The enduring conundrum of faith

Chapter 4

Good Monday Morning to this week 5 of 2020

Watching the film “The two Popes” directed by Fernando Meirelles the quote with the conundrum of having two popes caught my attention.

Frustrated with the direction of the church, Cardinal Bergoglio (Jonathan Pryce) requests permission to retire in 2012 from Pope Benedict (Anthony Hopkins). Instead, facing scandal and self-doubt, the introspective Pope Benedict summons his harshest critic and future successor to Rome to reveal a secret that would shake the foundations of the Catholic Church. Behind Vatican walls, a struggle commences between both tradition and progress, guilt and forgiveness, as these two very different men confront their pasts in order to find common ground and forge a future for a billion followers around the world.

Wondering why Benedict resigned, a cataclysmic event that caused an ecclesiastical conundrum: What do you do with two popes at the same time?

One of many wonderful scenes was on of a state of curious ignorance. Here were two men who have exhausted each other, as they sit in silence as brothers and just say nothing. Silence, allows for tolerance, for understanding.

In the film, Benedict the philosopher is balanced by Francis the pastor. The entire narrative is characterized by the juxtaposition of the two men in their diversity as much as it is a story of unity that unfolds in the images and sounds of 2,000 years of history. It presents a dynamic cycle of perspectives as one man grows to understand the other’s experience, spirituality and theology. They have to stretch their northern and southern hemispheric and ecclesial world-views as they spar in front of the altar in a stunningly beautiful 500-year-old chapel. Dialogue and hope for humanity and the church are showcased for a 21st century audience in unexpected ways. Benedict has the upper hand as the pope but Bergoglio’s confidence in responding to the older man is rooted in humility.

Some quotes:

Pope Francis: We have spent these last years disciplining anyone who disagrees with our line on divorce, on birth control, on being gay. While our planet was being destroyed, while inequality grew like a cancer. We worried whether it was all right to speak the Mass in Latin, whether girls should be allowed to be altar servers. We built walls around us, and all the time, all the time, the real danger was inside. Inside with us.

Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio: It’s not easy to entrust oneself to God’s mercy. I know He has a very special capacity for forgetting our mistakes. God forgets, but I don’t.

Pope Benedict: Perhaps we’ll find God over there, on the journey, I’ll introduce you to Him.

Let us be quiet together. Pope Benedict

Here some quotes out of real life of both Popes:

Pope Benedict XVI

To me, its seems necessary to rediscover and the energy to do so exists – that even the political and economic spheres need moral responsibility, a responsibility that is born in man’s heart and, in the end, has to do with the presence or absence of God.

True friends challenge us and help us to be faithful on our journey.

The Christian faith can never be separated from the soil of sacred events, from the choice made by God, who wanted to speak to us, to become man, to die and rise again, in a particular place and at a particular time.

The Gospel purifies and renews: it bears fruit wherever the community of believers hears and welcomes the grace of God in truth and lives in charity. This is my faith; this is my joy.

Pope Francis

I see clearly that the thing the church needs most today is the ability to heal wounds and to warm the hearts of the faithful; it needs nearness, proximity.
Money has to serve, not to rule.

I dream of a church that is a mother and shepherdess.

Grace is not part of consciousness; it is the amount of light in our souls, not knowledge nor reason.
Although the life of a person is in a land full of thorns and weeds, there is always a space in which the good seed can grow. You have to trust God.

We must restore hope to young people, help the old, be open to the future, spread love. Be poor among the poor. We need to include the excluded and preach peace.

Indifference is dangerous, whether innocent or not.

The Lord never tires of forgiving. It is we who tire of asking for forgiveness.

If our hearts are closed, if our hearts are made of stone, the stones find their way into our hands and we are ready to throw them.
Our faith in Christ, who became poor, and was always close to the poor and the outcast, is the basis of our concern for the integral development of society’s most neglected members.
The Church does not exist to condemn people but to bring about an encounter with the visceral love of God’s mercy.
Let us not be afraid to cross the threshold of faith in Jesus, to let him enter our life more and more, to step out of our selfishness, our closure, our indifference to others so that Jesus may illuminate our life with a light that never goes out. It is not a firework, a flash of light. No, it is a peaceful light that lasts for ever and gives us peace.Wishing you a blessed week with these quotes of faith.  Many may seem clear, but when put in application, aspects of faith seem as conundrums:
“And without faith it is impossible to please him God”. James says: “You ought to be happy when you suffer through tough times because it is strengthening and maturing faith”.  Then he takes it a step further by admonishing us that there cannot be any doubt involved.  Now, if you already know all this,  then here is the conundrum:  Why do we ask God to remove each and every difficulty that He wants to use to perfect our faith? Amazingly, things like suffering and apprehension are the things that actually perfect it.  So, why are we always praying for God to take away the very things that are actually going to insure that we are pleasing to Him?

Are we born with faith?  Isn’t it  a gift from God somewhere along life’s journey, not ready-to-serve kind of gift, far more –  it is a gift of potential.

Philemon

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