We are meant to rely on receiving

POPE BENEDICT XVI

One cannot become wholly man in any other way than by being loved, by letting oneself be loved.

Man is redeemed by the cross;  the crucified Christ, as the completely opened being, as the true redemption of man — this is the central principle of Christian faith... in the last analysis of man, it expresses the primacy of acceptance over action, over one's own achievement...

Accordingly, from the point of view of the Christian faith, man comes in the profoundest sense to himself not through what he does but through what he accepts.  He must wait for the gift of love, and love can only be received as a gift.  It cannot be "made" on one's own, without anyone else;  one must wait for it, let it be given to one.

And one cannot become wholly man in any other way than by being loved, by letting oneself be loved.  That love represents simultaneously both man's highest possibility and his deepest need, and that this most necessary thing is at the same time the freest and the most unenforceable means precisely that for his "salvation" man is meant to rely on receiving.

If he declines to let himself be presented with the gift, then he destroys himself.  Activity that makes itself into an absolute, that aims at achieving humanity by its own efforts alone, is in contradiction with man's being...

The primacy of acceptance is not intended to condemn man to passivity; it does not mean that man can now sit idle.  On the contrary, it alone makes it possible to do the things of this world in a spirit of responsibility, yet at the same time in an uncramped, cheerful, free way, and to put them at the service of redemptive love.

 

 



ACKNOWLEDGEMENT

Pope Benedict XVI. "We are meant to rely on receiving." from Introduction to Christianity (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 2004).

Reprinted with permission of Ignatius Press.

This excerpt appeared in Benedictus: Day by Day with Pope Benedict XVI.

THE AUTHOR

Pope Benedict XVI is the author of Jesus of Nazareth, Vol II, Jesus of Nazareth, Vol I, Caritas in Veritate: Charity in Truth, Saved in Hope: Spe Salvi, God Is Love: Deus Caritas Est, The End of Time?: The Provocation of Talking about God, Truth and Tolerance: Christian Belief and World Religions, Without Roots: The West, Relativism, Christianity, Islam, Salt of the Earth: An Exclusive Interview on the State of the Church at the End of the Millennium, God and the World: Believing and Living in Our Time, In the Beginning: A Catholic Understanding of the Story of Creation and the Fall, The Spirit of the Liturgy, The Ratzinger Report: An Exclusive Interview on the State of the Church, Introduction to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, Introduction to Christianity, Called to Communion: Understanding the Church Today, Milestones: Memoirs 1927-1977, Behold the Pierced One, and God Is Near Us: The Eucharist, the Heart of Life.

Copyright © 2004 Ignatius Press




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