Vatican City (Agenzia Fides) - One of the most acute urgencies in the formation of priests is to help candidates avoid the danger of spiritualism and activism. Spiritualism and bureaucracy are two opposing temptations which actually reflect each other and prevent the mission of the Church to rise and develop.
Spiritualistic reduction understands Christianity solely as an individual relationship with God, of the spirit of the individual with the spirit of God: danger of dis-incarnation born of egoism or fear, therefore of the absence of mercy, born of profound forgetfulness of the reality of Christianity, which is God - made - Man, God bending over and saving mankind. Spiritualism confines Christianity in a dis-incarnate prayer, a solipsist silence, a flight from the responsibilities of the present.
On the other hand activism, favoured by the bureaucratisation of ecclesial life which developed after Vatican II, reduces Christian life to meetings, conferences, documents, activity lived as “doing for others”, from which however awareness and responsibility of proclaiming Christ is absent.
In both these errors what is lacking is the beauty of a lived life in communion which is the only experience from which a man can feel he is sent to the far corners of the earth. Both these dangers are born of a loss of awareness of what mission is and first of all a loss of awareness of mission as the goal of the priesthood, the goal of Christian life.
Don Giussani founder of the Movement Communion and Liberation, in an intervention during a plenary assembly of the Congregation for the Clergy on 19 October 1993 on the theme: “Life, ministry and formation of priests” said: «If anyone had asked Christ: ‘What do you think of yourself? How do you see yourself?’, I imagine He would have replied: ‘I am the One sent by the Father’. His existence was mission. This in fact was the human place through which his Spirit was to take His paths in the world, this is the generating word spoken by Christ: ‘As the Father sent me so I send you ».
A society like ours can only be touched by the grace of a diverse humanity characterised by this new self awareness. I am sent so that, through my humanity, others may be reached by the One sent by the Father. If God became man it was indeed because man can only be touched by the grace of humanity newly found. If this is always true, it is most of all for the society of today which is swamped every second by billions of words and messages in which everything is of such relative value that it equals zero. Christianity cannot renounce the truth of its origin, a personal communication. Everything can help, but nothing can take the place of personal communication. (Agenzia Fides 30/6/2006 - righe 36; parole 484)