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While the Catholic hierarchy insists on the need of the «Church magisterium» to instruct and guide the faithful, important sectors of Christians direct their lives without taking its directives into account. Where could this phenomenon lead us? A question that unsettles us more every day.

Some theologians believe it's necessary to recover the awareness of the «inner magisterium», something all too forgotten among Christians. It goes this way: it serves us little to insist in the «hierarchical magisterium» if believers –hierarchy and faithful– don't listen to the voice of Christ, the «inner Teacher» who keeps instructing by means of his Spirit those who truly want to follow him.

The idea of Christ «the inner Teacher» starts with Jesus himself: «Call no one teacher, because one only is your Teacher: the Christ» (Matt 23,10). But it has been above all St. Augustine who has introduced it into theology, claiming forcefully its importance: «We have only one Teacher. And under him we are all his co-disciples. We are not built into teachers by the fact of speaking from a pulpit. The true Teacher speaks from within».

Contemporary theology insists in this truth that is all too forgotten by everyone, hierarchy and faithful alike: the words that are pronounced in the Church must only serve as an invitation so that each believer listens inside of themselves to the voice of Christ. This is what's decisive. Only when we «learn» from Christ himself is there produced «something new» in the life of the believer.

This carries with it a variety of demands. Above all, for those who speak with authority within the Church. They aren't the owners of the faith or of Christian morality. Their mission isn't to judge and condemn people. Even less «to lay heavy and unbearable burdens» on others. They aren't teacher of anyone. They're disciples who must go about «learning» from Christ. Only then can they help others to «let themselves be taught» by him. Thus St. Augustine questions preachers: «Why do you like to talk so much and listen so little? The one who teaches truly is within; on the other hand, when you try to teach, you go out of yourself and walk outside. Listen first to the one who speaks within, and from within speak afterwards to those outside».

On the other hand, we all need to remember that the important thing, when we hear the word of the magisterium, is to feel ourselves invited to return within to hear the voice of the only Teacher. We're reminded again by St. Augustine: «Don't walk outside. Don't get scattered. Go deeply into your intimate life. The truth resides in the inner person». It's enlightening to see the scene in which Jesus praises the attitude of Mary, who «seated at the Lord's feet, listened to his word». Jesus' words are clear: «Only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen the better part».


José Antonio Pagola

Translator: Fr. Jay VonHandorf

Publicado en www.gruposdejesus.com

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