Thursday, August 13, 2009

STS. PONTIAN AND HIPPOLYTUS

Hippolytus was a major theologian of his time and Pontian was pope from 230-35. Unfortunately they were enemies. For several years Hippolytus disagreed with several popes because he thought they were too lenient with people who had fallen away from the faith under the threat of torture and death. He allowed himself to be elected as the first “anti-pope” in history. However, both men were exiled to the salt mines of Sardinia where they were reconciled and then died from the mistreatment they received. As we pray for refugees and our persecuted brothers and sisters, let us reflect on part of Pope Benedict’s homily for Vespers last July 24, and pray for reconciliation in our world. God has suffered, and through his Son he suffers with us. This is the summit of his power, that he can suffer with us. In this way he demonstrates the true divine power: he desired to suffer with us and for us. In our suffering we are never left alone. God, through his Son, suffered first, and he is close to us in our suffering. However a difficult question remains, one I cannot answer at length at this moment: why was it necessary to suffer to save the world? It was necessary because there exists in the world an ocean of evil, of injustice, hatred, and violence, and the many victims of hatred and injustice have the right to see justice done. God cannot ignore the cries of the suffering who are oppressed by injustice. To forgive is not to ignore, but to transform. God must enter into this world in order to set against the ocean of injustice a larger ocean of goodness and of love. And this is the event of the Cross: from that moment, against the ocean of evil, there exists a river that is boundless, and so ever mightier than all the injustices of the world, a river of goodness, truth, and love. Thus God forgives, coming into the world and transforming it so that there may be a real strength, a river of goodness wider than all the evil that could ever exist. …God invites us to join with him, to leave behind the ocean of evil, of hatred, violence, and selfishness and to make ourselves known, to enter into the river of his love. By Apostleship of Prayer Quote: “Christ, like a skillful physician, understands the weakness of men. He loves to teach the ignorant and the erring he turns again to his own true way. He is easily found by those who live by faith; and to those of pure eye and holy heart, who desire to knock at the door, he opens immediately. He does not disdain the barbarian, nor does he set the eunuch aside as no man. He does not hate the female on account of the woman’s act of disobedience in the beginning, nor does he reject the male on account of the man’s transgression. But he seeks all, and desires to save all, wishing to make all the children of God, and calling all the saints unto one perfect man” (Hippolytus, Treatise on Christ and Antichrist).

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