Thursday, March 30, 2006

Stand firm in one Spirit

"with one mind striving side by side for the faith of the gospel."
Philippians 1:27

Can there be any doubt that this is an exhortation that should lead us contemporary Catholics to repentance? There is such a cacaphony of opinion out there. We disagree on so many things: even the Common Ground Intitiative started by Cardinal Bernadin with the express intention of underlining the places where we in the Church are already of one mind was met with opposition!

The question when there is disagreement, of course, is, "Who gives in?" To whose mind shall we conform? Most people think that they are right and others should conform. Others (usually when they feel that episcopal authority is on their side) think that we should just fall in with the teaching Magisterium of the Church, and that its interpretation is obvious, that all who diagree do so in bad faith.

Paul answers the question thus: "Have this mind among yourselves," not one one or other human authority, but that "which was in Jesus Christ, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped."

The long and short is that the price of being of one mind in Jesus Christ is self-negation, self-emptying (kenosis) and crucifixion. The reward is the peace that the world cannot give. Will we trust God enough to forego our own opinions?

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If I, who seem to be your right hand and am called Presbyter and seem to
preach the Word of God, If I do something against the discipline of the Church
and the Rule of the Gospel so that I become a scandal to you, The Church, then
may the whole Church, in unanimous resolve, cut me, its right hand, off, and
throw me away.

Origen of Alexandria
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