Summary: As the young man in the Gospel was challenged to be inconvenienced to follow Christ, so the challenge to facilitate human development may inconvenience us.

August 17, 2009

Caritas in Veritate

The sure path to eternal life, to enjoying the presence of God continually even before we die, is to imitate Jesus and Mary. They–and Jesus, the source of grace, first of all–are the great examples of bringing the Good that is God into contact with a world that is weak and prone to evil. The young man in the Gospel story did not want to give up his many possessions. They brought him comfort in this life, and probably cost him union with God, the only treasure worth having. When we listen to the Holy Father teach us about charity in truth being the authentic path to human development, we may very well hear words that direct us to experience some inconvenience as we help others to that development. Let’s accept the inconvenience rather than having to go away troubled in heart.

As he finishes his introduction–yes, we are just finishing the introduction–he reviews some of the teachings of his predecessors, Paul VI and John Paul II. The first and principal factor of development is life in Christ. Christ is the perfect human, and therefore our model for one who facilitates human development. When we travel this path, we must do so with the ardor of charity and the wisdom of truth. God’s love, which is experienced as grace, opens our lives to gift and makes it possible to hope for a “development of the whole man and of all men.” Benedict calls Paul VI’s encyclical Populorum Progressio the Rerum Novarum of the present age, because it sheds light upon humanity’s journey towards unity.

To love in truth is a great challenge for the Church in a world that is becoming progressively and pervasively globalized. The Holy Father warns that the risk is that the de facto interdependence of people and nations would not be matched by ethical interaction of consciences and minds that would give rise to truly human development. Only in charity, illumined by the light of reason and faith, cn we pursue development goals that possess a truly humanizing value. Authentic development proceeds by sharing goods and resources, something that love, operating as justice, and only love, can guarantee. The Church offers ethical principles and moral motivation, not technical solutions. That is how progress can be truly human.

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