Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Pseudo-Dionysius helps Christianity dialogue with Eastern religions

.- Pope Benedict dedicated his weekly general audience in St. Peter's Square to the teachings of the figure Pseudo-Dionysius the Aeropagite, who is “a greater mediator in the modern dialogue between Christianity and the mystical theologies of Asia.”

"In today's catechesis we return to the teaching of a sixth century author whose writings have been attributed to the first century disciple of St. Paul, Dionysius the Aeropagite.

Pseudo-Dionysius used Greek polytheism "to show the truth of Christ and transform the polytheistic world into a cosmos created by God" in which "all creatures together reflect the truth of God."

"Because the creature is a glorification of God, the Pseudo-Dionysius' theology becomes a theological liturgy. God is found, above all, by praising Him and not just through reflection."

The Holy Father explained that Pseudo-Dionysius’ “two principal works, the Divine Name and Mystical Theology strive to present a knowledge of God which surpasses rational understanding and culminates in spiritual perfection and transforming contemplation.”

This Father of the Church created the first "great mystical theology. ... With him the word 'mystical' took on a more personal and intimate meaning: it expresses the soul's journey towards God. ... The Pseudo-Dionysius shows that at the end of the road to God is God Himself, Who comes close to us in Jesus Christ."

"Today Pseudo-Dionysius the Areopagite assumes fresh relevance", said the Holy Father. "He appears as a greater mediator in the modern dialogue between Christianity and the mystical theologies of Asia, the well-known characteristic of which lies in their conviction that it cannot be said who God is, that He can be spoken of only in negative terms, ... and that only by entering this experience of 'no' can He be reached."

Pope Benedict also mentioned Pseudo-Dionysius’ influence on other prominent saints. “In the West, Dionysius' writings influenced the early scholastics and Saint Thomas, as well as Saint Teresa of Avila and Saint John of the Cross. His vision of a great cosmic harmony reflecting the beauty of the Creator and the love freely bestowed on us in Christ, can also inspire our efforts to work for unity, reconciliation and peace in our world."

Before bestowing his apostolic blessing on all those gathered, the Pope greeted all those English speaking pilgrims who had made it to Saints Peter's square.

"I welcome all the English-speaking visitors present today, including the groups from England, Ireland, Japan, The Philippines, Trinidad and Tobago, and the United States of America. May your visit to Rome be a time of deep spiritual renewal. Upon all of you I invoke God's abundant blessings of joy and peace."

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