VATICAN CITY, DEC. 3, 2010 (Zenit.org).- Anyone who loves God is impelled to become in some sense a theologian, says Benedict XVI.
The Pope made this reflection today when he addressed members of the International Theological Commission at the close of the commission’s plenary assembly.
The scholars had considered three issues: theology and its methodology; the question of the one God in relation to the three monotheistic religions; and the integration of the social doctrine of the Church in the wider context of Christian doctrine.
The Holy Father offered reflections related to these themes. He affirmed, “Whoever has discovered in Christ the love of God, infused by the Holy Spirit in our hearts, wishes to know better the one who loves him and whom he loves. Knowledge and love sustain one another in turn. As the Fathers of the Church affirmed, whoever loves God is impelled to become, in a certain sense, a theologian, one who speaks with God, who thinks of God and seeks to think with God.”
Theologians by profession, then, “able to study God himself” and “to be able to speak with him” have “a great privilege.”
The Pontiff said that receiving “this Logos — this divine thought — is in the end also a contribution to peace in the world. In fact, to know God in his true nature is also the sure way to ensure peace.”
He also reflected how knowledge of God is “organized systematically.”
“However,” the Pope continued, “no theological system can subsist if it is not permeated by the love of its divine ‘Object,’ which in theology must necessarily be ‘Subject,’ who speaks to us and with whom we are in a relationship of love. Thus theology must always be nourished by dialogue with the divine Logos, Creator and Redeemer. Moreover, no theology is such if it is not integrated in the life and reflection of the Church through time and space. Yes, it is true that, to be scientific, theology must argue in a rational way, but it must also be faithful to the nature of the ecclesial faith; centered on God, rooted in prayer, in communion with the other disciples of the Lord guaranteed by communion with the Successor of Peter and the whole episcopal college.”
Benedict XVI spoke of theology as an aid in purifying human reason, “freeing it from certain prejudices and ideas that can exercise a strong influence on the thought of every age.”
And he reflected on theology as a link in the chain of Christian tradition.
“Rooted in sacred Scripture, read with the fathers and doctors, theology can be school of sanctity, as attested by Blessed John Henry Newman,” he said. “To discover the permanent value of the richness transmitted from the past is no small contribution of theology to the concert of the sciences.”
The Holy Father noted how theology spurs its practitioners to charity.
“Christ died for all, though not all know it and accept it,” he said. “Having received the love of God, how can we not love those for whom Christ gave his live? […] Contemplation of the revealed God and charity for our neighbor cannot be separated, even if they are lived according to different charisms. In a world that often appreciates many gifts of Christianity — as, for example, the idea of democratic equality — without understanding the roots of its ideals, it is particularly important to show that the fruits die if the roots of the tree are severed. Indeed there is no justice without truth, and justice does not develop fully if its horizon is limited to the material world. For us Christians social solidarity always has a perspective of eternity.”
The Pope concluded with a reflection on the union “that must reign” between theologians and pastors.
“One cannot be a theologian in solitude,” he said. “Theologians have need of the ministry of the pastors of the Church, as the magisterium has need of theologians who thoroughly fulfill their service, with all the ascesis which that implies.”
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