Saturday, March 09, 2013

Pope (E) Benedict XVI: "It is God who makes us 'Christian'"

"God is no longer very distant from us, he is not a reality to dispute — whether he exists or not — but we are in God and God is in us. The priority, the centrality of God in our life is a first consequence of Baptism. The answer to the question “Does God exist?” is: “He exists and is with us; he centres in our life this closeness to God, this being in God himself, who is not a distant star but the environment of my life”. This would be the first consequence and we must therefore tell ourselves that we should take this presence of God into account and truly live in his presence. A second consequence of what I have said is that we do not make ourselves Christian. Becoming Christian is not something that follows a decision of mine: “herewith I make myself a Christian”. Of course, my decision is also necessary, but first of all it is an action of God with me: it is not I who make myself Christian. I am taken on by God, taken in hand by God and thus, by saying “yes” to God’s action I become Christian. Becoming Christians, in a certain sense is passive; I do not make myself Christian but God makes me his man, God takes me in hand and puts my life in a new dimension. Likewise I do not make myself live but life is given to me; I am not born because I have made myself a human being, but I am born because I have been granted to be human. Therefore my Christian being has also been granted to me, it is in the passive for me, which becomes active in our, in my life. And this fact of being in the passive, of not making ourselves Christian but of being made Christian by God, already to some extent involves the mystery of the Cross: only by dying to my selfishness, by coming out of myself, can I be Christian.

Pope (Emeritus) Benedict XVI, "Lectio Divina", Basilica of Saint John Lateran, 11 June 2012