The journey to the land of faith. The hardship and charm of the beginning.

Mining and the magic of the beginning
Illustration photo

“Every beginning is difficult,” says a proverb. Does this sentence also apply to the beginning of the Christian life? I remember how difficult it was to learn to swim when I was a little boy. At the same time, it is much easier than I thought. But it took a long time to understand how to do it.

The “great art of swimming,” for which I had such respect, was about trusting the water and its buoyant power. Today, I realize that my beginnings in swimming were difficult because I did not trust the information I had about swimming. I underestimated the buoyant power of water (water is 800 times denser than air, note). Some beginnings are difficult only because we ourselves make them difficult.

The sea of ​​God’s promises is the strength that carries us. It is enough to overcome your disbelief and not question yourself with questions about whether the sea will keep us above the surface. That is why the beginning of faith is so difficult. But the beginnings are not only challenging but also fascinating.

“There is a certain magic in every beginning,” German writer Hermann Hesse once said. Yes, beginnings can be truly magical. Think back to the beginning of your love for another person: a magical transformation – your life began to intertwine with someone else’s.

How it all started can’t even be said exactly now. Was it the familiar “love at first sight” or the gradual growth into a deeply intertwined, blissful experience of belonging? Did she choose him—or did he choose her? The magic of the beginning of love often leaves some questions unanswered.

Even in the beginning of faith, there is a certain charm. To believe is to fall in love with God, who comes as a loving being to us humans. Believing God loves Christians, they are fascinated by the magic of his love. Just as human love stories begin differently, faith stories also begin differently. 

For some people it is “love at first sight”, but others need a long journey of rapprochement and slowly growing trust in God. In the process of becoming a Christian, nothing works according to predetermined “norms” or designed “schemes.” 

Becoming a Christian is the beginning of a magical love story between God and man, which happens differently in every life.

A tale of a good beginning

Many hopeful stories of “good beginnings” begin with the words: “Once upon a time…” I will tell you a story, a “modern fairy tale” if you will. Perhaps it will help us to understand how a person becomes a Christian or what starts this process. 

Once upon a time, there was a little child. It lived in an orphanage and did not know its parents. “A complete orphan,” it said in its documents. That was his condition. The child could not change anything on his own, even if he were obedient, even if he behaved well, even if he tried in the orphanage. 

On a high hill opposite the orphanage, the child sees a beautiful castle daily. Often in his imagination he climbs over the wall that surrounds the orphanage, sneaks into the castle, walks through long corridors and large rooms, breathes the freedom and grandeur of the castle – but he knows: I will never go there, I will never be able to live there. 

“Whenever a child falls into a bleak sense of orphanhood, the king lovingly reminds him of his new status.”

He will be left with nothing more than the bedroom of the orphanage and its impenetrable walls. When playing with other children, they play as a royal child who lives in that beautiful castle. He enjoys royal freedom, is used to ceremonial dining. She would love to become a real royal child with a rich inheritance waiting for her. But what he is – that’s what he remains: a child without parents.

But one day, a stranger appears in the orphanage. He comes to the child, looks at him in a friendly way, shakes his hand as if they have known each other for a long time. “From now on, you have a new home,” says the stranger. The child does not understand. “You’re not an orphan anymore.” He still doesn’t understand. “See that castle on the hill opposite?” asks the strange man. The child nods his head. “This is your new home. I live there. And you can live with me from now on. I am the king, and I chose you to live with me. You are no longer an orphan. From now on, you are my child, a royal child. Do you like it?”

The child does not believe his ears. A royal baby? He looks at his worn, dusty clothes from the game. He doesn’t see anything royal about himself. Not only that, but he doesn’t know any royal manners, he doesn’t speak the language used in the castle. He is a child from an orphanage. He does not know how to move around the castle yard.

And yet he is a royal child. His situation changed unexpectedly – from outside, without his doing. The child did nothing for it. Something happened to him.

Suddenly, he is in a completely different position. It will surely take a long, long time before he gets used to his new existence before he loses the feeling of being an orphan, before he learns to deal with his new freedom, before he understands royal manners and customs, and before he himself acquires a relationship with the king who adopted him and made him from him your child, your heir. 

But the king allows the child enough time for this process. She will show him the beauties that he is allowed to discover in the castle and in the new royal freedom. And whenever the child falls into a bleak sense of orphanhood, the king lovingly reminds him of his new status: “Remember, you are no longer an orphan. You are now a royal child.’ 

Slowly, little by little, the child becomes the being that the king decided he would be: a child who is the heir to his kingdom.

 

 

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Blessed are the pure in heart ,because will see God Mt 5,8

Blessed are the pure in heart, because they will see God ▪ Mt 5, 8.

B. Häring in the book Our stagnation in the new world writes: “Not external success, not economic and technical progress, but a pure heart (Mt 5, 8), a heart filled with selfless love for God and neighbor, he carries the hope that he will see God. God is love, and only those who truly love can know him here on earth and see him face to face one day (1 Cor 13:12)”. That is why only people with a pure heart are promised to see God. Only such “will look upon his face” (Revelation 22:4).

To St. John Vianey, an intelligent man, came to the parish priest in Ars and wanted to talk to him about his various difficulties with faith in God. The saint said to him: “Your confessor, kneel.” No, Father, understand me; I did not come to confess but to debate about faith.” But the saint again: “Kneel.” Okay father, but I’m not ready.”I’ll help you,” And he confessed. He confessed at length. He received absolution, and then the saint invited him to sit down and discuss all the difficulties. The guest, full of peace and spiritual joy, responded: “It is strange and strange, I no longer have any difficulties with the message of Jesus.” the saint replied: “Encase, you already have a pure heart. “” Jesus’‘ path to G d requires a pure heart more than wise reasoning. Whoever has a heart overflowing with crazy passions and earthly ambitions will never see God face to face nor drown in his blissful majesty.
“The Lord loves The pure in heart, and the unbroken are dear to him. The king is a friend to a man of lovely feathers” Proverbs 22, 11).

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The Immaculate Heart of Mary.

Today, we celebrate the memory of the Immaculate Heart of Mary—a heart filled with God, willing to listen and obey. In biblical language, the heart refers to the deepest essence of a person, from where all thoughts, words, and deeds come. What comes from the heart of the Virgin Mary? It is faith, obedience, tenderness, disposition, spirit of service, bravery, humility, simplicity, gratitude, and countless other virtues.

Why is this so? The answer lies in Jesus’ words: “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Mt 6, 21). Mary’s treasure is her Son; her heart is wholly devoted to him. Therefore, Mary’s thoughts, words, and actions are rooted in Jesus’ contemplation; her heart is filled with the Lord.

Today’s Gospel provides a vivid illustration of this. After the episode of the lost and found Jesus in the temple, it is written: “And his mother kept all these things in her heart” (Luke 2:51). Saint Gregory of Nyasa reflects on this: “God reveals himself to those with a pure heart”. What does Mary hold in her heart? From the moment of Jesus’ incarnation to the agonizing moments on Calvary and His ascension, her heart is a repository of numerous contemplative and profound experiences: The joy of the angel Gabriel’s visit, who revealed God’s plans for her, the first touch and the first embrace of the newborn child, the first steps of her Son on this earth , the observation of his growth in wisdom and grace, her “participation” in the wedding in Cana, Jesus’ teachings during his ministry, the pain of the cross, and the hope of the resurrection’s victory…

Let us ask God today to give us the grace to love him more fully every day, with all our hearts. We also have the opportunity to meet Him, listen to Him, and keep all His Words in our hearts, just like the Virgin Mary.

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The Sacred Heart of Jesus.

Respect for the Sacred Heart of Jesus, a result of the cult of the Eucharist, is a two-fold object of our devotion. It first presents us with the bodily Heart of the Lord Jesus, a symbol of respect and adoration. Secondly, it reveals the infinite love, the very essence of the Heart of the Lord, which burned for us and continues to be consumed for us in the Sacrament of the Altar. This respect is the soul of our entire religion, its center, as religion is nothing but the law of love, the virtue of love, and perfect love. The Sacred Heart, a source of grace and a model of life, provides us with the means to embody this love.

When we worship the Divine Heart of Jesus, we are immersed in Divine love, for this heart is not merely a symbol of love but the very seat of love. The Blessed Sacrament, a visible and permanent guarantee of love, is where we should seek and find the Heart of the Lord that loved us so much. It is here that we should nourish our love. In the Sacrament, Jesus protects us: present in a small host, he seems to be sleeping helplessly, but his heart is awake, ever vigilant. He watches over us, whether we think of him or not, and sends sighs to the Father for the forgiveness of our sins. He covers us with his heart as a protective shield against God’s wrath, which our sins still provoke.

His heart is open here as on the cross, and streams of grace and love pour out from it to us. The holy evangelist John notes: “Streams of living water will flow from within him… If anyone is thirsty and believes in me, let him come to me and drink” (Jn 7, 38, 37). In the Eucharist, Jesus brings his heart into our hearts. Thus, the Eucharist, Holy Communion, becomes a daily gift of his Divine Heart. His constant invitation is: “Come to me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you strength.” Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am meek and lowly in heart; and you will find rest for your soul” (Mt 11, 28-29).

On August 23, 1886, Pius X established the Sacred Heart of Jesus feast for the entire Church by decree and ordered that the Sacrament of the Altar should be presented and consecration to the Divine Heart should be publicly performed. Pope Pius XI. Concluded the Jubilee year oof itf 1925 with the establishment of the Feast of Christ the King and ordered that on this feast in all parish churches in front of the unfolded Sacrament of the altar, the renewal of the consecration of the human race to the Sacred Heart of Jesus took place.

The reasons for which the Feast of the Divine Heart and First Fridays were introduced and the manner and circumstances under which the Lord Jesus revealed his heart teach us even more strongly that we should worship him and seek his love right here, in the Blessed Sacrament. After all, it was during the exposition of the Eucharist that Lord Jesus revealed St. Margita Maria Alacoque’s Heart. In the holy host, he appeared to her holding his heart in his hand and told her those most holy words containing evidence of his presence in her: “See that Heart that loved people so much!” So the purpose of the first Fridays is a more emotional reverence and devotion to Jesus for his love with which he suffered for us and that he instituted the Sacrament of his Body and Blood for us.

So that we thank the Lord Jesus for all that he suffered for us, and thus give him compensation for all the ingratitude that he now receives in the Sacrament of the Altar day by day; because at no moment of Jesus’ suffering did he receive so much humility as in his Sacrament: the earth became for him the second humiliating Calvary since its establishment. Let’s not allow the world to push our only treasure – Christ in the Eucharist – out of our lives, somewhere aside. Let us always remember Jesus’ words: “Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Mt 6, 21). So, let our hearts rest in the Divine Heart of Jesus. So that others can genuinely and truthfully talk about us and think that in our parishes, the Eucharist is not only celebrated but also lived.

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10.Sunday in Ordinary Time Year B Me 3,20-35

In today’s Gospel, we see scribes from Jerusalem, that is, some more excellent experts, who commented on Jesus as follows: “Beelzebub” Truly” possesses him “and: “be cast “out evil spirits by the power of the prince of evil spirits.” He called them and spoke to them in parables:”  oared he” and us appeals to their ability to think logically.  “How can” Satan cast out Satan? If a kingdom is divided within, such a kingdom cannot stand, and if a house is broken within, it will not be able to stay rule ” Say to yourself: All sins and blasphemies with which they blaspheme will be forgiven people. However, whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit is not forgiven forever but is guilty of an eternal sin. Because they said: “A” uncle, “a spirit possesses him.” “
Today, we encounter a particular category – unforgivable sins. Lord Jesus characterizes this group of sins as blasphemy against the Holy Spirit. St. Thomas Aquinas says this is a sin “u” paid” “because it excludes that which achieves forgiveness of sins. O, it’s a matter of someone imprudently saying something terrible about the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is Essential Good, Essential Good, and Evident Good, Undeniably Good, and therefore, to blaspheme the Holy Spirit means to stand against Good consciously, Good inset Truly. Blaspheming the Holy Spirit means rejecting God as God, rejecting Salvation. 

Man has in his soul the ability to recognize his Lord and God. Man can reach the Truth through logical thinking and the Supreme Moral Good, God, through conscience. I once read a book that described the evangelization of the Pacific Islands. The natives worshiped a God called Tiki. According to the book yearbook, they knew right away that he was our Tiki when the missionaries started telling them about Jesus. However, if a person denies that good is good, he feigns ignorance, which suits his sinfulness and does not suffer from it. 

The operation of the Spirit of Truth, which has the saving goal of “s” owing “t” e world what sin is,” ” meets “” man who is in such a state with internal resistance, as if with the obscurity of conscience, with the state of the soul that has hardened in why it freely decided. If a person consciously chooses to reject the calcified conviction of sin that the Holy Spirit brings, he also denies the coming of the Comforter. Scripture usually calls this “h” redness of heart.” Blaspheme ” y” against the Holy Spirit consists precisely in the radical refusal to accept this forgiveness, of which He is the giver and presupposes true conversion.

Suppose the Lord Jesus says blasphemy against the Holy Spirit cannot be forgiven in this life or the next. In that case. In that case, it is because this unforgiving “n” SS” “causes Conn to be filled with “r” pent” “excellent,” ” he is nice is” with a decisive refusal to convert. It is a hiding from God. Blaspheming the Holy Spirit means refusing to tap into the springs of Redemption that Jesus opened with his death. Blasphemy against the Holy Spirit is a sinful state from which sinful actions spring. In it, man claims the right to remain in evil – in any sin – and thus refuses redemption. Blasphemy against the Holy Spirit prevents a person from leaving the prison of his sin, in which he has entirely voluntarily closed himself. In our times, this attitude of mind and heart perhaps corresponds to the “l” SS of “s” sensitivity for God.” ” T is v ” and to hope that the sensitivity for the sin against man and human values ​​will be strengthened if there is no sensitivity for the offense committed against God.

In today’s is blasphemy against the Holy Spirit, an unwillingness to recognize the Truth, to acknowledge the good that has been revealed in the person of Jesus Christ. That is why the church does not stop begging God for mercy so that the correctness of people’s beliefs and their healthy sensitivity to good and evil is not dulled. Correctness and sensitivity of conscience are deeply connected with the inner action of the Spirit of Truth. In this light, the warnings of St. Apostle: says that the sin that the Gospel calls “blaspen” “against the Holy Spirit” “owes no”,” row in the world, but instead that it resides in human souls and makes room for the openness of conscience, which is necessary for the saving action of the Holy Spirit.”

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St.Boniface-

Bonafice Axe

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St.Boniface

Born:673

June 5, memorial

Position: archbishop and martyr OSB

Death: 754

Patron: Germany, especially the Diocese of Fulda and Thuringia; brewers, tailors, and booksellers

Attributes: bishop, rebuke, raven, book, fox, sword, spring, axe, tree

CURRICULUM VITAE

After entering the monastery, he desired to become a missionary among the pagans. He became the spreader of the true faith among the Germanic peoples. He founded monasteries and centers of Christian education and religion. He succeeded because he combined his knowledge with deep piety, love for souls, obedience, and devotion to the papal see. He also became Legate for Germany and Metropolitan of Cologne. When he was about to administer the sacrament of confirmation in the territory of Northern Holland, he was killed with 52 companions by a crowd of armed pagans.

BIOGRAPHY FOR MEDITATION

THE GREAT APOSTLE OF GERMANY

He was born around 673 in Kirkton, near Exeter, in the Anglo-Saxon kingdom of Wessex in today’s southern England. Winfried was baptized. In his youth, he loved solitude and, according to his wish, was brought up in a Benedictine monastery at Exeter. He spent 13 years there and then moved to the monastery at Nursling in Southampton shire, where he took the Benedictine habit after taking his vows. He began studying theology simultaneously and focused on science until age 40. He mastered Latin and also excelled in the art of poetry. He ran a monastery school for some time. He compiled a grammar textbook and a poetry manual. When he was about 30 years old, he received the sacrament of priesthood. He became zealous in the pulpit and the confessional.

Three loves stood out in his life—characteristic features of Benedictines: love for writing, missionary activity, and the Roman successor of St. Peter.

According to some reports, he got the name Boniface only from Pope Gregory II. In 716, after he was forty, he set out with three companions on the European mainland to preach the Gospel in pagan Frisia. He came to the Germanic tribe in today’s Holland and northwestern Germany. The Franks there ruled the Frisians, who rebelled against them, and in such a situation, missionary work seemed impossible.

Winfried returned to Nursling and was elected abbot. However, he soon renounced the rank and obtained from the bishop of Winchester the appointment of Stephen and permission to go to Rome. He longed for the Pope’s blessing to evangelize the Germans. Gregory II kept him with him for about a year, and in mid-May 719, he entrusted him with preaching the Gospel among the Germans and gave him the name of the martyr Boniface.

Boniface came to the Frisians through Thuringia and with his native Wilford (pam. 7. 11.), and they were relatively successful. Then, Boniface was sent by the Pope to Hesse in the middle Rhineland. He saw that winning the ruling circles and installing a bishop was necessary there. He therefore turned to the Pope, who invited him to Rome to consecrate him as a bishop for the Germanic regions in the territory of present-day Germany. This happened on November 30, 722. The Pope also gave Boniface letters of recommendation for the critical Frankish butler Karl Martel and the princes of Thuringia and Saxony. With the help of Anglo-Saxon clergy members, Boniface began to find monasteries as bastions of Christianity. He went again to Hesse, where many Christians again turned to superstitions, witchcraft, and making sacrifices to idols.

The villagers of Frizzled near Geismar had a massive oak tree dedicated to the thunder lord Thor as their front deity. Boniface decided to cut him down and cut him down. The people waited in horror to see what would happen, and when Thor proved powerless against Boniface, the people went over to Boniface’s side. He also built the chapel of St. From the wood of the felled tree. Peter. Then, in Thuringia, he solved the problems of priests’ insufficient education and shortcomings in faith. In Oar, he founded two monasteries for the education of youth. In 725, he begged for more priests and expanded the number of his collaborators.

Pope Gregory III. In 732, Boniface was appointed as archbishop with the authority to consecrate other bishops. Six years later, Boniface visited Rome for the third time, and before returning to the mission, the Pope appointed him his legate for a wide mission area. His task included reforming the Frankish clergy and building church organizations in Bavaria, Hesse, and Thuringia. This was needed because the local feudal lords wanted to appoint their people to church ranks. Karel Martel was only partially inclined towards him and did not want to have an understanding of a church organization subject to Rome. Only after 741, when his sons took over, did they manage to change the situation. In 743, they began to convene church synods, which prepared the pastoral renewal of the Frankish Empire. It was decided to establish the ecclesiastical metropolis in Cologne, and Boniface became the first metropolitan. In 744, an important monastery was founded in Fulda, which later contributed to the continuation of Boniface’s work. In 747, Carlo, a man who ruled the eastern regions, gave up his rule in favor of his brother Pippin the Short, who then ruled the entire Frankish Empire and is said to have behaved with restraint towards Boniface. By now, he was approaching eighty and had handed over the archbishopric to Lull. However, his missionary zeal did not leave him, and he visited the first regions of his work. He was preparing confirmation at Dokum and was ambushed by a group of militant pagans, who murdered not only him but also the entire group of his 52 companions.

The Christians transported him to Utrecht in the territory of today’s Holland, where they buried him in the cathedral there. However, his remains were eventually transferred to the monastery in Fulda by Abbot Sturm (17.12.).

RESOLUTION, PRAYER

I will ask for blessings from others around me today and get used to blessing at least my loved ones.

God, You strengthened the holy bishop Boniface to proclaim the truths of the Gospel and did not hesitate to seal his faith with his blood; through his intercession, help us to keep the faith we have accepted and to live according to it. Through Your Son Jesus Christ, our Lord, for He lives and reigns with You in the unity of the Holy Spirit forever and ever.

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Beware of hypocrites, they know to kill a community.

Hypocrisy is not the language of Jesus, and it must not be the language of Christians either, because a hypocrite is capable of killing a community. Christianity and hypocrisy are incompatible. Hypocrites, Jesus uses so many times in referring to the scribes. They are hypocrites, because outwardly they show one thing, but they think something else, as the very etymology of the word shows” (Gr. Hypocrisies). These scribes speak, judge, but think otherwise. And this is hypocrisy. Hypocrisy is not the language of Jesus. Hypocrisy is not the language of Christians. A Christian cannot be a hypocrite, and a hypocrite is not a Christian. This is very clear. It’s the word Jesus uses the most of these people: hypocrite. Let us see how they proceed: a hypocrite is always a sycophant, more or less, but he is a flatterer.

Hypocrites always begin their speech with flattery. The scribes tried to flatter Jesus. Condescension also means not telling the truth, it means exaggerating, allowing vanity to grow. Jesus’ answer to the hypocrites always points to reality. Flattery begins with bad intentions. And that is exactly the case with the scribes, as today’s Gospel from St. Mark (Mk 12,13-17). Scripture tells how the scribes tempted Jesus, beginning with flattery, and then asking an insidious question, waiting for him to fall into their trap: «Is it free to pay taxes to Caesar, or not?» (v. 14)

The hypocrite has this double face. But Jesus knew their hypocrisy and said clearly: “Why are you tempting me?!” Bring me a denarius, let me look at it!’ Jesus always answers hypocrites and ideologues as it really is. The reality is, everything else is either hypocrisy or ideology. But this is the fact: bring me a denarius. And he shows what the reality is, he answers with this wisdom of the Lord: ‘Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s – the fact was that the diners had the image of Caesar – and what is God’s to God’.

Hypocrisy is killing Christian communities. The third aspect is that the language of hypocrisy is the language of deceit, it is the same language that the serpent used on Eve, the same. It begins with flattery in order to destroy people, even to tear the personality and soul out of a person; it’s killing the community’. If there are hypocrites in the community, there is great danger, there is a terrible danger. The Lord Jesus told us: “Let your yes be yes, [and your] no, no.” All excess comes from evil”. How much harm does hypocrisy cause the Church. 

Hypocrisy is capable of killing a community.He speaks sweetly, but he judges people harshly. A hypocrite is a murderer. Let’s say it again: [when someone] starts flattering, the answer is just to point out the fact: ‘Don’t come here with these words, the reality is this’. And the same with the ideology: ‘This is the reality’. And finally, it is the same tongue of the devil that sows, this double-edged tongue in communities to destroy them. Let us ask the Lord to protect us from falling into this bad habit of hypocrisy, pretending in an attitude, behind which, however, evil intentions are hidden. May the Lord give us this grace: ‘Lord, may I never be a hypocrite, may I be able to speak the truth, and if I cannot speak it, may I be silent, but never, never, never a hypocrite’.

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The Parable of the Tenants in the Vineyard.

No good father, no good mother, spares admonition when he sees his child hurtling towards misfortune. There is always hope that he may come to his senses and convert. Jesus acts similarly. He reminds the leaders of the nation of Israel of the actions of the unjust vinedressers so that they realize the consequences of their enmity and repent (Mk 12:1-11).

The analogy was evident and understandable. After all, for every Jew, the vineyard was a sign of the nation of Israel, with whom God made his covenant. In the history of salvation, God sent his servants – prophets, so that, with their faithfulness and undaunted proclamation of God’s will, they would return the chosen nation from the errant path on which it had so often set out. The typical fate of these prophets was persecution, even death. Finally, God sent his beloved Son. In the parable, Jesus foretold his coming suffering and death. But it is through her that God’s plans of salvation will be realized. The despised, condemned, martyred, but ultimately resurrected Christ becomes the foundation stone of the new nation, God’s church. The high priests and scribes oppose repentance, the call to conversion. Their hearts become even more hardened and ripe for judgment.

The parable of the unjust vinedressers is a warning even for today. The Church is the new steward of God’s vineyard. God’s messengers are holy confessors and martyrs. However, the most important thing is the voice of God’s Son, who asks us to convert like the vineyard’s fruit as a payment for God’s gifts. The words of the Son of God are a binding call to decision and action. Indifference is the same rejection as any conscious opposition to God’s service. (According to HRBATA, J., Perly a chleb, Č. Těšín, Katolícke nakladatelství COR JESU, 1991, 222.1.)

We must admit that indifference, or even conscious resistance to serving God in our ranks, causes insufficient understanding of Jesus’ teaching. Partial knowledge retained from childhood or religious classes does not have the power to drive us directly to conversion. After all, children rarely understand the depth of a certain truth of faith in the same way an adult can when he puts this truth into his world, which he knows ideally and already has experience with. It is, therefore, no shame to pick up a catechism or other religious literature in middle age or at an age that assumes a slow end to life.

We must allow ourselves to get to know God more deeply. The life experience of the former Marxist and materialist Ignác Lepp also confirms this. In a spiritual crisis, he returned to his apartment early in the morning after a night spent drinking wine and empty debates about fashionable figures of French culture. He couldn’t fall asleep, so he started reading a novel that his family’s daughter had left behind in the living room. He was so interested in the story that he did not close it until he had read it. Only after reading the novel did he notice its title and author. It was Sienkiewicz’s novel Quo vadis.

Even the gnome Lepp confessed that this novel would not have impressed him so strongly if his ignorance of Christianity had not been so complete. In the following weeks, he delved into studying the first centuries of Christianity, familiarizing himself with the biographies of great personalities and saints. He eagerly devoured everything that could bring Jesus’ teaching and the Church closer to him. All this impressed him so strongly that he wished to become a Christian and a religious first. (Spiritual Shepherd 1994, p. 61.) The scribes and high priests hardened their hearts before God’s rebuke. Let us not follow their exam.

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Why is Cardinal Péter Erdö considered for the future pope

Why Cardinal Péter Erdő is considered a candidate for the future Pope
Cardinal Péter Erdő with the relic of Saint Stephen during the mass on the occasion of the 939th anniversary of the canonization of the first Hungarian king.

The Hungarian primate is respected in Europe and Africa, he is a recognized ecclesiastical lawyer and conservative, who is respected even by more liberals.

Help us protect the church from attacks

We live in a time when the church finds itself between the millstones of progressivism, fruitless traditionalism and misinformation. Today, therefore, we are even more aware of the important mission of the World of Christianity and our responsibility.

The Christian world always stands firmly on the side of the church. We openly name challenges, respond to nonsense and half-truths, and at the same time do not avoid criticism towards the internal church environment when it turns out to be necessary.

Will the next pope be from Central Europe? World Catholic media and Vaticanists are speculating about the names of a possible future pope, with the name of a cardinal from neighboring Hungary appearing among the candidates.

When the Pope dies or resigns, the new head of the Catholic Church is elected in a conclave by cardinal electors, that is, those under 80 years of age.

Although Poland has the most cardinal electors among Central European countries, the Ostrihom-Budapest archbishop Péter Erdő is being mentioned more and more in connection with a possible successor to Francis.

The youngest cardinal at the conclave

Péter Erdő was born in 1953 in Budapest. He comes from six children. He completed his high school studies at the Piarist Gymnasium in Budapest. After graduation, he entered the seminary and was ordained a priest in June 1975, i.e. at the age of 22. After his ordination, he worked as a chaplain for two years and at the same time continued his studies, and in 1976 he received a doctorate in theology.

In 1980, he received a doctorate in canon law from the Utriusque Iuris Institute of the Pontifical Lateran University. Between 1980 and 1986, he was a teacher at the Ostrihom Archbishop Institute for the Education of Priests.

From 1986 to 1988, he was a professor at the Gregorian University in Rome and also worked as a teacher at the Peter Pázmaň University in Budapest, where he taught church law. At the same time, he worked at the church court. Today, Péter Erdő is a recognized church lawyer.

In January 2000, he was in the Basilica of St. Peter in Rome by Pope John Paul II. ordained as a bishop and worked as an auxiliary bishop in the diocese of Stolichny Belgrade. In January 2003, he became archbishop in Ostrichom and Budapest, and in November of the same year, the Polish Pope appointed him a cardinal.

It is interesting that Erdő became a cardinal relatively early, at the age of 51. Currently, the youngest cardinal in the world is Giorgio Marengo, the apostolic administrator in Ulabantar, Mongolia, who became a cardinal at the age of 47 and is the youngest cardinal appointed this century. Karol Wojtyła also became a cardinal at the same age.

At the age of 52, Erdő was the youngest cardinal at the conclave in 2005, where the cardinals elected Benedict XVI as Pope. Eight years later, when Francis was elected, there were only five cardinals younger than the archbishop of Budapest at the conclave.

From 2006 to 2016, the Hungarian primate was also the chairman of the Council of European Bishops’ Conferences (CCEE). He served in this service for two terms.

Why is the Hungarian prelate being talked about as a possible future pope? There are several reasons.

Vaticanist John L. Allen Jr. in his article for the National Catholic Reporter , he discusses why Archbishop Erdő could be the next pope.

Allen notes that there is a lot of talk these days of a “Third World” pope, but if a conclave were to take place, cardinals from Europe would still have the upper hand. According to him, the election of a pope “from this long-neglected corner of Europe may seem as bold as the election of a pope from Argentina.”

Cardinal Erdő represents the church persecuted during the Soviet era, symbolized by the figure of Cardinal József Mindszenty, who was tortured and later sentenced to life imprisonment. Cardinal Mindszenty then took refuge in the American Embassy in Budapest for 15 years and died in exile in Vienna in 1975. It was Erdő who convinced the Hungarian government to drop the case against Mindszenty, which had been filed in 1949.

At the same time, Hungary is a country where, due to its location, East meets West, and Erdő is a leader in building relations between Catholics and Orthodox churches. Since many cardinal electors consider ecumenism a high priority, this plays into the cards of the Hungarian primacy, which strives for good relations with the Jews as well.

In addition, Erdő is also considered a trustworthy person in Vatican circles. In 2011, he was appointed a member of the Council of Cardinals and Bishops, which oversees the very important second section of the Secretariat of State responsible for the Vatican’s diplomatic relations.

That same year, he was sent by the Vatican to lead an investigation into the Pontifical Catholic University of Peru, which was accused of violating church teaching and discipline.

Hungarian bishops and priests during a thanksgiving pilgrimage in Rome in April 2024. Cardinal Erdő, lower right.

The advantage of the Hungarian cardinal is that he speaks Italian fluently, which the future pope should know. Some sources say that he knows up to six languages, including Russian.

According to Allen, Erdõ is perceived as a conservative who does not have a problem even with the pre-conciliar form of the mass, but at the same time he is also respected by more liberal circles within the church.

At the same time, they consider the cardinal to be pastoral. For example, many bishops were interested in his description of urban missions. During them, lay people visit the homes of Catholics in a given parish and invite the people who live there back to church.

Relations with African bishops and a conservative reputation

However, everything mentioned so far would not be enough if the candidate for the pope did not have the support and sympathy of the other cardinals who choose the pope.

Erdő could have solid support from the developing world in a possible conclave. In the position of the head of European bishops, he established cooperation with African bishops and started organizing meetings every two years, which are held alternately in Africa and Europe. This is also why, according to Allen, most cardinals from Africa know him and like him.

For Americans, he may be interesting because he has practical experience from the USA. Thanks to grants, he studied in 1995 and 1996 at the University of California, Berkeley.

Allen evaluates the chances of the Hungarian primacy in three key points.

His two terms as president of the European bishops’ conferences suggest he has solid support in the European bloc, and his good relations with Africans suggest he would be supported in the conclave if his candidacy for pope was on the cards. He could also count on the support of several cardinals from Latin America.

The second key point is that Erdő is seen as a person who is sufficiently forceful. This is apparently important in the current situation, when many cardinals are convinced that the next pope must bring the internal bureaucracy of the Vatican under control.

Thirdly, Erdő also has a good conservative reputation, but despite this, he is profiled as a mediator of compromises and consensus, thanks to which he was able to hold European bishops together.

Erdő also dealt with issues of social justice. In 2007, he expressed solidarity with the concerns of Latin American bishops about growing poverty and environmental destruction.

Reserved towards the media, rather a behind-the-scenes player

However, John Allen also notes three factors that, according to him, speak against the Hungarian archbishop.

Erdő has a pessimistic view of the relationship between the church and the wider culture. At the synod, he was critical of some media. He claimed that many of them presented the Christian faith and history as full of lies and misinformed the public about the content of the faith and the reality of the church.

Many wonder if this is the right tone for the future pope, who wants to reach out to the wider world.

Although some critical voices towards the Hungarian prelate appreciate that he is a good player behind the scenes, they say he lacks the dynamism on stage, which the future pope also needs. The Crux Now portal adds that “he is not the type of person who would light up the world with his smile”.

His young age could also be a problem for some voters if he were to become pope. Some cardinals may fear that a vote for Erdő will mean the possibility of too long a pontificate.

The last two popes were over eighty years old when they ended their pontificate, and Francis is also old. “Pope Erdő could thus rule the church for two decades,” states Crux Now.

The portal civilek-info has the opposite opinion , which writes that the church will be looking for someone who will have enough time for reforms, so cardinals under the age of 70 have the best chances.

The Catholic Herald even claims that Erdő’s name was mentioned in connection with the new pope as early as 2013.

According to the portal, at a time when Pope Francis was calling on Catholics to accept refugees, Erdő said that accepting refugees would be tantamount to human trafficking.

He notes that Erdő is seen as a reserved and sociable man with an almost genetic predisposition to stay out of the limelight. With his personality, he would be better suited to the role of secretary of state or another high-ranking post in the Vatican, rather than the public face of the church.

However, the portal adds that we are not living in completely normal times in the Catholic Church, and several cardinals may feel that after Francis’ changes and reforms, the church will need to take a breath and calm down.

As in post-Trump American politics, “boring can become sexy,” writes Crux Now .

Erdő’s advantage may be the fact that he is a gifted ecclesiastical lawyer, which may come together after the pontificate of Francis.

“After the legislative frenzy under Francis, who issued more motu proprios, or amendments to church law, than all his recent predecessors combined, it may not be a bad thing to have someone who can consolidate and rationalize the legal system,” reports Crux Now .

According to the portal, the Hungarian bishop is of the right age to be able to effectively lead the church for some time, but he is not too young to make his pontificate seem like eternity.

In the current situation, Erdő could be a favorable candidate for the Ukrainians as well, since they have accepted a lot of refugees in Hungary, and at the same time he would be acceptable to the Russians. Metropolitan Hillarion, who until recently was the second man in the Moscow Patriarchate, works in the country.

Cardinal Erdő during the thanksgiving pilgrimage of Hungarians in the Vatican in April 2024.

However, some circles from the Vatican began to question Erdő’s chances for the papal throne even after the visit of Francis to Hungary in 2023.

The Pillar portal notes that the cardinal seemed very shy and deliberately avoided the media, which dealt with his relationship with the Hungarian government.

Cardinal Erdő has consistently emphasized his support for Pope Francis. The portal claims that even though his credit rose after the Pope’s visit to Budapest, some members of the Vatican press center labeled him conservative . According to some reports, he was the preferred candidate for Pope in the eyes of the late Australian Cardinal George Pell.

The cardinal also faced a little teasing from members of the Vatican media over the type of car that took him out of Budapest airport after escorting the pope.

Photos emerged, noting that while the head of the church was moving in a small white Fiat, the influential conservative archbishop Cardinal Erdő left the airport in a black Mercedes.

A key role at the Synod on the Family

The Hungarian primate also caught the attention of some Vaticanists a few weeks ago, when he led a group of 20,000 Hungarian pilgrims to the Pope, it was a thanksgiving pilgrimage for the visit of Francis last year.

European correspondent of the American National Catholic Register Solène Tadié introduced Cardinal Erdő in a profile article entitled Man of Unity and Bridge between East and West .

According to her, today the Hungarian cardinal is one of the few Catholic authorities who arouse the admiration of his colleagues and the interest of Catholic observers around the world.

“Nevertheless, he appears relatively little in the media and stays out of the controversies and power games that have often surrounded the church in recent years,” he notes, adding that he is one of the main “papabili” of the cardinals.

He devotes a considerable part of the text to the episode when Péter Erdő found himself in the role of general relator of the synod on the family that took place in 2014-2015.

NC Register recalls that it was then that the Ostrihom-Budapest archbishop gained a more international status, while various commentators praised him for his openness and sense of balance, while he did not compromise with the teachings of the church.

In his contribution at the opening of the synodal proceedings in October 2014, Erdő confirmed the central position of mercy in the “hermeneutics of church action”, while specifying that it “does not exclude or relativize the truth”, but “leads to its correct interpretation within the hierarchy of truth” and “does not exclude or the requirement of justice”.

Their point was that Erdő devotes too much space to demands that were related to the controversial issue of allowing civilly divorced and married Catholics to receive Holy Communion.

At the synod session in October 2015, Cardinal Erdő was the main speaker and, according to the NC Register, caused surprise and disappointed the expectations of some when he declared that “the integration of the divorced and remarried into the ecclesiastical community can be realized in various ways apart from admission to the Eucharist”.

“The overall impression I got at the end of the synodal discussions was that Cardinal Erdő is quite independent in his thinking; it was very clear that this man has great leadership skills and is not afraid to take positions that he believes in,” South African Cardinal Wilfrid Napier, Archbishop Emeritus of Durban, told the NC Register. He was also in charge of the family conference.

Today, people do not belong to the church out of convenience

When it comes to visions and leadership, Cardinal Erdő’s thinking was recently revealed by the Italian Vaticanist Andrea Gagliarducci. In an interview with ACI Stampa, the Hungarian prelate admits the true position of the church at the moment.

“We do not think according to the idea of ​​the ruling church, a category that lasted from the time of the Roman-Christian empire until the 20th century. We live in a much more modest position. However, we can also testify to our Christian faith and message in matters related to the fate of humanity,” said Erdő.

In response to the question of what steps can be taken in this regard, he recalled the efforts of the church in Hungary to make “gestures towards neighboring nations with which we have had conflicts and antagonisms in history.” Cardinal Erdő mentioned that, for example, in 2023, the president of the Bishops’ Conference of Slovakia, Archbishop Bernard Bober, delivered a homily on the national holiday of St. Stephen, and this year, the president of the Bishops’ Conference of Romania, Archbishop Aurel Percă, will preach.

“I believe that at the level of gestures and common thinking about human issues, we are very close to the Catholics of this region. It is not about direct politics, but about human rapprochement,” added Erdő.

Cardinal Erdő during the thanksgiving pilgrimage of Hungarians in the Vatican in April 2024.

When asked by a journalist about the Moscow Patriarch Kirill and his “holy war”, as he calls the conflict in Ukraine, Erdő chose a diplomatic answer. He spoke about the historical heritage, about the connection between the rulers of the Byzantine lands and the Orthodox churches. “At the same time, in the same context, we can identify elements that belong to the spirit of Christianity,” he said.

“After all, even during the Soviet era, in addition to its public functioning, the Orthodox Church managed to preserve many spiritual and religious values ​​amid all the difficulties,” the Hungarian cardinal noted.

Cardinal Erdő also commented on what problem he considers to be the most urgent at the moment.

“It’s a problem to think freely and use your freedom. In the midst of large waves of information and misinformation, which is also fed by the reality of social media, we have become accustomed not to think, but rather to react immediately,” he concluded.

And later he returned again to reflections on the form of the church today. “We live in a diaspora. Today, however, it can be a much more cohesive and stronger diaspora than the church that gathered people who believed and also people who belonged to it out of convenience.”

According to Cardinal Erdő, today people no longer belong to the church out of convenience. “They belong more and more because of personal cohesion, personal experience with faith and because of relations with the Catholic Christian community,” he added.

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