Thursday, January 10, 2008

The Parables (Reading from Tonight's Teen Discussion)

Unfortunately I don't have time for a super elucidating post about this, just for a few amazing tidbits from tonight's breathtaking reading on the parables (from Jesus of Nazareth by Pope Benedict XVI, of course). Honestly, you'll probably get more out of reading these two quotes slowly and thoughtfully than a bunch of side notes from me anyway. :)

Now, every educator, every teacher who wants to communicate new knowledge to his listeners naturally makes constant use of example or parable. By using an example, he draws to their attention a reality that until now has lain outside their field of vision. He wants to show that something they have hitherto not perceived can be glimpsed via a reality that does fall within their range of experience. By means of parable he brings something distant within their reach so that, using the parable as a bridge, they can arrive at what was previously unknown. A twofold movement is involved here. On one hand, the parable brings distant realities close to the listeners as they reflect upon it. On the other hand, the listeners themselves are led onto a journey. The inner dynamic of the parable, the intrinsic self-transcendence of the chosen image, invites them to entrust themselves to this dynamic and to go beyond their existing horizons, to come to know and understand things previously unknown. This means, however, that the parable demands the collaboration of the learner, for not only is something brought close to him, but he himself must enter into the movement of the parable and journey along with it.
I thought the following imagery was very beautiful and also has something to say about how God works in the world in a more general sense AND how we can help bring others to Christ...
This brings us back to the Lord's words about seeing and not seeing, hearing and not understanding. For Jesus is not trying to convey to us some sort of abstract knowledge that does not concern us profoundly. He has to lead us to the mystery of God - to the light that our eyes cannot bear and that we therefore try to escape. In order to make it accessible to us, he shows how the divine light shines through in the things of this world and in the realities of our everyday life. Through everyday events, he wants to show us the real ground of all things and thus the true direction we have to take in our day-to-day lives if we want to go the right way. He shows us God: not an abstract God, but the God who acts, who intervenes in our lives, and wants to take us by the hand. He shows us through everyday things who we are and what we must therefore do. He conveys knowledge that makes demands upon us; it not only or even primarily adds to what we know, but it changes our lives.

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