In a ‘Recurring Theme of My Pontificate,’ Saint Pope John Paul II stresses that God stands higher than any religious order.
John Paul II: “It is a hopeful sign that world religions are becoming increasingly aware of their common responsibility for the welfare of humanity … This sense of common responsibility grows to the extent that we discover what we as religious people have in common.
Who does not struggle with the secret of suffering and death?
Who does not love life, truth, peace, freedom and justice?
Who does not believe that the way to God requires prayer, submission, silence, sacrifice and humility?
Who does not expect scientific and technical progress to be guided by a spiritual and moral consciousness?
And who is not convinced that the challenges to society can only be accepted if a civilization of love is founded, based on universal values of peace, solidarity, justice and freedom.
The characteristic of every true mission in life is the inner joy that comes from faith.”
Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks, former Chief Rabbi of the United Hebrew Congregations of the Commonwealth adds force to the notion “God is bigger than religion:”
“The Bible is saying to us the whole time: Don’t think that God is as simple as you are. He’s in places you would never expect him to be. And you know, we lose a bit of that in English translation.
When Moses at the burning bush says to God, ‘Who are you?’ God says to him three words: ‘Hayah asher hayah.’
Those words are mistranslated in English as ‘I am that which I am.’
But in Hebrew, it means ‘I will be who or how or where I will be,’ meaning, don’t think you can predict me.
I am a God who is going to surprise you. One of the ways God surprises us is by letting a Jew or a Christian discover the trace of God’s presence in a Buddhist monk, or a Sikh tradition of hospitality, or the graciousness of Hindu life.
Don’t think we can confine God into our categories.
God is bigger than religion.” (* Pages 145 – 147; Kindle Locations 2936-2959).
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