“The mystery of the moon”: Bergoglio on the Church in the world

One thing I like about walking the dog very early is that the world is quiet and dark, which allows for an experience that’s just a bit more contemplative. That was certainly the case this morning, at 4 am. The full moon shone brightly in a clear and cold night sky.

So I was pleased to have just read (because I often can’t resist checking a couple of blogs as I put on my boots before heading out with Tiger) about the remarks Cardinal Bergoglio offered to the cardinals of the conclave in the days before they elected him pope earlier this month. The cardinal archbishop of Havana has published notes he scribbled from the talk. Here’s a snippet (h/t to Fr. Imbelli at dotCommonweal):

3. – When the Church is self-referent without realizing it, she believes she has her own light. She ceases to be the mysterium lunae and gives way to that very great evil which is spiritual worldliness (according to De Lubac, it is the worst evil that can come upon the Church). The self-referent Church lives to give glory only to one another. In simple terms, there are two images of the Church: the evangelizing Church that comes out of herself; the Dei Verbum religiose audiens et fidente proclamans, and the worldly Church that lives within herself, of herself, for herself. This must give light to the possible changes and reforms which must be made for the salvation of souls.

4. – Thinking of the next Pope, he must be a man that from the contemplation and adoration of Jesus Christ, helps the Church to come out to the existential peripheries, that helps her to be the fruitful mother who lives from the sweet and comforting joy of evangelizing.

(Regarding the Latin, mysterium lunae = the mystery of the moon. Henri de Lubac (1896-1991), an influential theologian of the Second Vatican Council and later a cardinal himself, wrote of the church’s role in the relation to Christ being like the moon’s in relation to the sun, having no light of its own, but always reflecting the light it is “given” by the sun. Dei Verbum religiose audiens et fidente proclamans are the first words of the Council’s Dogmatic Constitution on Divine Revelation. They can be translated: “Hearing the word of God with reverence and proclaiming it with faith.”)

Besides his reference to de Lubac’s “mystery of the moon,” I love Bergoglio’s reference to “the sweet and comforting joy of evangelizing.” For most of us, even to think about engaging in evangelization is uncomfortable at best. Bergoglio is clearly a man who knows by experience what is truly good about the Good News that the Church proclaims.

More on then-Cardinal Bergoglio’s talk here.


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