John Paul Pauses to Hear a Christmas Meditation

Trinity Is Life, Not Just Object of Study, Friar Says

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VATICAN CITY, DEC. 15, 2000 (
To prepare spiritually for Christmas, John Paul II set aside business for a while today to hear a meditation by a Capuchin friar.

Father Raniero Cantalamessa, preacher of the papal household, highlighted the Trinity as the most important and unfathomable mystery, with whom Christians must have an intimate, intense and overwhelming relation of love.

In his first of two Advent meditations to the Pope and Roman Curia, the Capuchin referred to the depth of Oriental-Greek theology in plumbing the mystery of the intimate union of the Father, Son and Spirit.

The unity of God´s love is a model for us, Father Cantalamessa said. It is «a challenge and a conquest» for the life of the Church, for social life, and for everyday life, he said.

The Apostle Paul said as much to the first Christians, when he asked them to reflect in their own lives and communities, the bond of love that unites the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. St. Paul asked his listeners to bear one another´s burdens, and so fulfill Christ´s great commandment. «What are others´ burdens?» the Capuchin asked. «They are sicknesses, limitations, crosses, as well as defects and sins. To imitate the Trinity means to be totally identified with the other, to put oneself in his shoes, as the saying goes, to try to understand and not judge.»

«Every person in the Trinity speaks well of the other,» he said. «How much the atmosphere in a religious community and a social body changes when one tries to imitate these thoughts!»

«What is missing today is to put this within people´s reach,» he continued. Sadly, he said, at times the Trinity becomes the object of academic theology: «This separation between studies and life is deleterious!» He added: «Clearly, if the Trinity becomes an issue for theologians, it will end up by being marginalized, and one could say what Feuerbach affirmed: ´God is the projection of man.´…

«It is necessary to make this mystery pass into life, so that it is not only studied and formulated correctly, but lived, adored, enjoyed. It is necessary that the baptized learn to ´live together´ with the Trinity.»

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