47] Cf. Bonaventure, De sex alis Seraphim, 3, 8: “Non omnes omnia possunt”. The phrase is to be understood along the lines of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1735.

[48] Cf. THOMAS AQUINAS, Summa Theologiae II-II, q. 109, a. 9, ad 1: “But here grace is to some extent imperfect, inasmuch as it does not completely heal man, as we have said”.

[49] Cf. De natura et gratia, 43, 50: PL 44, 271.

[50] Confessiones, X, 29, 40: PL 32, 796.

[51] Cf. Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Gaudium (24 November 2013), 44: AAS 105 (2013), 1038.

[52] In the understanding of Christian faith, grace precedes, accompanies and follows all our actions (cf. ECUMENICAL COUNCIL OF TRENT, Session VI, Decree on Justification, ch. 5: DH 1525).

[53] Cf. In Ep. ad Romanos, 9, 11: PG 60, 470.

[54] Homilia de Humilitate: PG 31, 530.

[55] Canon 4: DH 374.

[56] Session VI, Decree on Justification, ch. 8: DH 1532.

[57] No. 1998.

[58] Ibid., 2007.

[59] Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologiae, I-II, q. 114, a. 5.

[60] ThÉrÈse of the Child Jesus, “Act of Offering to Merciful Love” (Prayers, 6).

[61] Lucio Gera, Sobre el misterio del pobre, in P. GRELOT-L. GERA-A. DUMAS, El Pobre, Buenos Aires, 1962, 103.

[62] This is, in a word, the Catholic doctrine on “merit” subsequent to justification: it has to do with the cooperation of the justified for growth in the life of grace (cf. Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2010). Yet this cooperation in no way makes justification itself or friendship with God the object of human merit.

[63] Cf. Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Gaudium (24 November 2013), 95: AAS 105 (2013), 1060.[64] Summa Theologiae I-II, q. 107, art. 4.

[65] FRANCIS, Homily at Mass for the Jubilee of Socially Excluded People (13 November 2016): L’Osservatore Romano, 14-15 November 2016, p. 8.

[66] Cf. Homily at Mass in Casa Santa Marta, 9 June 2014: L’Osservatore Romano, 10 June 2014, p. 8.

[67] The order of the second and third Beatitudes varies in accordance with the different textual traditions.

[68] Spiritual Exercises, 23d.

[69] Manuscript C, 12r.

[70] From the patristic era, the Church has valued the gift of tears, as seen in the fine prayer “Ad petendam compunctionem cordis”. It reads: “Almighty and most merciful God, who brought forth from the rock a spring of living water for your thirsting people: bring forth tears of compunction from our hardness of heart, that we may grieve for our sins, and, by your mercy, obtain their forgiveness” (cf. Missale Romanum, ed. typ. 1962, p. [110]).

[71] Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1789; cf. 1970.

[72] Ibid., 1787.

[73] Detraction and calumny are acts of terrorism: a bomb is thrown, it explodes and the attacker walks away calm and contented. This is completely different from the nobility of those who speak to others face to face, serenely and frankly, out of genuine concern for their good.

[74] At times, it may be necessary to speak of the difficulties of a particular brother or sister. In such cases, it can happen that an interpretation is passed on in place of an objective fact. Emotions can misconstrue and alter the facts of a matter, and end up passing them on laced with subjective elements. In this way, neither the facts themselves nor the truth of the other person are respected.

[75] Apostolic Exhortation, Evangelii Gaudium (24 November 2013), 218: AAS 105 (2013), 1110.

[76] Ibid., 239: 1116.

[77] Ibid., 227: 1112.

[78] Encyclical Letter Centesimus Annus (1 May 1991), 41c: AAS 81 (1993), 844-845.

[79] Apostolic Letter Novo Millennio Ineunte (6 January 2001), 49: AAS 93 (2001), 302.

[80] Ibid.

[81] Bull Misericordiae Vultus (11 April 2015), 12: AAS 107 (2015), 407.

[82] We can recall the Good Samaritan’s reaction upon meeting the man attacked by robbers and left for dead (cf. Lk 10:30-37).

[83] SOCIAL AFFAIRS COMMISSION OF THE CANADIAN CONFERENCE OF CATHOLIC BISHOPS, Open Letter to the Members of Parliament, The Common Good or Exclusion: A Choice for Canadians (1 February 2001), 9.

[84] The Fifth General Conference of the Latin American and Caribbean Bishops, echoing the Church’s constant teaching, stated that human beings “are always sacred, from their conception, at all stages of existence, until their natural death, and after death”, and that life must be safeguarded “starting at conception, in all its stages, until natural death” (Aparecida Document, 29 June 2007, 388; 464).

[85] Rule, 53, 1: PL 66, 749.

[86] Cf. ibid., 53, 7: PL 66, 750.

[87] Ibid., 53, 15: PL 66, 751.

[88] Bull Misericordiae Vultus (11 April 2015), 9: AAS 107 (2015), 405.

[89] Ibid., 10, 406.

[90] Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation Amoris Laetitia (19 March 2016), 311: AAS 108 (2016), 439.

[91] Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Gaudium (24 November 2013), 197: AAS 105 (2013), 1103.

[92] Cf. Summa Theologiae, II-II, q. 30, a. 4.

[93] Ibid., ad 1.

[94] Cited (in Spanish translation) in: Cristo en los Pobres, Madrid, 1981, 37-38.

[95] There are some forms of bullying that, while seeming delicate or respectful and even quite spiritual, cause great damage to others’ self-esteem.

[96] Precautions, 13.

[97] Ibid., 13.

[98] Cf. Diary. Divine Mercy in My Soul, Stockbridge, 2000, p. 139 (300).

[99] THOMAS AQUINAS, Summa Theologiae, I-II, q. 70, a. 3.

[100] Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Gaudium (24 November 2013), 6: AAS 105 (2013), 1221.

[101] I recommend praying the prayer attributed to Saint Thomas More: “Grant me, O Lord, good digestion, and also something to digest. Grant me a healthy body, and the necessary good humour to maintain it. Grant me a simple soul that knows to treasure all that is good and that doesn’t frighten easily at the sight of evil, but rather finds the means to put things back in their place. Give me a soul that knows not boredom, grumbling, sighs and laments, nor excess of stress, because of that obstructing thing called ‘I’. Grant me, O Lord, a sense of good humour. Allow me the grace to be able to take a joke and to discover in life a bit of joy, and to be able to share it with others”.

[102] Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation Amoris Laetitia (19 March 2016), 110: AAS 108 (2016), 354.

[103] Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Nuntiandi (8 December 1975), 80: AAS 68 (1976), 73. It is worth noting that in this text Blessed Paul VI closely links joy and parrhesía. While lamenting a “lack of joy and hope” as an obstacle to evangelization, he extols the “delightful and comforting joy of evangelizing”, linked to “an interior enthusiasm that nobody and nothing can quench”. This ensures that the world does not receive the Gospel “from evangelizers who are dejected [and] discouraged”. During the 1975 Holy Year, Pope Paul devoted to joy his Apostolic Exhortation Gaudete in Domino (9 May 1975): AAS 67 (1975), 289-322.

[104] Precautions, 15.

[105] JOHN PAUL II, Apostolic Exhortation Vita Consecrata (25 March 1996), 42: AAS 88 (1996), 416.

[106] Confessiones, IX, 10, 23-25: PL 32, 773-775.

[107] I think especially of the three key words “please”, “thank you” and “sorry”. “The right words, spoken at the right time, daily protect and nurture love”: Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation Amoris Laetitia (19 March 2016), 133: AAS 108 (2016), 363.

[108] THÉRÈSE OF THE CHILD JESUS, Manuscript C, 29 v-30r.

[109] Degrees of Perfection, 2.

[110] ID., Counsels to a Religious on How to Attain Perfection, 9.

[111] Autobiography, 8, 5.

[112] JOHN PAUL II, Apostolic Letter Orientale Lumen (2 May 1995), 16: AAS 87 (1995), 762.

[113] Meeting with the Participants in the Fifth Convention of the Italian ChurchFlorence, (10 November 2015): AAS 107 (2015), 1284.

[114] Cf. BERNARD OF CLAIRVAUX, Sermones in Canticum Canticorum, 61, 3-5: PL 183:1071-1073.

[115] The Way of a Pilgrim, New York, 1965, pp. 17, 105-106.

[116] Cf. Spiritual Exercises, 230-237.

[117] Letter to Henry de Castries, 14 August 1901.

[118] FIFTH GENERAL CONFERENCE OF THE LATIN AMERICAN AND CARIBBEAN BISHOPS, Aparecida Document (29 June 2007), 259.

[119] CONFERENCE OF CATHOLIC BISHOPS OF INDIA, Final Declaration of the Twenty-First Plenary Assembly, 18 February 2009, 3.2.

[120] Cf. Homily at Mass in Casa Santa Marta, 11 October 2013: L’Osservatore Romano, 12 October 2013, p. 2.

[121] Cf. PAUL VI, Catechesis, General Audience of 15 November 1972: Insegnamenti X (1972), pp. 1168-1170: “One of our greatest needs is defence against that evil which we call the devil… Evil is not simply a deficiency, it is an efficiency, a living spiritual being, perverted and perverting. A terrible reality, mysterious and frightful. They no longer remain within the framework of biblical and ecclesiastical teaching who refuse to recognize its existence, or who make of it an independent principle that does not have, like every creature, its origin in God, or explain it as a pseudo-reality, a conceptual and imaginative personification of the hidden causes of our misfortunes”.

[122] JOSÉ GABRIEL DEL ROSARIO BROCHERO, “Plática de las banderas”, in CONFERENCIA EPISCOPAL ARGENTINA, El Cura Brochero. Cartas y sermones, Buenos Aires, 1999, 71.

[123] Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Gaudium (24 November 2013), 85: AAS 105 (2013), 1056.

[124] The tomb of Saint Ignatius of Loyola bears this thought-provoking inscription: Non coerceri a maximo, conteneri tamen a minimo divinum est (“Not to be confined by the greatest, yet to be contained within the smallest, is truly divine”).

[125] Collationes in Hexaemeron, 1, 30.

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2018年4月14日