Here’s another extract from Benedict XVI’s wonderful last Lectio Divina which he gave to the seminarians of the Pontifical Major Roman Seminary. During this lectio Benedict XVI encourages us to realise that we are always foreigners in this world:
Chosen: a word of privilege and at the same time of humility. However “chosen” — as I said — is accompanied by the word “parepidemois”, exiles, foreigners. As Christians we are dispersed and we are foreigners: we see that Christians are the most persecuted group in the world today, because it does not conform, because it is a stimulus, because it opposes the tendencies to selfishness, to materialism and to all these things.
As Christians we are, even today, also always foreigners. In the work place Christians are a minority, they find themselves in an extraneous situation; it is surprising that a person today can still believe and live like this. This is also part of our life: it is a form of being with the Crucified Christ; this being foreigners, not living in the way that everyone else lives, but living — or at least seeking to live — in accordance with his Word, very differently from what everyone says. And it is precisely this that is characteristic of Christians. They all say: “But everyone does this, why don’t I?” No, I don’t, because I want to live in accordance with God. St Augustine once said: “Christians are those who do not have their roots below, like trees, but have their roots above, and they do not live this gravity in the natural downwards gravitation”.
Let us pray the Lord that he help us to accept this mission of living as exiles, as a minority, in a certain sense, of living as foreigners and yet being responsible for others and, in this way, reinforcing the goodness in our world.
Protect the Pope comment: The question of the Church’s relationship, our relationship, with the world is one of the key challenges facing us in the post-conciliar Church. After Vatican II we didn’t just throw open the windows, we knocked down the walls, and let the worldly trample the sacred into the dust.