Ressourcement — a return to the beginning, the source, the foundation.
This is a word to which I never knew the meaning until I began my theology studies in 2013. In the context of the Catholic Church, it is a movement of theologians in the 20th Century to return to the sources of the Christian faith as a foundation for doing theology, namely Sacred Scripture and the writings of the Church Fathers. For more information about this movement consider this link about Nouvelle Théologie: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nouvelle_th%C3%A9ologie.
Ressourcement makes perfect sense to me.
Go to the source! Don’t formulate ideas or opinions based on what someone says someone said.
Unfortunately this is exactly what we do when we allow the news media, whatever label it is given, to inform our minds. A little curiosity about sources is a good thing. Let’s consider ressourcement in the context of who we listen to today.
The pandemic has been a blessing to me personally in multiple ways. I am grateful that we have been healthy so far! One important blessing is that I have made a concerted effort to listen to the source, the Vicar of Christ, our Holy Father — Pope Francis. His daily Masses have been shared on YouTube; there are even some mini-videos of him providing the daily Mass intentions. I go listen to his homilies after I listen to the daily readings every morning.
It has been a treasure.(Click for link to Vatican YouTube)
There is so much out there that is so critical of Pope Francis. Some of it comes even from people for whom I have great respect. Some is not just criticism of ideas, but mean-spirited criticism of a person. It is a great reminder to me of my own sinfulness, and of how I can become lost in my own opinions and ideas. I wonder when I read some people’s comments, or hear about some of the headlines, if these people have actually listened to the source.
If we aren’t careful we can lose sight of what is true. Unfortunately I know this personally, and my conscience often prompts me to repent. By God’s grace I repent. There but for the grace of God go I.
I say this not because I am good. Only God is good — even Jesus told us this! I say this because there is a fundamental error that we can make when we do not go to the source: we reject the dignity of the human person when we do not listen in order to hear them.
If we make a judgement about a person’s motives we are being disrespectful of their God-given dignity. We have already turned down the sound — we don’t listen to them. We listen only to what we have previously conceived in our minds. I have been guilty of this too many times.
There are particular Catholic news websites that are quite embarrassing to me as a Catholic. It is said that people will know that we are Christians by our love. I have always been taught that truth and love are not mutually exclusive. St. Paul was very clear on this in 1 Cor 13:1-13. More often then not, if I read an article from one of these sites I ask myself, “Where is the love?” Or “Is this article bearing the fruits of the Holy Spirit?”
I urge all of us to listen to the source directly. Especially when the source is il Papa!