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Thought of the day
Friday, October 21, 2016

Friday of the Twenty-ninth week in Ordinary Time

Saint John-Paul II, Pope from 1978 to 2005

Commentary of the day 
Saint John-Paul II, Pope from 1978 to 2005 
Apostolic Letter: Novo millennio ineunte, paras.55-56, 06/01/2001 (copyright Libreria editirce Vaticana
Knowing how to interpret the signs of the times

In the climate of increased cultural and religious pluralism which is expected to mark the society of the new millennium, it is obvious that this dialogue will be especially important in establishing a sure basis for peace and warding off the dread spectre of those wars of religion which have so often bloodied human history. The name of the one God must become increasingly what it is: a name of peace and a summons to peace. 
Dialogue, however, cannot be based on religious indifferentism, and we Christians are in duty bound, while engaging in dialogue, to bear clear witness to the hope that is within us (cf. 1 Pt 3:15)… This missionary duty, moreover, does not prevent us from approaching dialogue with an attitude of profound willingness to listen. We know in fact that, in the presence of the mystery of grace, infinitely full of possibilities and implications for human life and history, the Church herself will never cease putting questions, trusting in the help of the Paraclete, the Spirit of truth (cf. Jn 14:17), whose task it is to guide her "into all the truth" (Jn 16:13). 
This is a fundamental principle not only for the endless theological investigation of Christian truth, but also for Christian dialogue with other philosophies, cultures and religions. In the common experience of humanity, for all its contradictions, the Spirit of God, who "blows where he wills" (Jn 3:8), not infrequently reveals signs of his presence, which help Christ's followers to understand more deeply the message which they bear. Was it not with this humble and trust-filled openness that the Second Vatican Council sought to read "the signs of the times"? (Gaudium et spes, §4) Even as she engages in an active and watchful discernment aimed at understanding the "genuine signs of the presence or the purpose of God", (§11) the Church acknowledges that she has not only given, but has also "received from the history and from the development of the human race"(§44). This attitude of openness, combined with careful discernment, was adopted by the Council also in relation to other religions. 

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