Gods Prescription for His Sick Church
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At the outset he drew near to the bible the sin of free man against God the creator, rebellion of his liberty to be master of an independent happiness without God ; rationalism, pride; lack of humility and reasonableness; rejection of the supernatural and of grace-all of these elements led him to perceive the bible as a collection of tales of little literary merit! At a very young age he abandoned the Christian faith of his mother Monica.
The recovery of these values was a very arduous process for St. It was the outcome of reading the works of non-Christian philosophers: Cicero who in one of his works demonstrated the emptiness of earthly values an d proposed spiritual values which were immutable and transcendental ; Plotinus who followed Plato in demonstrating the spirituality, the absolute, and the infinite goodness of God. Plotinus explained evil not as a substance but as the absence of substance, and in more specific terms a wrongful lack of the presence of God Conf.
VII, 10, 16, "And I saw a light He then read the works of Ambrose who was at first read out of a sense of literary taste and because of his Latin eloquence which m ade him a kind of second Cicero. Augustine then read him because of a deep interest in his biblical preaching. He then went on to the letters of St. The letter to the Romans pain and death have entered the world through the sin of free man was suggested to him by the mysterious voice of youth "Take it and read it" and provoked in him the experience of being thunderstruck by grace.
It also produced his immediate conversion to Christianity in the house of his garden in Milan. As I sa id previously, the intense and difficult path taken by St. Augustine was the path trodden by many spirits, including those who were intellectually and morally chosen. But it was also, I might observe, the path taken by each one of us. That initial rebellion which was a very serious act of personal wrongdoing by those who carried it out was a test. It was a way of seeing whether the free will of man would accept the supremacy of a personal and liberal God, his free gift.
It was a test to see if man woul d remain forever on the side of God. That rebellion is bequeathed to human descendants like a void, a pathological inheritance, a lost wealth which cannot be regained and which has left a deep wound within the whole organism. In this process it has generated pride, ignorance, superficiality, and a lack of care in inquiring into the distant and real cause of impoverishment and unhappiness.
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If man is the created being of God he could but be created in happiness and for happiness. Thus it is that it neces sary to make a diagnosis of this original evil, as one does for every evil. That is to say through philosophical inquiry, through the acceptance of the instruction of supernatural revelation. Plato and human navigation: the sail, the oar That the radical evil suffered by man is the fault of initial pride is not a doctrine of the bible alone where there is indeed a description of our mysterious condit ion. It belongs to all cultures, to all religions, and to all mythologies.
In the autumn of the year AD St. Augustine decided to read the Holy Scriptures for a second time, texts which he had deemed unworthy of his literary aesthetics. He was obliged to do this because of a moral and religious crisis, and he engaged in his task with humility.
He proceeded to define the bible as a masterpiece of instruction and a picture-gallery with a poor entrance. But to cross the threshold-what artistic splendor! Genesis describes the prohibition about eating the fruit of the tree of good and evil. Adam, with Eve, disobeyed. Paul comments: because of the sin of one person, disorder, evils and death entered the world There is a law in my flesh which is in opposition to the law of my spirit. As a result I do not do what I would like to do, but what I would not like to do Poor me!
Who can free me from this body of death? The reply he received was: Grace! My grace should be enoug h for you. Man was created in grace. Supernatural and sanctifying grace is friendship with God. But friendship of a kind which creates a loving intimacy, a sharing of nature. He had to be confirmed by a test: so that man, created in the image and likeness of God, with a free will which could choose and a limpid intelligence in order to choose well, could become the stable master of his happy condition, together with God.
However he deceived himself into thinking that he could be hap py without God. He lost the wager, the dignity of a friend, and fell And he did not only lose grace, but also other things as well. For example, integrity: harmony between the intelligible and that which could be reached with the senses, between the senses and the will Whence the inner contradiction of every man: law of the flesh against the will of the spirit St. He lost the physical immortality of his corporeal life: our body, a building built with matter wh ich by its very nature is destined to destroy itself Dear friends, if we do not convince ourselves of the truth of this diagnosis, if we do not begin again from these truths, from this distant but always radiant revelation, we will not be able to understand anything about life: darkness will fall!
And today mankind walks in the dark: rejection of the supernatural, and of grace. We have to care for both souls and bodies. Given what happens in the world, because of a lack of moral values, we doubt at times that there is a will to even care for bodies: ill health! The substance of the bible tale is neither Judaism nor Christianity; it is not denominationalism.
It is truth which forces even pagans to ask themselves: Video meliora proboque, deteriora sequor Ovid Veggio il meglio ed al peggior mi appiglio Petrarch Here we encounter the same thesis to be found in the Bible and in St. Sin: the source of the river of our moral evil and even of physic al pain and the illnesses of the body. Death entered with pain and was a protagonist. Redemption in the Incarnation But it was precisely from this abyss that Christian rebirth and optimism were born.
It should have been an irreversi ble process.
Anatomy of a Sick Church - 10 Symptoms to Watch
But God accepted the challenge of man and revenged himself with an event of mercy, an event which was greater than the creation of the universe, even if risky. God so loved the world that he gave his only-begotten Son for the salvation of the world. The mystery of faith which, whether recognized or not, links man to God, even when man rebels and flees from God.
It offers us the mystery of the incarnation of the Son of God, who takes on human nature, takes on himself our sins and our pains, and accepts death to achieve the redemption of man. Where sin abounds, grace abounds even more. The incarnation of Christ, the Word of God, is a disturbing dogma which is acceptable because of an explicit and insistent revelation of God, begun by, and intimately linked to, the sin of man.
Why disturbing? Because human reason see Plato, see Aristotle manages to know the nature of God, who is spiritual, unchanging, absolute, transcendent, infinitely g ood and the source of being It manages to discover even the Word of God. But if I were to say to Plato: That God to whom you refer and whom you define as being the highest good of man, I met on the roads of Palestine. I saw him suffer and die for the salvation of man.
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He rose again after death and he guides us to eternal life, in both body and soul. The absolute cannot become contingen t, the eternal cannot become temporal.
Prescription for Peace in Times of Sickness: Finding Comfort in God's Word
The spiritual by its very essence, the pure act, cannot become corporeal and of the senses The incarnation, the most ineffable doctrine of Christianity but at the same time the most difficult, opens the human intellect like a window so that the solar light of the intimacy of God can be received.
The person of the Word, who remains of divine nature, not only unites himself in history to human nature, but also shares its humiliation, its physical and moral pain, and its death, and all this in a dimension which is the highest expression of all the humiliations, all the pain, and all the deaths in the history of mankind. The Agony of Christ in Gethsemane: the universal human tragedy in its first three-dimensional expression; from Adam, to Abel, and The outflowing of blood, a phenomenon which doctors call "haematridosis," something which is connected to a major disturbance of the nervous system: "Sad is my soul, until the moment of dying.
Care for the Sick and the Fathers of the Church The Fathers of the Church were an expression of the continuity and the authentic interpretation of the message of Christ and the doctrine of the Church. They were men of holiness and great intelligence. They were great philosophers who renewed and rewrote the thought of the Greek philosophers of the pre-Christian era. They were great theologians and profound experts in the language of God and in matters relating to the ancient civilizations of mankind.
And it is here that we come to the subject of this paper. Care for the sick. This was a major aspect of the Redemption but was of apparently secondary importance-bodies are healed, but God is interested in souls. But man is an integral "unum" when taken as a whole. If you cannot love man, whom you can see, how can you love God whom you cannot see? This is n ot therefore a secondary aspect; it is at the very least "aeque principalis. It is a love which is freely given and not won, and which restores the mutual friendship between man and God, and between man and man.
It is a new right to a life of infinite happiness which is shared with God himself. God is man's loyal friend: "animae dimidium meas! The vicar of God! Christian redemption gave us the mother Church, teacher and expert in humanity. How could mankind ignore the Church of Christ even if-while knowing that she was present and working-it neglects her, turns its back on her, and listens to other teachers? The redemption gave us priesthood that of every ministry and every baptism. It gave us grace which is more abundant than original grace, even though in the new order we have become the objects of pain, of illness, of death and of the struggle for good.
And here everything changes: Pain and death are no longer punishments. They are reasons for expiation, of merit think of the suffering of those who are innocent! They become an asset in relation to Christ something which is completely given; in relation to man, a question of participation. The phrase of St.
Paul is very beautiful with my suffering "I complete what is lacking in Christ's afflictions, in the Church, in me" Col 1: There is another miracle: pain both physical and moral can become the source of great joy. The sufferings of this world bear no comparison to the future glory which awaits us. Paul The cross, that sign of ignominy, becomes an instrument of triumph. Without barriers, even towards the enemy. The Good Samaritan This inn is the first "Hotel-Dieu," as hospitals are called in France!
Church-Fathers-t he Sick Christ created the Church and was its corner stone. For twenty centuries she has watched over mankind and guided humanity with her divinely guaranteed Magisterium. He declared that it tackles "the problems of the contemporary age: marriage and the family, culture, socioeconomic reality, politics, the promotion of peace and solidarity between peoples. The verses in the book are compiled under topical chapter headings such as "Is God Good?
In , while in the process of finding a publisher for the book, my husband and I found ourselves expecting another baby. The same season my firstborn went off to study at Purdue University, Grant came into our lives. He was born by emergency cesarean section Oct. The doctors soon discovered that he had multiple physical problems due to a genetic condition called trisomy I believe that God had prepared me for the devastating news that Grant's disease was fatal--that the average life span of babies born with trisomy 18 is two weeks--yet we were blessed to have Grant with us for almost nine months.
Grant and I used to listen to beautiful hymns and children's praise songs together, and I would sing along with them. I would tell him that one day he would no longer need a feeding tube in his nose, or be attached to an oxygen tank. I told him that one day we would walk and run together. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint. The Bible verses I had collected in the unpublished manuscript of Medicine from God ministered to me during that difficult time.
They taught me that our life and breath are in God's hands, and that we are to seek the Lord and love him regardless of our circumstances here on earth. His Word showed me that he is always with us to offer his strength and salvation, and to give us his love, comfort and healing. While I encourage people who suffer from chronic illness to seek medical advice, I also encourage them to seek the Lord and his strength.
My prayer is that Medicine from God will help readers draw closer to God, be reminded of his everlasting love, and be assured that he has not forgotten them. Tap here to turn on desktop notifications to get the news sent straight to you. It began with a simple greeting card. Help us tell more of the stories that matter from voices that too often remain unheard. Join HuffPost Plus. Real Life. Real News.
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