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Dear Father Angelo,

An excatholic friend of mine has become Buddist belonging to Sokka Gakkai. Sometimes it happens that we speak about his spiritual side. All of this happens in the most respectful way possible. He respects my faith and I his faith. He told me why he changed his faith. He lost his grandfather and this event led him to be very sad. He was very sad because he didn’t want his grandfather to die and so he asked God why this had happened to him. Nevertheless his grandfather wasn’t very young. We are talking of an age around 90 years. I really understand the sorrow but at the end of the day he wasn’t a youngster. Some time later he took part in that sect and he let himself be taken from that environment to the point that he joined that group. ( I’ve become his friend when he was already buddist. ) Over the months it has happened several times that we talked about God. In the beginning he told me he didn’t believe in God. However, concerning Jesus Christ, he claimed to know that he lived on Earth 2000 years ago, other than that, he didn’t expose himself ( concerning miracles and resurrection ). But after several months he said a thing that really blew me away. He believes that Jesus has risen because it has been demonstrated but he doesn’t know whether God exists or not, which he denied some months ago. He says the same thing about Buddha saying he doesn’t know whether he exists as an entity. The thing left me confused. He claims to be a person who can be influenced very, very easily. His conversion is based on his grandfather and the fact that after his conversion he prayed ( in front of a pergamen. They don’t pray to Buddha even though they are Buddist. They don’t pray to anybody when they pray. It is very complicated to explain) and later he says he met a girl. This doesn’t mean anything to me. Knowing a girl around is something that happens. Despite his last affirmations on God he  claims to have gone his own way. I want to make a thing clear. His way of living is very different from mine, not only about religion, but even for ordinary things. He is very good with people but he lives a “street life”. I have often said to him it is useless to use certain things.. But he has his beliefs and he tells me : “don’t be a cop.” I know very well that : “he who goes with the cripple learns to limp ” but I have a barrier on all of that and I think that slowly the “cripple” can change if someone makes him realize that is wrong for himself to do certain things. I never say such things insistently because the reaction can be the opposite of what one would like to obtain. God gave us the freedom to choose what to do in our life. If my friend will change his lifestyle because of my totally different attitude, then I’ll be happy. Perhaps the reason why we became friends may also be because of this.

Greetings, Andrea. 

Priest’s Answer

Dear Andrea,

1. It’s a very sad thing to leave Jesus Christ to follow one who doesn’t know where to lead you, who isn’t the beginning and the end of your life. 

2. Jesus Christ, because He is God, is our Creator and He is the meaning of our existence. 

As a man , He is the one who knows where to lead us. He said : “ I am the true and living way”(John 14,6).

3. Quite frankly, Buddha – a respectable man – is a stranger to us. 

He is dead man. He can’t do anything to us.

4. Jesus instead as a God and our Creator is He who “from his full measure we have all been given grace on grace”(John 1,16) 

“All things came into existence through him, and without him nothing was.” (John 1.3)

“He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.”(Col 1,17)

“All things have been created through Him and for Him.” (Col 1,16)

5. For the life of each of us is “The bread which comes from heaven is such bread that a man may take it for food and never see death.”(John 6,50), but “have eternal Life”(John 3,16), to have knowledge of you (Gv 17,3).

It is the suprasubstantial bread that give us life (Mt 6,11) and which satisfies (Jn 6.11) 

It is the drink from which men are called to quench their thirst, which quenches their thirst and makes springs of water gush into their hearts that gush up to eternal life (Jn 4:14).

It is the Bridegroom(Mt 9,15; Rev 21,9). It is he who says: “See, I am waiting at the door and giving the sign; if my voice comes to any man’s ears and he makes the door open, I will come in to him, and will take food with him and he with me.(Rev 3,20). He is the one who makes all the goods of Paradise our property.

Buddha for us can be neither food that nourishes and fills our lives , nor the drink that quenches our thirst, nor the Bridegroom of our soul. This is simple because Buddha is a dead man.

6. What Scripture says about God : “We could say more but could never say enough; let the final word be: “He is the all.” (Sir 43,27) It can also be said of Jesus Christ.

With reason we can condense all these terms in one word by saying “Jesus meus et omnia”, “Jesus is my God and my everything”.

It is a paraphrase of the most known expression : “ Deus meus et omnia” ( my God and my everything) found in The Imitation of Christ ( lib. 3, chap.34) which reflects the affirmation of Sacred Scripture: “He is the all” (Sir 43,27). 

It is also one of the mottos of the Franciscan Order.

7. Pray for your friend who by preferring Buddha instead of Jesus has lost the treasure hidden in the field. 

Perhaps he owned  it before, but only materially, without knowing its value. Otherwise he would have not put it aside.

To your prayer I will add mine. 

May he understand that no one can be the life of his life because he isn’t the author, the center and the goal. 

I bless you and I wish you well.

Father Angelo