Faith and the Future

…the future of the Church can and will issue from those whose roots are deep and who live from the pure fullness of their faith.  It will not issue from those who accommodate themselves merely to the passing moment or from those who merely criticize others and assume that they themselves are infallible measuring rods; nor will it issue from those who take the easier road, who sidestep the passion of faith, declaring false and obsolete, tyrannous and legalistic, all that makes demands upon men, that hurts them and compels them to sacrifice themselves.
To put this more positively: the future of the Church, once again as always, will be reshaped by saints, by men, that is, whose minds probe deeper than the slogans of the day, who see more than others see, because their lives embrace a wider reality.  Unselfishness, which makes men free, is attained only through the patience of small daily acts of self-denial.  By this daily passion, which alone reveals to a man in how many ways he is enslaved by his own ego, by this daily passion and by it alone, a man’s eyes are slowly opened.  He sees only to  the extent that he has lived and suffered.  If today we are scarcely able any longer to become aware of God, that is because we find it so easy to evade ourselves, to flee from the depths of our being by means of the narcotic of some pleasure or other.  Thus our own interior depths remain closed to us.  If it is true that a man can see only with his heart, then how blind we are.
From Ratzinger’s 1969 book ‘Faith and the Future’
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