Having mulled over the subject matter of this book for so many years, albeit intermittently and never having found the opportunity to commit anything to paper, I had all but given this book up for impossible. But now, quite unexpectedly, the Lord has given me light, time and the strength to write it. All that remains for me is to express my gratitude. Deo gratias!
What had to be said has now been said. Before finishing, however, I think it’s permissible to go over something I wrote earlier on:
What sort of shape has the Christian life of families gotten into, even the best of them? Is it acceptable that there exists such a great disparity of sanctifying potential between the Christian home and the religious house? Is this in line with the best of Church tradition? Perhaps we should go one step further: do we truly believe that the laity are called to be saints or is this merely a way of talking, very much in vogue these days. What do we really understand by the way of lay Christian perfection? How far have we accepted as inevitable that the laity’s personal and community life be exteriorly shaped according to a worldly model? (Evangelio y Utopia, 1999, p.112)
Certainly, there are many paths to arrive at the Father’s house. Everyone ought to “lead the life the Lord has assigned to him, and in which God has called him” (1 Cor.7:17). For this reason, the course of one’s own path should be zealously protected, as it is God who has mapped it out for us. However, there is also a need to appreciate and respect the diverse ways of our brothers in the faith, for they are also gifts of God. Moreover, everyone must remain always open to possible new lights and inspirations of the Holy Spirit.
This, in theory at least, is very clear.
In practice, however, one’s own way is very often considered to be the most appropriate and other ways are looked upon with distrust and even hostility. [...]
The cause of this so frequent blindness can be put down to an over-attachment to one’s own ideas, group and methods. In this way, Christians who fraternize, collaborate or amalgamate with the secular world are very easily considered by segregated Christians as being complicitous with the world, opportunists, more of the world than of God, salt that has lost its taste, and so on. Equally, Christians immersed in the world will view more segregated Christians as lay people playing at being monks, as Catharian purists, people cut off from temporal reality, or as simply barmy. (Evangelio y Utopia, 1999, p.73)
A certain utopianism is necessary for every Christian and for every Christian association. This is beyond question. However, it is also legitimate, moreover necessary, that this Gospel utopianism be lived in particularly accentuated forms by some of the faithful and by certain Christian communities, to whom the Lord grants this special grace.
Therefore, “do not quench the Spirit, do not despise prophesying” (1Thess.5:19); do not resist the Holy Spirit (Acts 7:51) who wishes to renew the face of the earth. The riches of his graces, so often ignored and resisted, are infinite. Let us permit his overflowing, merciful love to renew all human beings, not only interiorly, but exteriorly; not only persons, but communities; and not just religious, but the laity. Let us also allow Him to fully realize the design of Christ within at least a chosen few of our Christian lay communities: “new wine in new wineskins,” no less.