Man is redeemed by the cross;  the crucified Christ, as the completely opened being, as the true redemption of man — this is the central principle of Christian faith… in the last analysis of man, it expresses the primacy of acceptance over action, over one’s own achievement…

Accordingly, from the point of view of the Christian faith, man comes in the profoundest sense to himself not through what he does but through what he accepts.  He must wait for the gift of love, and love can only be received as a gift.  It cannot be “made” on one’s own, without anyone else;  one must wait for it, let it be given to one.

And one cannot become wholly man in any other way than by being loved, by letting oneself be loved.  That love represents simultaneously both man’s highest possibility and his deepest need, and that this most necessary thing is at the same time the freest and the most unenforceable means precisely that for his “salvation” man is meant to rely on receiving.

If he declines to let himself be presented with the gift, then he destroys himself.  Activity that makes itself into an absolute, that aims at achieving humanity by its own efforts alone, is in contradiction with man’s being…

The primacy of acceptance is not intended to condemn man to passivity; it does not mean that man can now sit idle.  On the contrary, it alone makes it possible to do the things of this world in a spirit of responsibility, yet at the same time in an uncramped, cheerful, free way, and to put them at the service of redemptive love.

–Pope Benedict XVI


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