When you are editing MAGNIFICAT, you are acutely aware of interacting with a vast treasury of scriptural, liturgical and spiritual resources.
At the same time, you know that these materials are constantly made new by the Holy Spirit, who makes his influence felt at every moment of Church history.
This month we are running a series on ‘saints who were peacemakers’. Devotion to the saints involves far more than hagiography: their experiences speak to us in the situations we face today. It happens that this month the Holy Father himself is speaking more urgently than ever about the need for peace and dialogue, in a situation that he has described as a Third World War by piecemeal. He visited Sarajevo, a city resurrected out of the longest and most harrowing siege in modern history. He risked a political storm by engaging with the Russian president at a time when history hangs in precarious balance in the Ukraine.
There is of course a connection between the factors which cause so many armed conflicts, and the environmental issues which the forthcoming encyclical will focus on. In both cases the root cause is sin: and the lack of wisdom that it engenders. Perhaps the true environmental crisis is a spiritual one?
In this week’s Great Conversion Stories, we read about Li Zhizao, a man who pursued wisdom to its logical conclusion. He was a minister in the imperial court of China at the beginning of the 17th century, when he was converted by the Italian missionary Matteo Ricci. One of the greatest examples of the Jesuit genius for “slow evangelisation”, Ricci spent decades learning Mandarin and studying Confucian philosophy, in order to discern how to bring Christ to one of the most highly developed cultures of the world. How much waste and conflict could be avoided, if an environment of prayerful patience always prevailed?
Leonie Caldecott is the editor of MAGNIFICAT UK and Ireland
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