God has chosen faith as the gateway to the kingdom.
If you had been told: the door to the Kingdom is innocence, the door is the strict observance of the commandments, the door is this or that virtue, you could have found excuses and said: It's not for me! I'm not innocent, I haven't got that virtue. But you are being told: the door is faith. Believe! This is not something above or beyond you, it is not so far removed from you...
The newness of the Christian message becomes clouded when preaching, catechesis, spiritual guidance and all other formative activities of faith unilaterally insist on duties, virtues, vices, punishment and, in general, on what man "should do," presenting grace as an aid that comes to man in the course of his commitment to make up for what he is not able to do alone and not, on the contrary, as something that comes before these efforts and which makes them possible; when "duty" is created by the law and not by grace and when duty is consequently not conceived as our debt of gratitude to God but rather as something that creates, if we accomplish it, a debt of gratitude on God's part towards us; when, in other words, morals become separated from the kerygma.
In a stricter sphere, the religious life is similarly clouded when in the formation given to young people and novices, in retreats and on other occasions, more time is spent on talking about the charism, traditions, rules and constitutions and the particular spirituality of the order (often very poor and inconsistent) than talking of Christ the Lord and his Holy Spirit. The center of attention imperceptibly moves from God to man and from grace to the law.
Father Raniero Cantalamessa " excerpt from Life in the Lordship of Christ: A Commentary on Paul's Epistle to the Romans (Sheed & Ward, 1990).
Reprinted under a fair use provision.
Father Raniero Cantalamessa, O.F.M. Cap. is a Franciscan Capuchin Priest. In 1980 he was appointed by Pope John Paul II Preacher to the Papal Household and confirmed in that position by pope Benedict XVI in 2005. He is the author of many books including Life in the Lordship of Christ: A Commentary on Paul's Epistle to the Romans, Sober Intoxication of the Spirit: Filled With the Fullness of God, Beatitudes: Eight Steps to Happiness, Serving the Word: My Life, and Life in the Lordship of Christ: A Commentary on Paul's Epistle to the Romans.Copyright © 1990 Sheed & Ward
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