It is not bad that, from time to time, I bring to this page a contemporary book of good spirituality. It is the case of this novelty of the Dominican Adrien Candiard, who has become one of the referents of the cleanest and most faithful spiritual literature to the tradition of the Church, with his remarkable knowledge not only of ecclesial history but of the Fathers.
French Catholic literature
His books, not very large in pages, have the freshness of the new generation of French Catholic literature, modeled on F. Hadjadj, to quote one, or Ch. Bobin in another sense.
A spirituality that knows well the hearts of contemporary men and women, that knows their desires, their difficulties, and that is focused on the essentials of the proposal on life in Jesus Christ.
In the case at hand, the subtitle of the book is revealing: “Reading the Gospel in times of crisis”. Not surprisingly, the book is articulated around an exegesis of chapter 13 of Mark, let’s put it that way, the eschatological discourse of Jesus.
Candiard says that “I am not ignorant of the crises the Church is going through, nor its apparently unthinkable numerical decline in the West”.
Nor is it ignorant of the crisis in the world, the presence of some horsemen of the apocalypse who “ride with more joy than ever on the planet as a whole.” The world has become unpredictable and disturbing. The progress model has expired.
What to think? To do? What doesn’t the Gospel teach? What does the Revelation of God say? How do you get there, how do you become a Christian at this moment in history?
End of the world
Our author says that “he does not have the ambition to propose in this little book, an exhaustive commentary that seeks the correspondences, nor to pick out the literary structures or seek the biblical resonances of each word. That work has already been done by much more competent biblical scholars than I. For my part, I propose something more modest: simply proceed to the reading of this discourse of Jesus. (…) And the paradox of the Good News is that perhaps we need to agree to talk a little about the end of the world in order to rediscover, in this world, a drop of hope”.
I am only going to highlight two aspects of this proposal that each reader or reader must bring to life. The first of them is the relationship that he proposes between the Word of God and history, against gnostic temptations to use.
Word of God and insignificance
Alert of the “risk in which we make the Word of God incur when we deprive it of any real scope on the march of the world is that of insignificance”.
And the synthesis based on the affirmation that the message of Jesus always saves and reveals, that “the scandal of this evil that disfigures the world is always the same, from generation to generation. And his explanation is, basically, always the same: love is not loved. The same rejection that crucified Love made man continues to be always active”.
After all, the eschatological combat, with its violence and its uncertainties, “is the one that acts in my tics of selfishness and in my desires to do good, in my faithfulness and in my impatience. And to win in this combat is, first of all, to accept that the victory has already been achieved, not by virtue of my efforts, but by the infinite love that is shown in the cross of Jesus and that I have to let in, little by little, in my own life.”
A few words before the Apocalypse