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Book: The Joy of the Gospel: Meditations for Young People
Author: Cardinal Carlo Maria Martini
The Liturgical Press, Collegeville, MN, pp. 107

Excerpt from the Introduction:

I remember an old Buddhist monk, more than eighty years old, who told me during my visit to the monastery in Hong Kong that we are searching for nothing (nada), the scope of our life is the nothing (nada).

What was he trying to say? Is his true prayer and what relationship does it have with ours?

If we have the clarity of the ongoing dynamism of Christic prayer, it can be important, as Church, to establish the value of meditation without object, the meaning of the encounter with nothing.

Christic prayers is surrender, actio, it is being crucified with Christ, being given to the poorest.

When we are deprived of the light of Christ, the forms of prayers, perhaps beautiful, of other religions are dangers and they pose the risk of becoming mental self-justification, a closing in on one's own choice, self-legitimation. And there is nothing worse on the ascetical journey, or on the so-called spiritual journey, than self-satisfaction.

I am thinking here of persons who pray, pray much, and yet succeed in always doing what they want, in legitimating their own opinions without ever taking the Church seriously or doing justice to truth. Perhaps they have not been helped by becoming truly excited in lectio divina, by passing from the successive stages which, through the power of the Holy Spirit, transforms the word of God lived in life, to evangelical action.

Excerpt from Book

Facing Opposition

In the passage from Mark, the people suddenly go from admiration [to his teaching in the temple] to distrust. "Is this not the carpenter, the son of Mary, a brother of James and Joses and Judas and Simon? Are not his sisters our neighbors here? . . . .

If he had been a great prophet who came from Jerusalem, who had studied in the schools of the capital, it would have be different, but since he is just one of the country people, it is useless to listen to him. . . .

Jesus first of all reacts with sorrowful amazement, with painful surprise . . . he is found here confronted with the very terrible attitude which is the inability to put one's trust in God, to believe that God can do something really big in our little areas of life . . .

After the surprise, he experiences a kind of blockade; his love, his desire to heal is impeded. This must have been a terrible suffering for him. . . .

Jesus' response to all this was: "No prophet is without honor except in his native place, among his own kindred, and in his own house."

The reason given by Jesus is the same one that we tried to pick out when listening to people: the meanness of their hearts and their background. Hearts and backgrounds closed to the true action of God, not the shallowness of some sixteen-year-old religious man who sees this action only in great deeds, great undertakings, in amazing and flamboyant things. . . .

By giving a reason, Jesus refocuses the negative judgments, he shakes them up and down, he liberates them.

Finally, he continues as before and even before that: "He made the rounds of the neighboring villages instead, and spent his time teaching." . . .

Jesus reacts [to opposition] by passing through four stages: astonishment, suffering of feeling blocked in his love for humankind, search for a reason which redirects the judgments, certainty of having to continue to teach as he had always done.

Table of Contents:

The exercise of lectio divina, Introduction
Lectio divina
Its relationship with memory, intellect, will
Evangelical contemplation
The universal dynamism of knowledge
Particular characteristics of Christian prayer

Part I

1. The Joy of the Gospel
Why these exercises?
The event at Cana
The persons
The symbols
The great truths

2. "They have no more wine"
A certain shame of the Gospel
Living the joy of the Gospel
Questions for meditation

3. "Thus did he reveal his glory"
The joy of the Cross
The glory of God
The manifestation of the glory at Cana
The path to peace

4. "Do whatever he tells you"
The words of Mary where did they come from?
The words of Mary summon us

5. Mary as missionary
The journey covered
The prime source of the missionary Church
A Church which prepares the way
A Church which knows how to be involved
The good wine needs no recommendation

Part II
Quantum Leaps on the Christian Educational Journey:
School of the Word on the Gospel according to Mark

1. Staying with Jesus
The leap which Jesus brings to completion
Failing in love with Jesus: points for meditation
Questions for our personal prayer

2. Leaving fear behind and relying on Jesus
The fear of trusting
Apropos of meditation and contemplation

3. Leaving fear behind and relying on Jesus
Preliminary remarks
The reaction of Jesus when challenged
Questions for meditation and contemplation

4. Facing and welcoming the discourse about the Cross
The quantum leap: the way of the cross
Points for meditation: the fundamental Christian discourse
Start of the contemplative silence

5. "And he confirmed the message"
A reading from Mark 16:9-20
The three appearances
The mandate of Jesus and the signs of the believer
"He confirmed the message"