Saturday, 11 December 2010

Evangelisation needs belief in eternity: Fr Cantalamessa's second Advent Sermon

ZENIT are carrying a report of Fr Cantalamessa's second Advent homily preached before the Holy Father and members of the Curia. The first sermon addressed the theme of scientism and science. This second addressed the theme of secularism. I will post a fuller comment when I have been able to access the full text of the sermon. Meanwhile, a couple of observations based on ZENIT's report.

Fr Cantalamessa's definition of secularism as "the reduction of the real only to the earthly dimension" gives an interesting foundation to the contemporary experience of secularism as the exclusion of religious expression and practice from public life, both social and political.

Fr Cantalamessa makes the very striking observation that "faith in eternal life is one of the conditions of the possibility of evangelization".

ZENIT's report concludes by quoting the following comment of Fr Cantalamessa on the Psalter:
In the Hebrew Psalter there is a group of Psalms called 'Psalms of the ascension,' or 'canticles of Sion.' They were the Psalms that Jewish pilgrims sang when they went out on pilgrimage toward the holy city, Jerusalem. One of them begins thus: 'I was glad when they said to me, "let us go to the house of the Lord!"' These Psalms of the ascension then became the Psalms of those that, in the Church, are journeying toward the heavenly Jerusalem; they are our Psalms.
The psalm quoted was that used at Mass on the First Sunday of Advent.

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