Reflecting the Mind of the
Vatican Since 1850

March 2024 Issue
‘The Soul Imagines God,’ Contemplating and Praying with Images

Frequent manipulation of images can lead to distrust, for a current example see the scandal in Britain about doctored images released by members of the Royal Family. Yet, the biblical text is full of images. They range from creation stories to apocalyptic anguish, from psalmic metaphors and prophetic visions to Pauline analogies. God speaks to humanity in a figurative language that all can understand, remember and apply. Christ, Image of the invisible God, wants to make us in His images. In “The Soul Imagines God”: Contemplating and praying with images, Nicolas Steeves, Professor of Fundamental Theology at the Pontifical Gregorian University asks, if we lose confidence, how do we find our way back? Our salvation depends on it.

 

In this interview with Cardinal Zuppi, president of the Italian Bishops’ Conference, titled The Church Is More Than It Seems, Nuno da Silva Gonçalves and Simone Sereni discuss his pastoral and missionary vision. It can be summarised by his awareness of contemporary issues in a rapidly changing world that he expresses with simplicity and spontaneity. Card. Zuppi shares his reflections and expectations about the Church and, regarding the Church in Italy, he is convinced that despite its decline in numbers, it continues to have weight that goes far beyond the boundaries we can imagine.

 

Moses, Miriam and Aaron: Prophets and Brothers, by Vincenzo Anselmo considers whether prophecy is a family gift or a prerogative to be jealously defended against other claims. Moses is the undisputed protagonist of the great epic of the Jewish people. He is the mediator-bridge between the Lord and his people, the one who intercedes for all. The complex relationship between Moses and his siblings, Miriam and Aaron – not only his co-workers but also his adversaries – helps shed light on the unique relationship between God and Moses, that makes him a prophet like no other.

 

Nothing survives without water, as Fernando de la Iglesia Viguiristi and Tebaldo Vinciguerra make clear in Water, a Global Urgency. They note that 99 percent of the world’s water supply is salt water, ice or groundwater. So, we need to make that little 1 percent last and reach 7.9 billion people. Yet one quarter of the world’s population already suffers from a chronic water shortage. This essential common good, consumed in competition between individuals and communities, and altered by climate change must be regulated. In this task, the principles of the Social Doctrine of the Church are truly inspiring.

 

Our quality of life is the subject of Giovanni Cucci’s article The Politics of Happiness. For Amartya Sen, winner of the Nobel Prize in Economics in 1998, the promotion of the human being calls for a society that knows how to foster, above all, the fundamental abilities of the person. His research in recent years has also been taken up globally in politics as well as  architecture, with important consequences in regard to quality of life, promotion of relationships, decrease in crime and greater sensitivity to the environment.

 

Also in the issue:

COP28: An evaluation of its results, Fernando de la Iglesia Viguiristi
Madagascar: A new twist?, Jean-Pierre Bodjoko
Gender-based Violence: An anthropological perspective, Ottavio De Bertolis
2024, The Election Year, Giovanni Sale
350 Years since the Apparitions at Paray-le-Monial, Ottavio De Bertolis
Where to Israel?, David Neuhaus
Luca Signorelli and Freud: a step in the genesis of psychoanalysis?, Giancarlo Pani

 

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