Pascal and Pope John Paul II

often quoted §22 — Christ reveals man to himself and makes his supreme calling clear. As I read through I found some passages that state the same basic idea. I found a connection made between Pascal and Gaudium et spes in the preparation for the special synod on Europe held in 1989. 

Today in both the East and West, one can easily notice a general desire for the goods of the spirit, a search for a response to the deep questions of human existence and a disquiet and constant yearning after the definitive goal of humanity.  .  .  . the millennia-old culture of Europe still provides a truth capable of satisfying the perennial longings of humanity.

The Church offers the one valid measure for interpreting the decisive moments of human life and undertaking evangelization in a universal manner. “This measure is Christ, the incarnate word of God; in Christ, born, dead and risen, the Church can read the true meaning, the full meaning, of the birth and death of every human being.

Pascal already noted: ‘We not only know God through Jesus Christ, but we know ourselves through Jesus Christ, and only through him do we know life and death. Outside of Jesus Christ we do not know what life and death are, who God is, or who we are’ (Pensees, n. 548). It is an intuition that the Second Vatican Council expressed with justly famous words. “Only in the mystery of the incarnate Word does the mystery of man take on true light…. ‘Christ, the final Adam, by the revelation of the mystery of the Father and his love, fully reveals man to himself and makes his supreme calling clear’ (Gaudium et spes, n. 22). Instructed by Christ, the Church has the task of leading modern man to rediscover the full truth about himself.” Lineamenta, Synod on Europe,  L’Osservatore Romano 8 April 1998


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