Sunday, 7 July 2013

Can we continue to disbelieve in his disbelief?

Today's "Day by Day" meditation in Magnificat is extracted from the collection of writings of Madeleine Delbrel published in English under the title We, the ordinary people of the streets.

It has a striking relevance to the themes of Pope Francis' encyclical, Lumen Fidei - perhaps not least in the phrase I have used as the title of this post. At least, on my rapid scan reading of the encyclical this appears to be the case. The text of the meditation in Magnificat is taken from the second half of an essay entitled "The Good News" (p.171 ff in my copy of We, the ordinary people of the streets) and is a contribution to a series of discussions about parish life and evangelisation at a conference. If you can find the full text of the essay to read, it is worthwhile.
For his brothers and sisters around him, the Christian is a man who loves the things of this world as they really are, according to their true value, but he is also a person who prefers the God in whom he believes to all other things. This preference leads him to make certain choices. People see him choosing the invisible God. These choices pose a new question to the world, a question about whether there may not be something greater than the world...

The believer, even if his faith is weak, is never completely alone, never completely without help. The non-believer is one who knows loneliness in its absolute form, and inhuman loneliness. He is deprived of the relationship that most fundamentally belongs to him ....

Once we realise this profound misfortune that besets the non-believer, will be ever more dare to infer from what he says, from what he does, from what he seeks, that the Good News of the Gospel would be useless to him? Can we continue to disbelieve in his disbelief?  Or wouldn't the living God of the Gospel rather burn in us with an unbearable intensity to the extent that we did not cry his name out loud to those living in quiet desperation? If, in hearing us call upon God, they were to turn themselves around, it would be for them the beginning of the one and only good News.

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