Band of Brothers: Ascending Life's Mountain Together

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Ignatians: with the strength of a “roped party”

Pope Benedict XVI stated on Palm Sunday, 2010:

“His [Our Lord Jesus Christ’s] way leads beyond the summit of the Temple mount to the height of God himself. This is the great ascent to which he calls all of us. He always remains with us on earth and has always already arrived [in heaven] with God; he leads us on earth and beyond the earth.

“Thus in the breadth of Jesus’ ascent the dimensions of our following of him become visible ‒ the goal to which he wants to lead us: to the heights of God, to communion with God, to being-with-God.

“This is the true goal, and communion with him is the way. Communion with Christ is being on a journey, a permanent ascent to the true height of our calling.

“Journeying together with Jesus is always at the same time a traveling together in the ‘we’ of those who want to follow him. It brings us into this community.

“Because this journey to true life, to being men conformed to the model of the Son of God Jesus Christ is beyond our powers, this journeying is also always a state of being carried.

“We find ourselves, so to speak, in a ‘roped party’ with Jesus Christ ‒ together with him in the ascent to the heights of God. He pulls us and supports us. Letting oneself be part of a roped party is part of following Christ; we accept that we cannot do it on our own. The humble act of entering into the ‘we’of the Church is part of it ‒holding on to the roped party, the responsibility of communion, not letting go of the rope because of our bullheadedness and conceit.

“Humbly believing with the Church, like being bound together in a roped party ascending to God, is an essential condition for following Christ. Not acting as the owners of the Word of God, not chasing after a mistaken idea of emancipation ‒ this is also part of being together in the roped party.

“The humility of ‘being-with’ is essential to the ascent. Letting the Lord take us by the hand through the sacraments is another part of it. We let ourselves be purified and strengthened by him, we let ourselves accept the discipline of the ascent, even if we are tired.

“Finally, we must again say that the cross is part of the ascent toward the height of Jesus Christ, the ascent to the height of God. Just as in the affairs of this world great things cannot be done without renunciation and hard work (joy in great discoveries and joy in a true capacity for activity are linked to discipline, indeed, to the effort of learning) so also the way to life itself, to the realization of one’s own humanity is linked to him who climbed to the height of God through the cross.

“In the final analysis, the cross is the expression of that which is meant by love: only he who loses himself will find himself.” (Pope Benedict XVI, Palm Sunday, 2010)