Posted by Br. Paulo Dullius, FSC
on 3 February 2021
The present reflection deals with a reality that is full of significance for today, namely God. When it comes to God, indifference is not possible, and we encounter a great variety of views ranging from a life that finds great meaning in God, to a negation of God which sees the idea of God as an obstacle to human development.
In dealing with this important and significant topic, our focus will be existential and phenomenological. Nevertheless, we shall need to take account of the contributions of theology, the history of religions, philosophy, sociology and psychology. In the same way, we shall keep in mind the context and effects of ideas about God in the lives of individuals and of groups. In addition, we recognise that catechesis and Christian initiation programmes have always given priority to a healthy experience of God. They have always stressed the importance of trust, protection, love, pardon and mercy. Christian initiation and Christian life take place in a cultural context in accordance with the broad characteristics of their culture. Christian initiation has always been careful to present the individuals concerned with the best ideas about God and Jesus. In its turn, Lasallian pedagogy has been guided by and has guided according to the images of God as love, as shepherd, as neighbour, as guardian angel. It insists on the concern to preserve from evil and provide strength in the making of options for the good.
It is the desire of God that people should live as free, mature beings capable of loving, and it is also the principal goal of this presentation to enable us all to make a better commitment to living a happy life, in union with God and in union with those with whom we are living. This same desire of God is also the centre of our Lasallian educational mission, when we make ourselves more aware of being mediators of God, and when we behave accordingly by showing concern for the promotion of holistic salvation. We all seek to maintain an adult standard in our activities, but there are still difficulties in living as adults. The present text stresses the fact that a lot of our difficulties concerning God are due to the stages of immaturity that exist in individuals and are reflected in institutions through certain laws, moral principles, lifestyles and life options.
There exist individuals and groups who are obstacles to human growth and to the realisation of universal fraternity. Here I shall focus more on the situation of the Christian experience, while appreciating other forms of religion. Christianity is the product of Greek, Roman and Jewish cultures with the addition of new elements which came especially through the incarnation of Jesus Christ and his life and mission among people.