26 May 2011

Wrestlng with God

As you may know, Pope Benedict has begun a series of talks on prayer at his Wednesday audiences. (This is the same context in which Bl. John Paul II developed the talks that became the Theology of the Body.) In the talk yesterday, Pope Benedict gives an explanation of one of those tricky Old Testament passages as an image of prayer: Jacob's wrestling match with God. I encourage you to read it, not only for the insight into prayer but also to see the Pope's method.

Pope Benedict shows once again what a masterful teacher he is. He takes this problematic figure of Jacob (you know, the one who tricked his brother into giving up his birthright and his father into giving his blessing) and explains what it all means. He does not gloss over the hard parts, but he won't let go until he has shown how Jacob's experience, so unlike our own, actually reveals our relationship with God to us.

Pope Benedict has a wonderful balance of scholarship and faith. In my experience, scholars point out the difficulties of a passage but do not push on to resolution; they raise questions but do not show the way to answers. This can open the door to doubts. Other commentators will simply ignore the difficulties and come to easy answers. This approach is intellectually unsatisfying because it leads one think that one can't really ask questions or think about matters of faith. Pope Benedict lets his scholarship bring up all the hard questions and lets his faith compel him to come to resolution. At the end, one is thankful to this great teacher for not only raising questions but for showing a way to answers that are adequate to the questions.

Go see for yourself.


Josh said...

Did anyone read this rather intriguing Open Message to Pope Benedict?


Frog's hair said...

I am not sure that I want to! Yikes.