Wednesday 3 April 2013

Roncalli and the third humility

On the third humility, Rossi de Gasperis again:

There is a new understanding of reality, of others and of ourselves that matures when things begin to go badly. If, however, we resist such humiliation, it makes us bitter, hard and combative, while if it is accepted with gentleness, true humility begins to flower in us (ES 146). For decades we have perhaps spoken too much of poverty and too little of humility, too much of a 'poor Church' and too little of a 'humble Church.'

The impact that no 98 of the Ignatius Exercises and the third humility made on the soul of Angelo Roncalli is something marvellous. He writes about this already during the Spiritual Exercises made in a house of the Passionist Fathers in the north of Bulgaria, in the spring of 1930.

Thirty years later this prayer, repeated over so many years, led Angelo Roncalli, now John XXIII, to the great humiliation following his convocation of the Second Vatican Council. The announcement, which was made on 25 January 1959, was received in cold silence by the cardinals gathered in the Basilica of St Paul Outside the Walls, despite the fact that some of them had already been forewarned by the Secretary of State Tardini. The pope was deeply affected. "Humanly speaking," he said later, "one might have expected the cardinals, after having heard the Allocution, to have pulled together around Us to express their approval and their wishes. There was, instead, just an astounding silence." (Sentieri di vita 2.2:594-95)

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