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Final Lenten Sermon explores faith, reason, and mysticism

March 30, 2012

In the last of his Lenten Sermons for 2012, the preacher to the pontifical household showed how the thought of St. Gregory of Nyssa applies to contemporary religious experience.

Preaching in the Redemptoris Mater chapel of the apostolic palace, Father Raniero Cantalamessa explored the work of St. Gregory of Nyssa, and said that the insights of the 4th-century theologian prove unusually helpful today—particularly regarding the tension between faith and reason.

In his reflections on mystical experience, the papal preacher observed, St. Gregory explained that reason reaches toward a goal of understanding that can ultimately be reached only through an act of faith. Father Cantalamessa summarized:

By believing the human person does not give up his rationality but transcends it, which is something very different. It stretches the resources of reason to the extreme, permitting it to perform its most noble act.

The Lenten Sermons are preached on consecutive Fridays in Lent, to a congregation including the Pontiff and leaders of the Roman Curia. This year’s series of meditations, on the works of the early Church Fathers, concluded on March 30


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