food for thought (from Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger)

In his writings while in prison, Bonhoeffer once remarked that even the Christian must live today quasi Deus non daretur — as if there were no God. He must not involve God in the perplexities of his everyday life, but must assume responsibility for himself for the course of that life. Personally I would prefer to state this thought in exactly the opposite way: in practice, even one for whom the existence of God, the world of faith, has grown dim, should live today quasi Deus esset — as if God really exists. He should live subject to the reality of truth, which is not our creation, but our mistress. He should live under the standard of justice, which is not just a product of our own minds, but the norm by which we ourselves are measured. He should live subject to the love that awaits us and that loves even us. He should live under the challenge of eternity. In fact, one who consciously lets himself be formed by this concept will see that it is the only way by which the human race can be saved. God — and he alone — is our salvation. . . . And one who — even if perhaps at first only hesitantly — entrusts himself to this difficult yet inescapable as if, who lives as if there were a God, will become ever more aware that this as if is the only reality. He will percieve its justification, its inner strength. And he will know profoundly and indelibly why Christianity is still necessary today as the genuinely good news by which we are redeemed.

Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger
From Co-Workers of the Truth
(Ignatius Press, 1992)


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