Risking the fire

CARDINAL JOSEPH RATZINGER

Man is not there to make himself.

A fantasy [that people have, of possessing] property takes no account of the fact that, for the great majority of mankind, life is a struggle.  On those grounds I would see this idea of choosing one's own path in life as a selfish attitude and as a waste of one's vocation.  Anyone who thinks he already has it all, so that he can take what he wants and center everything on himself is depriving himself of giving what he otherwise could.

Man is not there to make himself, but to respond to demands made upon him.  We all stand in a great arena of history and are dependent upon each other.  A man ought not, therefore, just try to figure out what he would like, but to ask what he can do, and how he can help.  Then he will see that fulfillment does not lie in comfort, ease and following one's inclinations, but precisely in allowing demands to be made upon one, in taking the harder path. Everything else turns out somehow boring, anyway.  Only the man who "risks the fire", who recognizes a calling within himself, a vocation, and ideal he must satisfy, who takes on real responsibility, will find fulfillment. It is not in taking, not on the path of comfort that we become rich, but only in giving.

 

 



ACKNOWLEDGEMENT

Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger. "Risking the fire." from God and the World (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 2002): 258.

Reprinted with permission from Ignatius Press.

THE AUTHOR

Pope Benedict XVI is the author of Jesus of Nazareth, Vol II, Jesus of Nazareth, Vol I, Caritas in Veritate: Charity in Truth, Saved in Hope: Spe Salvi, God Is Love: Deus Caritas Est, The End of Time?: The Provocation of Talking about God, Truth and Tolerance: Christian Belief and World Religions, Without Roots: The West, Relativism, Christianity, Islam, Salt of the Earth: An Exclusive Interview on the State of the Church at the End of the Millennium, God and the World: Believing and Living in Our Time, In the Beginning: A Catholic Understanding of the Story of Creation and the Fall, The Spirit of the Liturgy, The Ratzinger Report: An Exclusive Interview on the State of the Church, Introduction to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, Introduction to Christianity, Called to Communion: Understanding the Church Today, Milestones: Memoirs 1927-1977, Behold the Pierced One, and God Is Near Us: The Eucharist, the Heart of Life.

Copyright © 2002 Ignatius Press




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