Sunday, November 23, 2008

End of an era

Father Raniero Cantalamessa

Father Cantalamessa Evaluates Weekly Meditations

Preacher Completes Entire Liturgical Cycle

By Jesús Colina

VATICAN CITY, NOV. 21, 2008 ( ... Father Cantalamessa, the Pontifical Household preacher, has written a weekly commentary for ZENIT on the Gospel of the Sunday liturgy for three years, covering the entire liturgical cycle. Today his last commentary appears in this dispatch.


Q: What is your advice to Christians who want to meditate on the Word and draw lessons for their own lives or make useful decisions in life under the gaze of God?

Father Cantalamessa: It depends to a degree on the state, on the duties of the person. If it is only a question of personal use of the Word of God for one's life, the best thing is to begin to use the Word of God that the Church offers us through the liturgy: the Liturgy of the Hours, the Mass, etc, because often when the Lord speaks he uses the Church's choice, the readings of the day.

To be attentive to the readings of the day often reveals that it is an answer to a particular problem. A word seems to be made to measure for us to the point that one is constrained to say: "This was written precisely for me!" Hence, one must greatly value not the personal, but the community choice made by the Church in the liturgy.


Q: What do you say to ZENIT readers who will miss your weekly column?

Father Cantalamessa: I intend to publish all these commentaries in a volume, because I have been requested to do so. In part it will be comments published by ZENIT, but in part they will be new, or those I have done on television. Comments in the same style, brief, of a page each, and will be issued in a volume. In due time ZENIT's readers will come to know them. Thus, whoever wishes to will be able to go back to these comments. However, if you have the possibility of their being continued by someone else, I urge readers to read and listen to the new commentator.

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Dumbstruck by the Mystery

...our temptation is always to impose our prejudices or our measure on reality -- except when we are faced with a fact that leaves us dumbstruck, and instead of dominating the fact ourselves, we are dominated, overcome by it. If there were no moments of this kind, the Mystery could do anything, but in the end, we would reduce everything to the usual explanation. But not even a Nobel Prize winner can stop himself from being dumbstruck before an absolutely gratuitous gesture. If there were not these moments, we would find answers, explanations, and interpretations to avoid being struck by anything. It is good that some things happen that we cannot dominate, then we have to take them seriously, and this is the great question of philosophy. If the conditions for the possibility of knowledge (see Kant) impose themselves on reality or if there is something that is so powerfully disproportionate that it does not let itself be "grasped" by the conditions of possibility, then the horizon opens. If this were not the case, then we could dominate everything and be in peace, or at least without drama. Instead, not even the intelligence of a Nobel Prize winner could prevent him from coming face-to-face with a fact that made him dumbstruck -- instead of dominating, it was he who was dominated. Here begins the drama, because I am called to answer. It is the drama that unfolds between us and the Mystery, through certain facts, certain moments, in which the Mystery imposes itself with this evidence. These are facts that we cannot put in our pocket, which we cannot reduce to antecedent factors.
-- Julian Carron in "Friends, that is, Witnesses."