Daily Thought For August 22, 2015

The Dangers of the Spirit of the World

We have lost sight of the fact that Christians cannot live like “everyone else”. The foolish notion that there is no specifically Christian morality is merely one way of saying that a fundamental concept has been lost: the “distinctively Christian” as opposed to the models offered by the “world”. Even religious orders and congregations have confused true reform with a relaxation of the traditional austerity previously practiced. They have confused renewal with comfort. To give a small but concrete example: a religious reported to me that the downfall of his monastery began very concretely with the declaration that it was “no longer practicable” for the religious to rise during the night to recite the nocturnal office. But that was not the end of the matter. The religious replaced this uncontested but significant “sacrifice” by staying up late at night to watch television. An apparently minor matter. But the present-day decline of the indispensable austerity of Christian life, beginning with that of religious orders, is composed of just such “minor matters”. Christians must realize today more than ever before that they belong to a minority and are in opposition to all that appears good, natural, and logical, to what the New Testament calls “the spirit of the world”.

Ratzinger, J. (1992). Co-Workers of the Truth: Meditations for Every Day of the Year. (M. F. McCarthy & L. Krauth, Trans., I. Grassl, Ed.) (p. 273). San Francisco: Ignatius Press.

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