Friday, January 25, 2008

Gnosticism vs. Faith

The other day I was given the task of discovering what sort of a man the new Black Pope is.

I failed to find anything significant. But it seems I didn't look hard enough, or with enough attention.

The new Superior General of the Jesuits, Father Adolfo Nicolás, had this to say in 2005 about the "liberating ways of religious wisdom":
The real spiritual Masters of all ages are more keen in teaching the way to God, than in giving answers to questions about God. Asia has produced an incredible wealth of such "Ways". The search for wisdom or for the Divinity is a very concrete search and the Masters continue to guide people in the journey of the heart. It is in this context that we Christians have to think and reconsider our Christian practices, from simple devotions to Sacramental celebrations.
I must increase so He must decrease.

Here's what the late Jesuit Father Jean Daniélou had to say on the same subject:
For syncretism, those who are saved are the inward-looking souls, whatever the religion they profess. For Christianity, they are the believers, whatever level of inwardness they may have achieved. A little child, an overworked workman, if they believe, stand at a higher level than the greatest ascetics. "We are not great religious personalities", Guardini once said; "we are servants of the Word." Christ himself had said that St. John the Baptist might well be "the greatest among the children of men", but that "the least among the sons of the kingdom is greater than he." It is possible for there to be great religious personalities in the world even outside of Christianity; it is indeed very possible for the greatest religious personalities to be found outside Christianity; but that means nothing; what counts is obedience to the Word of Christ.

The difference is between gnosticism, the salvation of the few through 'secret' knowledge, and the desire of God to save everyone through trusting surrender to His mercy.

I know which one I'd pick.

Thanks to Diogenes for the answer that we all had more or less already guessed.

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