Saturday, January 12, 2008

Talking about Spe Salvi

Together with Father Sam Martin of La Crosse, I'm a guest on Relevant Radio's Connecting with the Bishop program this weekend to talk about Pope Benedict XVI's encyclical, "Spe Salvi." Although the program already aired on Relevant Radio already yesterday and today, it will be rebroadcast tomorrow at 9 a.m. on these stations: 1570 AM (La Crosse), 93.9 FM (Wisconsin Rapids), 92.9 FM (Wausau) and 1050 AM (Eau Claire).

I got to listen to about half the program today, and I think it went pretty well. Hopefully listening to it -- if you're in range of one of the La Crosse Diocese stations -- will encourage you to read the encyclical itself, which can be found at this link: http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/benedict_xvi/encyclicals/documents/hf_ben-xvi_enc_20071130_spe-salvi_en.html

If you need more encouragement from the bishop, here's an article from the Dec. 27 issue, where Bishop Listecki urges La Crosse Diocese Catholics to read the letter:

Bishop to diocese: Pope’s new encyclical on hope was written for you
By Franz Klein
Staff Writer

LA CROSSE – Between Christmas and New Year’s, people usually slow down just a little. The hectic planning and buying that preceded the holidays has come to an end, and there’s even a slight lull in activity.
Most people like to visit family and friends, and maybe even to relax and take in a little football. But Bishop Jerome E. Listecki is asking Catholics to put on their reading glasses for a few extra hours during the Christmas Octave.
“As bishop of this diocese, I would encourage people to read the encyclical ‘Spe Salvi,’” Bishop Listecki said in a recent interview.
Published Nov. 30, “Spe Salvi” (“Saved by Hope”) is the Latin title for Pope Benedict XVI’s second encyclical – a letter about an important issue and addressed to bishops, clergy, religious and all the lay faithful.
Pope Benedict’s first encyclical, “Deus Caritas Est,” (“God Is Love”) dealt with the theological virtue of charity, or love. Similarly, “Spe Salvi” addresses the theological virtue of hope.
But Bishop Listecki says the encyclical isn’t so much about abstract theology as it is an identification of the principal modern spiritual malady – materialism – and the pope’s proposition of hope as its remedy.
“The pope is giving us a further articulation of the crisis of our times,” Bishop Listecki said. “Today we have an overconfidence in the material world, almost to the denial of the spiritual. Modern society places great reliance on human progress, something that needs to be challenged.”
According to the bishop, there’s a reason Pope Benedict released an encyclical about the trouble with relying on the material and ignoring the spiritual at the beginning of Advent. It’s at Christmastime, after all, when people spend hours shopping but tend to forget the reason for the season. And when people forget to include Jesus in their lives, they lose hope.
“Denying the spiritual is like living a half truth where full satisfaction will never be achieved,” Bishop Listecki said.
According to the bishop, the pope is calling us to place our hope in Jesus Christ, Who took human flesh – and through Him to place our hope and trust in God the Father, Whom we cannot see. If we do so, Bishop Listecki said, we will be strengthened by hope and able to live out our faith in the world.
“This God Who has become one with us points to the ultimate trust that is manifest in our extension of self in living for others,” he said.
Bishop Listecki noted that this means no one can be a follower of Christ on his own. Rather, there is always a need for mutual support, for giving and receiving – for living out the Gospel as a member of the community. Hope, the bishop explained, is more than an idea – it’s a way of life that bears its witness of eternal realities to the world.
“Living for others is the performative utterance of the Gospel that manifests the mystery of God’s presence and our confidence or hope in its fulfillment,” the bishop said.
Containing just over 19,000 words, ”Spe Salvi” is only one-third the length of the average novel. And Bishop Listecki says it’s not too difficult to read, either. In order to better grasp the pope’s message, he suggests reading it aloud, either as a family, in a group, or even alone.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

The show is available in the audio archives at www.relevantradio.com. Log in to access the archives, and click on Connecting with the Bishop. You may download the mp3 or listen live.

God bless you, Franz Klein!

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