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God, the world and the cross

We have to learn to be with God as we ought while we are in the world. We know very well how we can easily get entangled and attached to the world at the expense of our need to be with God always. No doubt this is a very challenging duty.

This was the ardent prayer of Christ to the Father before his passion and death. “I pray not that you should take them out of the world,” he said, “but that you should keep them from evil. They are not of the world, as I also am not of the world. Sanctify them in truth. Your word is truth.” (Jn 17,15-17)

We have to understand that while the world is also a creation of God and is therefore good, we should not be naïve to think that the world is our ultimate end and that everything in it is just fine. The world has been created by God and given to us so we can be tested to see if what God wants us to be, i.e., to be his image and likeness, is also what we want to be. The world is a testing ground for us.

To be sure, the world has been created by God with its nature and laws that not only can lead us to God but also to enable us through it to give glory to God. We just have to discover the true God-given nature and laws of the world so that we can we can live in it properly, pursuing the true purpose of our life.

But given our sinfulness, we have to be wary that the world is now full of the effects of our sin, such that it can also be a formidable source of temptation to us. Thus, St. John warned us: “Everything in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—comes not from the Father but from the world.” (1 Jn 2,16)

So, we have to be always on guard against these dangers, especially when we use our sciences, arts and technologies, our ideologies, our business and politics, etc. Especially in the social sciences, we cannot be too sure about what we say or conclude after some study or research, because in them we are dealing with some contingent realities.

It’s amazing that in the area of politics, for example, many people consider their suspicions as facts already, and the hearsays, ideologies, fads, biases as some kind of infallible doctrine or even absolute dogmas.

To be with God in these contingent aspects of our life, we need to be like Christ who while preaching the truth—and as St. Paul would put it, preaching it in season and out of season—ultimately was willing to offer his life for all of us for the sake of our salvation. In other words, what we have to preach, again as St. Paul would put it, should be Christ crucified, and not just some earthly doctrine. (cfr. 1 Cor 1,23)

Unless the cross is involved in our studies, in our temporal affairs, in our sciences, arts and technologies, and especially in the social sciences like economics and politics, we would actually be out on a limb, prone to such dangers as imprudence, lack of charity, triumphalism, etc.

We need to see to it that for us to live in the world properly, we need the cross of Christ always!*

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