December 25, 2013

FROM THE ARCHIVES: THE SUSTAINING RESIDUE (via Mike Daley):

Life is sacred: that's what Christmas really means (Archbishop Peter Smith, 19/12/2004, Daily Telegraph)

The essential message of Christmas is that in the birth of Jesus "we see our God made visible and so are caught up in the God we cannot see". He didn't come to condemn us, or to manipulate and control us. He didn't come with any worldly ambition to be successful or powerful. He came speaking the language of vulnerable, self-giving love which respects the dignity and worth of every person. It is a proclamation of the Good News that every human life is sacred because it reflects the image and likeness of the living God.

For all the doubts and difficulties many may have with the Church today, there is something deeply compelling about this core belief of Christians, namely that God became man out of unconditional love and compassion for wounded humanity. I think it is the instinctive acceptance of that truth which helps explain the remarkable statistic that more than 70 per cent of the population of this country still regards itself as Christian. So perhaps we are not yet - in fact we may be very far from - the secular utopia that is so often trumpeted.

But Christian faith in God and the sanctity of human life is more than an intellectual assent to the truth expressed in dogma. It must be fully lived and lead to an engagement of the whole person in love, service, prayer and witness. Only then can such witness to the extraordinary life-giving power of Christian love be truly influential in sustaining and transforming the lives of individuals, their families and the communities in which they live.

Unfortunately many have become "light users" of the Christian religion and have only a residual faith. In an age where the media too often dismiss a balanced public witness to the value of Christian faith and moral teaching as old-fashioned and irrelevant, our society is, I believe, becoming more vulnerable than ever to losing its moral bearings.


France will pass without anyone shedding a tear, but England is worth saving.


[originally posted: 2004-12-19]


Posted by at December 25, 2013 2:31 AM
  

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