Quel mondo (modernità) che i papi e i padri conciliari volevano condurre a Cristo, era invece penetrato nella Chiesa (modernismo). Eppure il Cielo era intervenuto con mezzi ordinari e straordinari per dare alla sua Chiesa il rimedio all’apostasia e alla secolarizzazione. I mezzi ordinari furono il pontificato e il magistero di San Pio X, quelli straordinari le apparizioni mariane di Fatima. In quel minuscolo, sperduto paesino del Portogallo, la Regina del Cielo diede ai tre pastorelli il messaggio divino che consiste in un vero e proprio “anti-spirito del Concilio”: ricapitolare tutte le cose in Cristo, non nell’uomo; preghiera e penitenza, non attivismo e solidarismo; novissimi, non materialismo; eternità, non futurismo; ritorno alla Chiesa cattolica degli eretici e degli scismatici e conversione degli infedeli, non sincretismo religioso; famiglia, non comunitarismo; gerarchia, non conciliarismo; massimalismo mariano, non minimalismo mariano, etc.

By Karen Darantiere

The Door of Faith by Fr Serafino Lanzetta, a timely and timeless remedy to our Church’s woes

Having read Father Serafino Lanzetta’s new book, The Door of Faith, against the backdrop of Pope Francis’s recent words regarding the Communion of Saints, I cannot help penning my praise of this book without making reference to the pope’s troubling teaching. For the two are linked.  One is a sign of the apostasy in which the Church is submerged, the other a diagnosis of our ailing faith as well as a remedy so it may shine anew in all its truth and beauty.

Unbelievably, the Holy Father actually uttered these words: “The communion of saints is precisely the Church… No one can exclude himself from the Church… those who have denied the faith, who are apostates, who are the persecutors of the Church, who have denied their baptism: are these also at home? Yes, even these, even the blasphemers, all of them. We are brothers: this is the communion of saints. The communion of saints holds together the community of believers on earth and in heaven… in Christ no one can ever truly separate us from those we love because the bond is an existential bond, a strong bond that is in our very nature… nothing and no one can break this bond.”

We might merely resort to sarcasm, derisively laughing“Blessed be the blasphemers!” Or, we might pause to ponder over the fathomless falsehood of this catechesis.  Without claiming to judge the heart of the pope, we can, nonetheless, express dismay when hearing words so shocking to pious ears and clearly contradicting Church teaching.   Personally, my greatest dismay was caused by the resounding silence on the part of our shepherds, and, worse still, by favorable reviews published in reputedly reliable French Catholic journals, including one by a monk from a traditional monastery, who speaks in glowing terms while remaining silent on the shocking passage, and another whose title even dares to claim that this catechesis ‘sets the record straight’.  Is not only faith but also reason in total eclipse? 

Where are blasphemy and apostasy “at home” if not in the pits of hell from whence they come?  What is this communion of saints if not the cacophony of the damned, where heaven becomes hell, good evil, and truth falsehood?One cannot help thinking of Bishop Fulton Sheen’s prescient warning in 1947 when, speaking of Satan’s perversely seductive logic, he stated“…if there is no hell, then there is no sin; if there is no sin, then there is no judge, and if there is no judgement then evil is good and good is evil.”  And he foresaw the setting up of a counter-Church “which will be the ape of the Church because, he the devil, is the ape of God. It will have all the notes and characteristics of the Church, but in reverse and emptied of its divine content. It will be a mystical body of the anti-Christ that will in all externals resemble the mystical body of Christ… the anti-Christ “will have one great secret which he will tell to no one: he will not believe in God. Because his religion will be brotherhood without the fatherhood of God…” Far be it from me to suggest that the Pope is the Antichrist or that the gates of hell will prevail against our Holy Mother Church!  Undeniably, however, these words do ring somewhat true and should serve as a wake-up call to faithful Catholics.

Where are our shepherds warding off the wolves? If a well-catechized child can recognize this teaching for what it is, then what of our bishops? Have they utterly renounced their faith?  Have they no care for their flock? Why have they fled, leaving us bereft of pastors? If apostates are part of the communion of saints, why believe?  If nothing we do can separate us from the Church, why belong to it? Why profess our faith? Why receive the sacraments? Why pray? Why lead a moral life? Are apostates really part of the community of believers?  What is believing if disbelief and belief are one and the sameWhat is faith? If the bond uniting us in the communion of saints is an existential bond, one belonging to our very nature, then what of grace? Is grace absorbed into nature, rendering it useless? 

Happily, we find in Fr Serafino Lanzetta a faithful pastor, who has spoken with charity and clarity on this very topicThankfully, the answers to the above questions are found in The Door of Faith, hence its timeliness and timelessness.  

“Faith is the door that opens the mystery of God to us and through which God gives us our raison d’être.” (XIII)

Providentially, The Door of Faith begins with the word ‘Faith’ and ends with the word ‘God’.  Reading this book means embarking on a challenging and rewarding journey, the journey of faith to our final goal, God.  But what is faith?  We are confronted nowadays with diverging notions of faith, between which we must clearly distinguish, so as to choose the right door that will lead us in the right direction.  The door of faith has as its threshold our ability to think rationally, to seek and find the truth: it is essential to set out on a journey well-prepared… On must start at the foundation: reason.” (XIII)

The wrong door will lead us elsewhere, or rather nowhere: “a blind wandering around the streets of the world, believing that you can see something when in reality you only see darkness.” (XIII)  This aimless wandering is caused by a rejection of reason, making of faith nothing more than an embrace of the irrational.  However, faith is real, not a mere ideal” (XIX)not a mere vain pursuit, but the embrace of the whole of reality, grounded in our natural capacity for reason and love, and granted through the supernatural gift of faith and charity.  “Faith and charity work together like reason and love although the two pairs are on different levels… one natural and the other supernatural – in harmony, so that with reason and love, faith and charity, we can truly embrace the whole of reality and give a definitive response to our life.” (XIV)  The problem we are confronted with in the Church, as in society at large, is a pitting of love against reason, charity against faith, whereas “reason and love cannot be set against each other, just as you cannot choose either faith or charity.” (XXIII)

The journey we embark on by reading this book is an ascent to ever-greater heights, starting with nature, elevated by grace, allowing us to see the face of truth and love incarnate in the Good Shepherd and to be nourished by this selfsame Logos-Love in the Holy Eucharist.  Along the way, we perceive the natural to be in harmony with the supernatural, nature with grace, creation with redemption, the indissolubly wedded couple of reason-love in harmony with that of faith-charity.  We understand faith as the divine seed growing into a tree whose roots in reason run deep and whose branches bear the beautiful fruit of charity.  We see faith and charity not as opposing forces but as two wings of our Christian soul allowing us to soar heavenward.  The whole is summed up in the paradigm: a love in truth for a truth of love, which becomes incarnate in the Word made flesh, in whom truth and life are one.  We gaze upon the beautiful face of the Good Shepherd, whose eyes mirror a soul made of Love and Truth, who looks back upon his creatures made in His image, capable of knowing and loving in return He who knew and loved them first.  We understand that his Body given for us in the Holy Eucharist is the truth of his self-giving love for humanity which nourishes us with Truth and Love throughout our journey until we reach our final destination in heaven.  

Fr Lanzetta, while restoring to reason its natural dignity, also sheds light on the need to include the role of love in apologetic discourse.  He firstly highlights the indissoluble knot uniting reason and faith, while warding off the danger to the faith caused by the loss of reason, before examining in depth the circular and harmonious relationship between reason and love, as the natural foundation on which rests supernatural faith and charity, all of this relying on his vast scholarship, particularly on the wisdom of Benedict XVI’s encyclical, Deus Caritas Est.  At the start of the journey, we look through the false door, leading to the oblivion of faith, and peer down the path to a distant darkness, at an irrational landscape where truth is unknowable, where faith is a mere ideal without reality, where God is void of truth, that is, void of Himself.

What is the cause of the present oblivion of faith?

In response to this question we all wish to see answered, we learn that: “this crisis is generated largely by setting aside the question of God … When the thoughts of men and women are no longer capable of understanding God, they become non-thoughts and they head toward decline.  Along with thought goes faith.”(p. 3).  We grapple with nihilism, this logical haven of relativism, in which nothing is explained with God or without Him, where there is no true knowledge, nothing but radical agnosticism, and we see its two prevalent forms, one a nihilist-theist relativism, the other a nihilistic atheism, the former having seeped its poison rather deeply into the lifeblood of the Church, causing a fatal divide between faith and reason. God is no longer perceivable as the foundation of being, so faith is torn between the natural longing for goodness and the thought seeking for truth in vain. This skepticismcommonplace in society, has made its way into the minds of Catholics, who “due to systematic doubt must suspect the very principle of reasoning and therefore of faith,” to the point where many “see in Christ the teacher of a believing atheism and of a faith continually threatened by denial of God”(p. 22-23)However, “a philosophy or even a theology of doubt, which in the final analysis proves the possibility of being atheistic believers or believers continually threatened by atheism, is simply a rejection of thought.” (p. 33)

We have assimilated a weak idea of God, “in the image of a thought that has renounced being to focus on desire and then resigned itself to evil” (p. 84). We desire forgiveness but renounce truth, whereas “if mercy, as is sometimes hoped, cancelled justice, it would destroy itself; it would have no further raison d’être because there would no longer be any sin to pardon.  The actions of men and women would be irrelevant, and God would simply be an empty and useless hope for forgiveness.” (p. 95) Ultimately, however, the cancellation of God’s punishment following sin results sooner or later in ascribing the origin of the wound of human nature not to original sin [but] to God alone,  [so that] if we wanted God not to punish us, we would have paved the road to atheism.” (p. 104)

“Help me to see You with reason, to desire You with love, to believe with faith, to unite myself forever with You in charity.” (p. 36)

What is the solution to the problem?  We must once again: unite reason and love to know God.  He is the fullness.  He Himself is Reason and Love.  The only true religion is the one where God is the fullness of reason and love, to which must correspond faith and charity.” (p. 7)  Fr Lanzetta presents the beautiful teaching of William of Saint Thierry, a disciple of Saint Bernard’s, who identifies charity with the vision possessed by the soul to see Godtruth and charity are linked because one illuminates the other.  They are so linked that charity itself, love in truth and the truth of love, has two eyes: reason and love, which must not work separately, just as two eyes of natural sight: When one of them tries to see without the other it has little success, but when they work together they can achieve great things.” (p. 110-111)  

We are led to see that the God of reason and the God of Revelation are one and the same: “In reality, the uncaused Cause, reason of everything including my own being, is a Person with an intellect and a will, with a heart. The God-cause is Reason and Love.” (p. 114)  This pairing of reason and love is like the fertile ground in which a supernatural seed may be planted:  “The pairing of reason-love… is the foundation on which another pairing rests: the union of faith and charity.” (p. 114) These theological virtues enable us to know and unite with God:  “Faith purifies in order to ‘see’ God, charity is the possession of God, namely, being in Him.  Faith and charity find their unity in the mystery of God believed and loved.” (p. 117)

“Will there be a living Jesus opposed to the faith which He Himself taught? (p. 77)

The divorce between reason and love has engendered an unnatural divide between faith and charity.  What is faith? “To believe is to welcome God’s Revelation, namely the truth introduced by God for my salvation.  To believe is an act of obedience to God, moved by His Grace … There is not, nor should there be, a divide between faith understood as concepts to learn and faith lived in a personal encounter with the Lord… We must recover… the harmonious relationship between the two … Faith, in fact, is an intellectual and loving assent to supernatural truth…” (p. 23-24)   In reality, in Christ we see the unity between the noetic and dynamic aspects of the Word, through Him we can see that assent to revealed truth is not opposed to a loving encounter. (p. 62) 

The false dichotomy between faith as an encounter with Christ and faith as the loving assent to His truth has resulted in such ambiguous proclamations as that of the Synod of Bishops (May 2012) on the transmission of the faith: “…referring to the Gospel, we must not think of it only as a book or a set of teachings…. It is not so much a system of articles of faith and moral precepts… but a person: Jesus Christ…” (p. 77) How tiresome are such semi-negations which, without outright denying that the Gospel contains doctrinehint that what truly counts is a person who apparently has little concern for faith or morals, as if in Christ truth and life were not one!  In reality, “the two aspects are mutually implicit, so the dynamism would be empty without a content to be realized” (p. 77)  There can be “no catechesis which rejects the truths of faith, or the transmission of concepts and dogma which those truths express, to make room solely for a living encounter with Christ, for an experience of the Risen One.” (p. 77)

To set aside doctrine to make room for pastoral care is not only contradictory, but hides an explicit rejection of Christ.” (p. 129)  

The unnatural divide between truth and love, faith and charity, has given rise to a false division between doctrinal teaching and pastoral care:  If pastoral is conceived as opposed to doctrinal, “we would also have eliminated its meaning of love, which begins from truth and bestows truth.” (p. 126) However, doctrinal truth is in harmony with pastoral care, as faith, once assented to, can be acted upon. “ Doctrine is the faith of the Church… understood and believed… while pastoral care is charity which sees and realizes the believed doctrinal principles, transforming them into food for the faithful.  Thus, faith becomes operational.” (p. 124) There is an “intimate relationship between doctrine and life, teaching and salvation.” (p. 124) Ultimately, “to set aside doctrine to make room for pastoral care is not only contradictory, but hides an explicit rejection of Christ.” (p. 129) On the contrary, pastors must base their care of their flock on the familial relationship between the Good Shepherd who knows his flock and whose flock knows Him: “This knowledge is therefore an intimate, intellectual, and affective relationship between the Shepherd and His sheep… At the center of this life-giving relationship… is the eternal Logos become the Good Shepherd in His incarnation, which has its salvific fulfilment in redemption through His death on the Cross… Contained in the Eucharist is the food for the sheep, which is doctrine and life, truth and love, tied together for ever in the unique person of the Savior Word..” (p. 127-128)

Drawing close to Christ, in the beauty of His gaze, we are enchanted by the goodness of truth and by the truth of goodness” (p. 203)

Truth and love unite in one mystery: the Word incarnate, the Good Shepherd, the incarnate Logos-Agape:  “In God reason and love are one. In Christ reason and love become flesh.  In Him, the Good Shepherd, as in a magnificent canvas, the Logos and Agape, reason and charity, harmonize in the perceptibility of the flesh… In Him, man, who was made in His image and likeness, is reborn in the truth of the unity of reason and love, a reason which is the foundation of love and a love which is the fullness of reason.  What is more, in the incarnate God, Logos and Agape are united in a harmony which unifies everything: beauty… The face of the Good Shepherd is the face of beauty… Drawing close to Christ, in the beauty of His gaze, we are enchanted by the goodness of truth and by the truth of goodness…” (p. 202-203)

Gazing at the Good Shepherd can allow us to disentangle ourselves from the post-modern thought incapable not only of truthbut also of beauty, as, deprived of truth, “the aesthetic perception, too, is nihilistic.” (p. 173) Contemplating the beauty of His face, humanity can embrace true love and regain its thought of love (agape) and of its love of thought (logos).” (p. 203)  This same Good Shepherd nourishes us with his truth and love in the Holy Eucharist: “With the Eucharistic mystery, the discourse about a personal circularity of truth and love is brought to completion.” (p. 208) In a word, “the Eucharist is the truth of God who is love, and in the Eucharist is the gift of the truth of love.”” (p. 210-211)

“Why not begin with love to tell men and women, who only want to hear about love, that the truth about themselves, about reality, about God, is realized precisely in love?” (p. 134)

Humanity today is inebriated with a false idea of love: “the word of the day is love, but its true meaning is euphoric and undisciplined eros.” (p. 227)  This love, so often claimed as our unique good, as it is deprived of truth, has become its contrary, to the point of defending abortion and euthanasiaHence the need to engage in the defense of love, the restoration of its true face … [as] to be and to love are one in God” (p. 130).  With this in mind, FLanzetta invites us to renew with apologetic discourse as a proposal of the truth of love, for a love in truth and a love of the Truth.” (p. 131) This harmonious pairing of truth and love necessitates speaking of love in truth:  “It is necessary to denounce error to love the errant, without pretending to love them by keeping silent about the truth and thus choosing falsehood.  Silence is kept in the belief that one is loving, but instead the other person is offended because they are being offered falsehood.  The first and greatest charity is to give the truth.”  (p. 145)  

This renewal of apologetic discourse, based upon the circularity of truth and love, will restore our vision, enabling us to see Christ truly and, in His eyes, to see our true selves, for “truth and love coincide in Christ.… Love without truth would be blind” (p. 152)  In this case, “humanity would believe in a non-living God, and religion would deteriorate into praying to a God it does not know.” (p. 159)   Unveiled before our mind’s eye is a false discord between Christ’s human and divine natures, whereas we must perceive once again his Life as one with his Word: “the eternal Logos… without any division or confusion is Truth and Charity.” (p. 129) We will thus be able to encounter Christ, holding fast to His truth and uniting in his Love, healing thereby the false division posited within our own souls between knowing and loving. The correct perception of the circularity of truth and love will restore full rights to the love of the truth about God and humanity, to “a love of the logos, to finally find the logos of love. (p. 161) This will lead to a sapiential love whereGod and humanity meet in reason and in love… [in] the unity of nature with grace, of reason-love with faith.” (p. 161)  

Moreover, wwill perceive God truthfully in his Trinitarian Being, and ourselves as His mirror image in our capacity for loving and truthful communion“In God there is the inter-twining of truth and love.  Truth, being One, is the foundation of the love of the being Three, and being Three is the perfection of being One.  In God love remains in truth, and His truth is love: the Trinity in Unity and Unity in the Trinity.  Every multiple needs to become one, and every unity is fulfilled in multiplicity. Therefore, you cannot simply get rid of metaphysics without getting rid of God, of His being in love, and in the end getting rid of humanity, or being man.” (p. 151)

Humanity will be capable of looking at reality with real eyes, with the truth of love, with the Logos of Love, through Mary, the handmaid of the Lord.” (p. 194)

Perceiving once again the natural and indissoluble bond between truth and love will restore God to humanity and humanity to itself, for“reason and love either go hand in hand or both failThe paradigm of reason and love becomes personal in Christ.  Truth and love meet definitively in the Person of the Word incarnate, in whom we share by faith and charity, and of whom we are partakers in the mystery of the Holy Eucharist.  Truth and love are one Person, Christ… By correctly coordinating the relationship between reason and love, we can indeed address the whole of reality: all that is thinkable and an object of love.  This is why reason and love together can do great things, especially in restoring to a post-Christian society the possibility of addressing the core of all problems: God.” (p. 239-240)

By way of conclusion, it is appropriate to end with these words of Fr Lanzetta who, true to his Marian Franciscan heartcannot help but present to us the Virgin Mary as the golden standard of the indissoluble harmonious pairing of reason and love, on the one hand, and faith and charity, on the other: “Is it not perhaps because we have got rid of the Madonna – minimizing, redefining, whittling away here and there at her unique presence in the mystery of Christ and the Church – that faith has got rid of an important ally such as reason?  The Virgin is a sign of the truth which opens itself to faith, of the reason which seeks to understand with the Logos of God… The Virgin gives us Christ, the Logos of incarnate love which gives to humanity the true face of God: the face of Being always identical in an infinite love… Humanity will be capable of looking at reality with real eyes, with the truth of love, with the Logos of Love, through Mary, the handmaid of the Lord.” (p. 194)

By Fr Serafino M. Lanzetta

Let me introduce this topic with a question: did Jesus reveal to St Joseph his desire to institute the Holy Eucharist? Perhaps during the years of his hidden life in Nazareth? Or before the beginning of his public life, e.g., before Joseph fell asleep in God? It is not easy to answer this question, nor is it easy to get some clues from the Gospel accounts. Let us try, however, to investigate the issue with a reason that is open to the central theological element of fittingness. It was certainly fitting for Jesus to reveal to the one who after Mary his Mother was closest to him the secret of secrets, the love of his Heart, the desire of all desires: the Holy Eucharist. Jesus will say in the Gospel of Luke (22,15) with a truly singular and paradigmatic construct: “Desiderio desideravi hoc pascha manducare vobiscum antequam patiar”. Literally, recalling also the original Greek form that follows the same construction, where the verb “to desire” and the noun “desire” are linked to reinforce each other, we have: “I have desired with great desire to eat this passover with you before suffering.”

We can well imagine that this great desire animated Jesus from his earliest years and that he, therefore, did not hold back his heart from confiding it to Mary his mother and then to Joseph his father. It must have been this “Eucharistic desire” confided to Joseph that motivated the holy Carpenter in a very special way to make himself one with his Son and his Bride. Especially in being always generous in the offering of himself – an offering of desire and love – so that all men might be saved. If according to St. Augustine, desire is the “thirst of the soul”, and according to St. Thomas Aquinas, “desiderium ex amore” – to desire one must love, hence “amor praecedit desiderium” – love precedes desire. Therefore, St. Joseph must have – at the very least – grasped by virtue of his love that thirst of his Son’s Heart and with him desired what he desired. But it is also very fitting to suppose that Jesus revealed to him his intention of instituting the Blessed Sacrament, the Love that precedes all desire.

Joseph indeed wanted to become Eucharist with Jesus and Mary. Like his Bride, he conformed himself to that mystery with his desire, even before it was instituted. His was a communion of love and desire, of love that being the soul of desire sets love on fire. A spiritual communion lived with Jesus throughout his life that was intertwined with Mary’s spiritual communion so as to become a desire for oblation in Jesus. Joseph, like Mary, made the sacrificial dimension of the Eucharist his own. His life was a daily preparation for the sacrifice of Calvary, at which he was absent, but after having already arranged everything: he handed over to his Bride his oblative contribution, his fatherly price, asking her to carry it in his name on the mountain of the Crucifixion. Joseph entrusted to Mary all his desire to be one with Jesus in her and through her, so as to become one host with Jesus. There is a passage in John Paul II’s encyclical on the Eucharist, Ecclesia de Eucharistia (no. 56), which could apply not only to Mary but also to Joseph. Here it is:

“Mary, throughout her life at Christ’s side and not only on Calvary, made her own the sacrificial dimension of the Eucharist. When she brought the child Jesus to the Temple in Jerusalem ‘to present him to the Lord’ (Lk 2:22), she heard the aged Simeon announce that the child would be a ‘sign of contradiction’ and that a sword would also pierce her own heart (cf. Lk 2:34-35). The tragedy of her Son’s crucifixion was thus foretold, and in some sense Mary’s Stabat Mater at the foot of the Cross was foreshadowed. In her daily preparation for Calvary, Mary experienced a kind of ‘anticipated Eucharist’ – one might say a ‘spiritual communion’ – of desire and of oblation, which would culminate in her union with her Son in his passion, and then find expression after Easter by her partaking in the Eucharist which the Apostles celebrated as the memorial of that passion”.

It would be enough to exchange in this quote the name “Mary” with that of “Joseph” to have the same result with the exception of Joseph’s participation in the Holy Mass celebrated by the Apostles. Joseph made the sacrificial dimension of the Eucharist his own through Mary. In the temple he is next to his Bride and hears Simeon’s words that become a sword also to his heart. Those prophetic words:

“He is here for the ruin and resurrection of many in Israel and as a sign of contradiction – and to you also a sword will pierce your very soul – so that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed” (Lk 2:34-35),

cannot but pierce his soul as well, seeing himself above all defenceless at the culminating moment of the “ruin and resurrection of many”, but completely resigned to the Father’s will. He prepares himself day after day for Calvary. He knows that he will not be there physically, but with the desire he is always there where the Son and his Bride are. The more love grows, the more the desire grows. Joseph experiences Calvary throughout his life as a preparation for his final spiritual oblation – for the Eucharist which he receives as a spiritual gift of a love consummated until his death. Joseph glimpses at the Eucharist, lives it out day after day, adores it and conforms himself to it in what is most proper to it: its sacrificial dimension. Desire and offering go always together and are one in the life of our Holy Patriarch.

Father Tarcisio Stramare adds another Eucharistic pearl to the mystery of St. Joseph. His reflection begins with Joseph being sold by his brothers, who providentially, in times of famine in Israel, became prime minister of the Pharaoh of Egypt and was able to provide bread for his brothers. When the famine was also felt in Egypt, Pharaoh ordered the Egyptians: “Go to Joseph; do what he tells you” (Genesis 41: 55). The famine then raged throughout the world, but Joseph, as a good minister, was able to provide not only for Egypt but also for all the people of the earth. The text adds:

“The famine raged over all the earth. So Joseph opened all the storehouses where there was grain and sold it to the Egyptians. The famine grew worse in Egypt, but from every country they came to Egypt to buy grain from Joseph, because the famine was raging throughout the land” (Gen 41:56).

Joseph of Egypt is just one figure of our Joseph, true minister of the Son of God and dispenser of the true grain, the true bread – Jesus himself. Father Stramare reflects on the gesture of “breaking bread” to put on the table, performed many times by Joseph at home and in front of Jesus. The bread that Joseph broke was “for” Jesus. But Jesus was also aware that that “broken bread” was him. Father Stramare writes:

“Joseph was aware of this in his heart, although he did not know how much or how. He had sensed it in the words addressed to Mary on the occasion of the presentation of Jesus in the temple: “A sword will pierce your soul too” (Lk 2:35). He had feared it in his hasty flight to Egypt to avoid Herod’s murderers. He had suffered it in the anguished (v. 48) search for Jesus who had remained in the temple, where the twelve-year-old had replied: “Why are you looking for me? Did you not know that I must be about my Father’s business?” […] What about St Joseph’s feelings of adoration towards the divine Presence, which were already revealed in his decision to leave his wife, who was recognised as being “with child by the Holy Spirit” (Mt 1:18), and then expressed at the moment of Jesus’ birth, he who was the first to hold him in his arms, making him the sacrifice of his entire existence with paternal love?” [San Giuseppe. Fatto religioso e Teologia, (Ancona: Shalom: 2018) 512-514].

This enlightening thought, which finds support in the preference for the thesis of St Joseph’s humility before the mystery of the incarnation, is also expressed by the Eucharistic saint, St Peter Julian Eymard, who describes it as follows:

Joseph “penetrated, so to speak, the coarse garment of Jesus: his faith penetrated the Sacred Heart and, illuminated by the divine light, he saw in advance all the states through which Jesus would pass, and he adored them and united himself to the grace of those mysteries. He worshipped Jesus in his hidden life; he worshipped him in his passion and death; he worshipped him even then in the holy Tabernacle. Could Our Lord have hidden anything from Saint Joseph? The holy Patriarch therefore received the grace of all the states of Jesus, including that of adoring the Blessed Sacrament, ours” (quoted in Ibid., p. 514).

The Holy Carpenter is therefore a “minister of the Eucharist” because he prepared Jesus to “break bread”, to break himself, his body for us, offering him the example of his daily and indomitable sacrifice. In his offering, Joseph worshipped his Son’s offering, all united with it. He was, with Mary and through Mary, one with it, one heart with it. With his heart, in desiderio, Joseph worshipped Jesus, the “broken bread”, and already “saw” that mystery which the Son would establish on the night he was betrayed. Thus he is our model of adoration of the Holy Eucharist. That Ite ad Ioseph – Go to Joseph has in this manner its proper foundation.

By Fr Serafino M. Lanzetta

One of the prayers taught by the Angel of Fatima in 1916 to the three little shepherds goes this way: “My God, I believe, I adore, I hope and I love Thee! I beg pardon for all those that do not believe, do not adore, do not hope and do not love Thee.” My God I believe! Without faith, the beginning of our supernatural life, there is no adoration neither hope. What is faith? The Catechism (no. 143) teaches that

by faith, man completely submits his intellect and his will to God. With his whole being man gives his assent to God the revealer. Sacred Scripture calls this human response to God, the author of revelation, ‘the obedience of faith’.

However, it’s necessary to purify our intellect and will to be able to believe in God. In fact, if my soul is still governed by my senses and by emotional feelings and judgments or by things pleasing exclusively my flesh, it’s hard to believe in God. True faith requires the death of my senses and of my carnal inclinations. This especially in times of distress and social calamity, such as the present epidemic, when it’s even more difficult to decipher God’s presence and will. Although true faith is never a blind renunciation of the reason and of a prudent discernment, it should always be naked, to use the expression of St John of the Cross, or pure as defined by St Louis Grignion de Montfort, namely without any human attachment. True faith is not compromised with our desire to find always a propitious God – One who helps us whenever we need Him, but Whom we are ready to forget once the danger is over. True faith is rather seeking God unceasingly, even when unbecoming events and hardships contribute to hide Him more or to render the search for Him irrational. It might sound surprising, but true faith is nothing other than a continuous search for God through all that conceals, disfigures, destroys, and, so to speak, annihilates him. Is it not true that only by negating what God is in the way common to all beings we come to know what He is in a singular way?

A French Jesuit, Father Jean Paul de Caussade (1675-1751), presents the necessary requirements to believe in his work entitled Self-Abandonment to Divine Providence. Here is a text in which this principle of a true faith is explained:

The life of faith is nothing other than a continuous search for God through all that hides him, represents him badly and, so to speak, destroys and annihilates him. It is certainly the reproduction of the life of Mary, who from the stable to Calvary remains attached to a God whom everyone else struggles to recognise, abandons, and persecutes. In the same way, men of faith pass through and beyond a continuous succession of veils, shadows, appearances, and deaths, as it were, in which each thing does its best to make the will of God unrecognisable, but in spite of this they fulfil and love the divine will until the death of the Cross. They know that the shadows must always be abandoned in order to follow this divine Sun, which from its rising to its setting, however black or heavy the clouds that cover it may be, illuminates, warms, and makes shine with love the hearts of the faithful, who bless him, praise him, and contemplate him in all the points of his mysterious orbit.

This teaching corresponds to what St Louis Grignion de Montfort (1673-1716), a contemporary of Fr de Caussade, calls “pure faith”, full of contradictions and repugnance, which the servant of Mary often undergoes, leaving to the heavenly Mother, Sovereign Queen, the clear vision of God. It is the Virgin who with her own supports that faith which lacks the sensible perceptions of her devoted son and who supplies in times of darkness. This is therefore participating in Our Lady’s perfect faith. Father de Montfort writes:

Leave, O poor little slave, leave to your Sovereign the clear vision of God, the transports, the joys, the pleasures, the riches, and take for yourself only pure faith, full of listlessness, distractions, boredom, aridity; and tell her: ‘Amen, So be it, to all that You, my Mistress, do in Heaven: for now that is the best that I can do’ (The Secret of Mary, no. 51).

How is our faith? Are we ready to embrace God’s will until our spiritual death of the Cross, or are we eager to abandon Jesus as soon as things turn in a way that is unpleasant? Are we, in this present difficult time, still believing in God as Church, or are we rather believing in ourselves, in the all-powerful science and technology? Are we not seduced by the sole power of the vaccine, that has almost become a quasi-dogma, to be either exalted as the panacea for all problems or rejected as the most subtle plot for the numbing of consciences? Just reflecting on this epidemic-pandemic caused by Covid-19, we can certainly say that our response of faith, as pastors and faithful, was inadequate, too human, too NHS focused. The image that is so imprinted in my memory is the fact that in most churches Holy Water has disappeared, and right in the Holy Font the sanitizer has been allocated. Is there not a possible way to spray Holy Water in a Covid safe mode as we do with the gel?

Health protocols have got their indisputable precedence over our moral capacity to judge this situation and to be respected for a moral stand that may either accept the vaccine for its moral liceity – as confirmed by the Congregation for the Faith – or refuse it for a genuine though non-obligatory matter of conscience. The latter should of course not be a pretext to fall into libertarianism, but an ethical-moral choice, especially in relation to the crime of abortion, the state of necessity and the efficacy of the vaccine. Between those in our Church who have received the vaccine and those who have not there is no dialogue at all. They seem to be eternal enemies. No charity is reserved to this affair, splitting us more than previous heresies have done in the past. Yet, the vaccine is not a dogma nor is it a doctrine. What is relevant in a moral judgment is man’s moral action choosing the vaccine.

Where is our supernatural vision? Where is God in all this? Where is here our search for the will of God above all other things? It seems that we are so advanced not only technologically but also morally that God has no role to play at this moment. We act in fact as if He did not exist. Our faith is very much carnal and interested.

My God I believe, I adore… The Angel of Fatima taught this prayer also in reparation for this tragic loss of faith that unfolds today as liquid apostasy. We should start believing in God with a pure faith, able to see Him beyond this pandemic, permitted by Him to purify our lives. Can we say that this present calamity is above all a chastisement of our own intelligence, too proud to see beyond itself and to leave some space for God’s intervention? After all, many people think that since the virus was fabricated in China and the vaccine was planned ahead with the virus, so to speak of God’s Providence in this context would be diminishing its worth. Is all this, however, not leading into a deistic vision of God? Another way to forget Him and leave Him out of a mere human play.

In this confusion of our minds, like a new Tower of Babel in the Church, we are asked to go back to a pure faith and to start to believe. We need Our Lady’s faith. By Her Faith the Son of God was formed first in Her mind and then in Her womb. For Her faith God is man and is with us. May Her Fiat be spoken today for us and within us. Amen.

di P. Serafino M. Lanzetta

Una delle preghiere insegnate ai tre pastorelli dall’Angelo a Fatima nel 1916 recita così: “Mio Dio, io credo, adoro, spero e Ti amo! Chiedo perdono per tutti quelli che non credono, non adorano, non sperano e non Ti amano”. Mio Dio, io credo! Senza la fede, inizio della nostra vita soprannaturale, non c’è adorazione né speranza. Che cos’è la fede? Il Catechismo (n. 143) insegna che

«con la fede l’uomo sottomette pienamente a Dio la propria intelligenza e la propria volontà. Con tutto il suo essere l’uomo dà il proprio assenso a Dio rivelatore. La Sacra Scrittura chiama “obbedienza della fede” questa risposta dell’uomo a Dio che rivela». 

Tuttavia è necessario purificare il nostro intelletto e la nostra volontà per poter credere in Dio. Infatti, se la mia anima è governata dai sensi, da sentimenti e giudizi emotivi o da cose che allettano la carne, è difficile credere in Dio. La vera fede richiede la morte dei miei sensi e delle mie inclinazioni carnali. Questo specialmente in tempi di angoscia e di calamità sociale, come l’attuale epidemia, quando è ancora più difficile decifrare la presenza e la volontà di Dio. Sebbene la vera fede non sia mai una cieca rinuncia alla ragione e ad un prudente discernimento, essa dovrebbe essere sempre “nuda”, per usare un’espressione di San Giovanni della Croce, o “pura” come la definisce San Luigi Grignion de Montfort, cioè senza alcun attaccamento umano. La vera fede non è compromessa con il nostro desiderio di trovare sempre un Dio propizio: qualcuno che ci aiuti ogni volta che ne abbiamo bisogno, pronto poi a dimenticarlo una volta che è passato il pericolo. La vera fede è invece la ricerca incessante di Dio, anche quando gli eventi e le avversità contribuiscono a nasconderlo di più o a rendere addirittura irrazionale la sua ricerca. Può sembrare sorprendente, ma la vera fede non è altro che una continua ricerca di Dio attraverso tutto ciò che lo nasconde, lo sfigura, lo distrugge e per così dire lo annienta. Non è forse vero che solo negando ciò che Dio è nel modo comune a tutti gli esseri si arriva a conoscere ciò che Egli è in modo singolare?

Un gesuita francese, padre Jean Paul de Caussade (1675-1751), espone tutti questi requisiti necessari per credere correttamente nella sua opera intitolata Abbandono alla Provvidenza divina. Ecco un testo in cui si spiega questo principio:

«La vita di fede non è altro che una continua ricerca di Dio attraverso tutto ciò che lo nasconde, lo rappresenta male e, per così dire, lo distrugge e lo annienta. È, certamente, la riproduzione della vita di Maria, la quale dalla stalla al Calvario rimane attaccata a un Dio che ogni altro fatica a riconoscere, abbandona e perseguita. Allo stesso modo, uomini di fede passano attraverso e oltre una continua successione di veli, ombre, apparenze e morti, per così dire, in cui ciascuna cosa fa il suo meglio per rendere la volontà di Dio irriconoscibile, ma nonostante ciò, fanno e amano la volontà divina fino alla morte di Croce. Sanno che le ombre devono essere sempre abbandonate per poter seguire questo Sole divino, il quale dal suo sorgere fino al suo tramonto, quantunque nere o pesanti possano essere le nubi che lo coprono, illumina, riscalda e fa brillare con amore i cuori fedeli, i quali lo benedicono, lo lodano e lo contemplano in tutti i punti della sua orbita misteriosa».

Ciò corrisponde a ciò che San Luigi Grignion de Montfort (1673-1716), contemporaneo del p. de Caussade, definisce «fede pura» piena di contraddizioni e di ripugnanza, che il servo di Maria vive ogni giorno, lasciando alla Madre celeste, Sovrana Regina, la chiara visione di Dio. È la Vergine che con la sua fede sostiene quella senza gusti sensibili del suo devoto figlio e che supplisce in tempo di oscurità. Si tratta perciò di partecipare alla fede perfettissima della Vergine Maria. Scrive così il Padre de Montfort:

«Lascia, o povera piccola schiava, lascia alla tua Sovrana la chiara visione di Dio, i trasporti, le gioie, i piaceri, le ricchezze, e prendi per te soltanto la fede pura, piena di svogliatezze, di distrazioni, di noie, di aridità; e dille: “Amen, Così sia, a tutto quello che Tu, mia Padrona, fai in Cielo: per ora è ciò che posso fare di meglio”» (Il Segreto di Maria, n. 51).

Com’è invece la nostra fede? Siamo pronti ad abbracciare la volontà di Dio fino alla morte spirituale di croce, o siamo desiderosi di abbandonare Gesù non appena le cose prendono una brutta piega? Crediamo ancora in Dio, in questo momento difficile, o crediamo piuttosto in noi stessi, nell’onnipotente scienza e tecnologia? Non siamo forse sedotti dal solo potere del vaccino, che è diventato un quasi-dogma, da esaltare come la panacea di tutti i problemi o da rifiutare come la più sottile trama per l’intorpidimento delle coscienze? Proprio riflettendo su questa epidemia-pandemia causata dal Covid-19, possiamo certamente dire che la nostra risposta di fede, come pastori e fedeli, è stata inadeguata, troppo umana, da Ministero della Salute. L’immagine che è così impressa nella mia memoria è il fatto che nella maggior parte delle chiese l’acqua santa è scomparsa, e proprio nell’acquasantiera ora è stato allocato il flacone disinfettante a spruzzo. Non c’è un modo per spruzzare anche l’acqua santa in modo sicuro e resistente al virus come facciamo con il gel sanificante?

I protocolli sanitari hanno la loro indiscutibile precedenza sulla nostra capacità morale di giudicare questa situazione e di essere rispettati in una scelta morale che può accettare il vaccino – la sua liceità morale è stata confermata dalla Congregazione per la Dottrina per la Fede – o rifiutarlo per una questione di coscienza, quando la persona non ne reputi necessaria la somministrazione. Quest’ultima opzione non deve ovviamente essere un pretesto per cadere nel libertarismo, ma una vera scelta etico-morale, soprattutto in relazione al crimine dell’aborto, al reale stato di necessità e all’efficacia del vaccino. Tra coloro che nella nostra Chiesa hanno ricevuto il vaccino e coloro che non l’hanno ricevuto non c’è alcun dialogo. Sembrano essere eterni nemici. Nessuna carità è riservata a questa faccenda, dividendoci più di quanto non abbiano fatto in passato le grandi eresie. Eppure il vaccino non è un dogma né una dottrina. Ciò che è rilevante in un giudizio morale è l’azione morale dell’uomo che sceglie il vaccino.

Dov’è la nostra visione soprannaturale? Dov’è Dio in tutto questo? Dov’è la nostra ricerca della Volontà di Dio sopra ogni altra cosa? Sembra che siamo così avanzati non solo tecnologicamente ma anche moralmente che Dio non ha alcun ruolo in questo momento. Di fatto facciamo tutto come se Lui non esistesse. La nostra fede è molto carnale e interessata.

Mio Dio, io credo, adoro… L’Angelo di Fatima ha insegnato questa preghiera anche in riparazione di questa tragica perdita di fede che si manifesta oggi con un’apostasia che si potrebbe definire liquida, senza contorni e senza confini. Dovremmo cominciare a credere con una fede pura, capace di vedere Dio al di là di questa pandemia, permessa da Lui per purificare la nostra vita. Possiamo dire che questa calamità attuale è soprattutto un castigo della nostra stessa intelligenza, troppo orgogliosa per vedere oltre se stessa e per lasciare spazio all’intervento di Dio? Dopotutto, molti pensano che siccome il virus è stato fabbricato in Cina e il vaccino è stato pianificato in anticipo con il virus, parlare della Provvidenza di Dio in questo contesto sarebbe sminuirne il valore. Ma tutto questo non conduce forse ad una visione deistica di Dio? Un altro modo per dimenticarlo e lasciarlo fuori da un mero gioco umano.

In questa confusione delle nostre menti, come una nuova Torre di Babele nella Chiesa, è necessario tornare a una fede pura e cominciare a credere. Abbiamo bisogno della fede della Madonna. Per la sua fede il Figlio di Dio è stato formato prima nella sua mente e poi nel suo grembo. Per la Sua fede Dio è uomo ed è con noi. Che il Suo Fiat sia pronunciato oggi per noi e in noi. Amen.

di Cristina Siccardi

Arguto, lucido e carico di verità si presenta l’ultimo lavoro di Padre Serafino Lanzetta della diocesi di Portsmounth, in Inghilterra, libero docente di teologia dogmatica alla Facoltà teologica di Lugano, in Svizzera, direttore della rivista teologica «Fides Catholica» e molto presente su Youtube con le sue catechesi settimanali.

Il libro Messer Arcibaldo. Lettere di un esperto diavolo a un apprendista tentatore, pubblicato da Fede & Cultura (pp. 40, 15,00 €) oltre ad essere di piacevolissima lettura, presenta l’arte demoniaca, attraverso un genere letterario inaugurato da Clive Staples Lewis (1898-1963) [1], erede del pensiero religioso inglese introdotto dal santo cardinale John Henry Newman, non a caso frequentò infatti la cerchia  dello scrittore John Ronald Reuel Tolkien (1892 – 1973), ma invece di convertirsi al cattolicesimo come fece quest’ultimo, si fermò alla «Via media» della Chiesa alta d’Inghilterra. (Lewis è riprodotto a destra in un ritratto, dalla cui pipa fuoriesce un leone formatosi con il fumo, esplicito riferimento al suo romanzo fantasy Le cronache di Narnia, un vero e proprio capolavoro che ha prodotto 100 milioni di copie vendute in tutto il mondo. Il ritratto è stato ripreso dal sito:  Fabio Piemonte).

L’autore di Messer Arcibaldo rappresentano, con stile satirico, gli insegnamenti di un diavolo per compiere il male nella Chiesa attraverso l’accondiscendenza alle soggettive debolezze, in modo tale da illudere e sedurre gli uomini in modo tale da sentirsi artefici di un nuovo destino della Chiesa stessa e dell’umanità intera. Dunque Arcibaldo istruisce Polliodoro, un diavoletto apprendista che deve imparare come condurre alla perdizione le anime e lo fa acquisendo la verità diabolica conosciuta dal maestro, sapendo che se acquisirà quelle “verità” potrà avere successo.

L’inganno sta nel circuire le anime, seducendo «gli uomini con le loro stesse seduzioni, convincendoli di essere protagonisti di una storia nuova, di un modo alternativo di essere cristiani». Una storia sempre uguale a se stessa, fin dall’alba dell’umanità, «un modo già sperimentato da altri prima di loro», in quanto «c’è una tentazione originaria che si riaffaccia di tanto in tanto alla finestra di ogni esistenza umana e sussurra “Sarai come Dio se obbedirai alla mia voce, che in fondo è ciò che tu stesso desideri: il tuo ego prima di ogni cosa e al di sopra di tutto, anche di Dio se ci fosse» (p. 7), perché il dubbio dell’esistenza di Dio è forte tanto quanto quello dell’esistenza di Satana e il principe di questo mondo è assai soddisfatto in questo: più c’è ignoranza e incredulità sul mondo soprannaturale e più logicamente può strappare anime a Dio, che non ha mai lesinato – come pure la Madre di Dio – nel rivelarsi manifestamente.

Nella nostra contemporaneità malata di male, orgogliosamente malata, trova nella corruzione spirituale e morale leve di autopromozione nel mondo, così questo epistolario risulta essere di speciale ausilio didattico per metterci di fronte alla realtà del maligno: egli esiste e ha le idee molto chiare, a differenza dell’uomo del nostro tempo, il quale lo nega oppure lo esalta attraverso il mondo dell’occultismo, dell’esoterismo e della magia nera. È evidente che nei nostri tristi giorni Satana pesca più anime che la Chiesa stessa, essendo quest’ultima più attenta al mondo e alle globaliste ideologie occidentali che alle anime in se stesse e alle molteplici tentazioni che la assediano, la minacciano fino ad essere corrotte e divorate da una cultura divenuta demoniaca, devastando in particolare le giovani generazioni (si pensi, per esempio, al rapper Achille Lauro oppure ai Måneskin, un lascivo gruppo musicale lanciato dal Festival di San Remo nel 2021, presente anche al Festival dell’edizione conclusasi da poche ore, contro la quale si è scagliato il Vescovo della stessa diocesi, monsignor Antonio Suetta).

I diavoli hanno per obiettivo indicare la strada dell’Inferno e lo fanno attraverso la menzogna e l’inganno, proprio come scrive Messer Arcibaldo, ironicamente rappresentato di spalle e intento a scrivere al suo discepolo nella bella e catturante copertina del libro:

«Caro Polliodoro, sono orgoglioso di te. Mi dicono i colleghi del tuo girone che non dai spazio a nessun pensiero che possa minimamente turbarti o sviarti dal tuo operare vòlto all’illuminazione dell’umanità e all’indottrinamento di coloro che si dicono credenti. Sai bene che la nostra regola d’oro è operare nel silenzio, dietro le quinte, senza essere visti. Preferiamo che non ci si accorga di noi. Convinceremo i mortali che tutto dipende da loro, mentre in realtà molto dipende anche da noi. E se il gioco non funzionasse, allora gli faremmo credere che tutto dipende da noi, spiriti, spiriti del dubbio e del caos. Ciò che è importante è che dimentichino il Nemico. Infatti, se tutto dipende da noi, il bene e il male, allora niente dipende più né da loro né dal loro Maestro. Questa mi sembra un’ottima idea per sbarazzarci di quella “fede nel diavolo” che purtroppo tiene gli uomini guardinghi e vigilanti» (p. 35).

Non essere di Dio e per Dio comporta appartenere comunque a qualcun altro e quest’altro non è altri che Satana con i suoi giannizzeri, perché il destino dell’uomo ha unicamente due vie da scegliere, stare con Dio o contro Dio, quindi stare con Lui oppure con Satana, anche quando non si crede all’uno – il Padre Creatore – e/o all’altro (perché ci sono anche coloro che credono alle tre Persone della Santissima Trinità, ma non alla persona Lucifero), il principe tentatore, annientatore e distruttore. Due vie soltanto si hanno da scegliere con il libero arbitrio, non molteplici come invece il mondo propone, illudendo di offrire mille “generi” e mille percorsi di appagamento dei propri istinti e delle proprie voglie. Due sono i percorsi che si concludono con l’approdo al Paradiso (anche attraverso la purificazione in Purgatorio) oppure all’Inferno. Due le strade, due gli stendardi innalzati, per utilizzare il linguaggio di sant’Ignazio di Loyola, sotto i quali stare, quello di Cristo, il Redentore e il Salvatore che benedice e beatifica (le anime purganti sono già beate perché destinate al Paradiso), oppure sotto quello di Satana, carnefice, maledicente e dannatore.

Fra i diversi temi trattati dall’autore, anche quello pandemico che, attraverso il virus del Covid 19, miete terrore e divisione, creando un contagio di paura e di allarme perpetuo. «Vorrei dimostrarti», afferma Arcibaldo a Polliodoro, che «in questa situazione di pandemia generale ti farò vedere come gli uomini, soprattutto quelli di Chiesa, saranno distratti da tante cose e si dimenticheranno che sono fatti per l’eternità. […] Quando tocchi la salute tutti saltano in aria». La salute fisica, s’intende, non la salus animarum che pare non avere più valore alcuno neppure per gli uomini di Chiesa, assurdamente accodati alle istanze mondane. Con la pandemia «le regole della Chiesa seguono il corso della malattia, si adattano, e non la malattia le regole della Chiesa e la sua profilassi soprannaturale. Quelle regole intrise di sapienza divina che vedevano la Chiesa sempre in prima fila nel dare conforto e nel sollevare gli animi nel dolore, saranno ora abolite dalla malattia che insegnerà come superare le regole della Chiesa, come cioè rendere la Chiesa superflua in caso di malattia» (pp. 80-87).

Il carteggio di Messer Arcibaldo è un utile strumento per smascherare metodi, strategie e tattiche del nemico per eccellenza dell’uomo, in particolare in  un momento in cui non esiste attualmente nessun vaccino spirituale promosso dalla Santa Sede, perdendo così moltitudini di anime non immunizzate dal Tentatore…

I demoni, nemici dell’uomo e amici dei tempi anticristici e antiecclesiastici, restano comunque sempre all’erta, nel tentativo di rapire anime al Padre Creatore. Intanto, comunque, Cristo ha già vinto il peccato e la morte per molti eletti e la Donna vestita di Sole, Maria Santissima, è pronta ad intervenire trionfante sulla maligna serpe ad un solo cenno di Dio, che permette la presenza malefica (la zizzania seminata dai demoni) fra gli uomini (grano e zizzania dovranno convivere fino alla fine del mondo, come ha insegnato Gesù). Come rivelano Antico e Nuovo Testamento, anche i castighi si abbattono sulla terra , a cominciare dal peccato originale in poi, fino alla Parusia, quando ogni azione tentatrice sarà annullata e le schiere demoniache, grazie anche alla presenza dell’Arcangelo San Michele, saranno per sempre inabissate, senza più nessuna facoltà di azione contro le anime che vivranno nella Gloria.

[1] Le lettere di Berlicche (titolo originale The Screwtape Letters), pubblicato a Londra nel 1942.

Fonte: Europa Cristiana

I Magi guidati dalla stella trovarono il nato Re, il vero Re. Di che natura era quella stella? Molti esegeti si orientano per un racconto più simbolico con agganci a una letteratura pre-matteana derivante da episodi vetero-testamentari, quali Giuseppe in Egitto e la nascita di Mosè, uniti dalla profezia di Balam (cf. Nm 24,17). Pur non mettendo direttamente in discussione la storicità della visita dei Magi, in tal modo, l’elemento storico sfuma a favore di un racconto letterario pilotato dall’agiografo. Possiamo fare una lettera diversa da cui risulti la storicità dell’evento e ad un tempo l’attualizzazione di una figura e di un simbolo già presenti nell’Antica Alleanza? È necessario considerare l’elemento mariano. I Magi «videro il Bambino con Maria sua Madre» (Lc 2,11).

La festa della Circoncisione di Nostro Signore (celebrata nel Rito antico) rivela in modo iniziale il mistero della Redenzione di Cristo, il suo sangue già versato per noi e non solo per adempire una prescrizione rituale. Così si lumeggia pure e inizialmente il mistero della Corredenzione di Maria, il suo offrire quel Sangue per la nostra salvezza. Il tutto avvolto da un aurea sovrana e celeste: il mistero della perpetua Verginità di Maria, messo così bene in rilievo dalla liturgia della Circoncisione, compimento dell’Ottava di Natale. Il parto verginale di Maria, senza lesioni né perdite di sangue, è la garanzia che quel Figlio è Dio e che è venuto per la nostra salvezza. Maria offre il sangue del suo Cuore e della sua anima nel parto doloroso di ognuno di noi ai piedi della Croce. La verginità di Maria pertanto è la condizione necessaria per custodire il mistero della Redenzione: è il suo grembo materno. La verginità di Maria è condizione necessaria per custodire la fede.

Per approfondire: Serafino M. Lanzetta, Semper Virgo. La verginità di Maria come forma, Casa Mariana Editrice 2019: https://www.amazon.it/Semper-virgo-ve….

Mettiamoci all’ascolto del Santo Natale e scopriamo il suo vero significato: Cristo che nasce per noi. Ascoltiamo il vagito del Bimbo di Betlemme che è venuto per noi. Lasciamoci sorprendere dall’umiltà e della prontezza dei pastori nel rispondere al divino appello. Corriamo anche noi a Betlemme. Ma forse non ne siamo più capaci. Non è forse vero che ci riteniamo adulti ma negando la verità dell’inizio della vita (e della sua fine naturale)? Essere adulti senza passare attraverso la verità della fanciullezza è una menzogna. Il Natale ci redime da questa bugia della vita. È un tempo di grazia per rinascere anche noi e imparare a vivere veramente, per sempre.

«I peccati della carne non sono i più gravi» ha detto papa Francesco ai giornalisti sul volo di ritorno dal suo recente viaggio in Grecia, commentando l’accettazione delle dimissioni del Vescovo di Parigi. Si tratta di qualcosa che il papa ha espresso già in altre occasioni. È vero che ci sono peccati più gravi dell’impurità. Si pensi ad esempio alla bestemmia o all’apostasia. Però, a parte il fatto che ogni peccato mortale, in sé stesso, più o meno grave rispetto ad altri, è causa di eterna dannazione, in ogni caso, il peccato impuro è quello più comune e per giunta quello che manda più anime all’inferno. “L’angelicità” come dice Francesco è più nefasta, vero. Ma è proprio l’impurità che sempre la presuppone; anzi è il suo più riuscito manifesto di tutti i tempi.