Posts Tagged ‘world’

“The Joys Sown by God in Our Life Are Not the Destination”

May 14, 2010

VATICAN CITY, FEB. 28, 2010 (Zenit.org).- Here is a translation of the address Benedict XVI gave today before and after praying the midday Angelus with those gathered in St. Peter’s Square.

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Dear brothers and sisters,

Here in the Apostolic Palace yesterday we concluded the customary retreat that is held in the Vatican at the beginning of Lent. My coworkers in the Roman Curia and I have spent the days in recollection and intense prayer, reflecting on the priestly vocation in sync with the Year for Priests that the Church is celebrating. I thank those who were near to us spiritually.

On this second Sunday of Lent the liturgy is dominated by the event of the Transfiguration, which in St. Luke’s Gospel immediately follows the Master’s invitation: “If anyone wants to follow me, he must renounce himself, take up his cross every day and follow me!” (Luke 9:23). This extraordinary event is an encouragement in following Jesus.

Luke does not speak of transfiguration but describes what happened through two elements: the countenance of Jesus that changes and his vestments, which become dazzling white in the presence of Moses and Elijah, symbol of the Law and the Prophets. The three disciples who witness the scene are heavy with sleep: It is the attitude of those who, although spectators of divine prodigies, do not understand them. Only the struggle against the torpor that assails them allows Peter, James and John to “see” Jesus’ glory. The pace is driving: as Moses and Elijah depart from Jesus, Peter speaks, and while he is speaking, a cloud covers him and the other disciples with its shadow; it is a cloud that, although it conceals also reveals God’s glory, as happened for the people of Israel on pilgrimage through the desert. The eyes can no longer see, but the ears can hear the voice that comes from the cloud: “This is my Son, my chosen one; listen to him!” (Luke 9:35).

The disciples are no longer before a transfigured face, nor before a dazzling garment, nor a cloud that reveals the divine presence. Before their eyes there is “only Jesus” (9:36). Jesus is alone before his Father as he prays, but at the same time, Jesus is everything that is given to the disciples of all times: It is what must suffice on the journey. He is the only voice to listen to, the only one to follow, he who, going up to Jerusalem, will give his life and one day “will transfigure our miserable body to conform it to his glorious body” (Philippians 3:21).

“Master, it is good for us to be here” (John 9:33): These are Peter’s ecstatic words, which often resemble our desire before the Lord’s consolations. But the Transfiguration reminds us that the joys sown by God in our life are not the destination, but they are lights that he gives us on the earthly pilgrimage, so that “only Jesus” is our Law and his Word the criterion that guides our existence.

During this time of Lent I invite everyone to meditate assiduously on the Gospel. Furthermore, I hope in this Year of the Priest that pastors “are truly filled by the Word of God, that they know it in truth, that they love it to the point that it really gives them life and forms their thought” (Homily for the Chrism Mass, April 9, 2009). May the Virgin Mary help us to live with intensity our moments of encounter with the Lord so that we can follow him every day with joy. To her we turn our gaze, invoking upon her with the prayer of the Angelus.

[After the Angelus the Pope greeted the pilgrims in various languages. In Italian, he said:]

I heard with deep sadness the tragic news of the recent killings of some Christians in the city of Mosul and I followed with much concern the other episodes of violence, perpetrated in the martyred land of Iraq, which have harmed defenseless persons of various religious affiliations. In these days of intense recollection I often prayed for all the victims of those attacks and today I would like to join myself spiritually in prayer for peace and the restoration of security promoted by the council of bishops at Nineveh. I am affectionately near to the Christians communities of the whole country. Do not weary of being a ferment for good for the homeland to which, for centuries, you have rightfully belonged!

In the delicate political phase that Iraq is passing through I call upon the civil authorities that they do everything possible to restore security to the population and, especially to the most vulnerable religious minorities. It is my wish that they do not given in to the temptation to allow the temporary and special interests prevail over the safety and the fundamental rights of every citizen. Finally, as I greet the Iraqis present here in the piazza, I exhort the international community to do its best to give the Iraqis a future of reconciliation and justice, while I ask with confidence from God almighty the precious gift of peace.

My thought goes out also to Chile and the populations affected by the earthquake, which caused numerous losses of human life and much damage. I pray for the victims and am spiritually near to the persons tried by so grave a calamity; for them I implore from God relief from suffering and courage in these adversities. I am certain that they will not lack the solidarity of many, especially of ecclesial organizations.

[Translation by Joseph G. Trabbic]

[In English he said:]

I am happy to greet all the English-speaking visitors present at today’s Angelus prayer, especially the group of priests from the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston, accompanied by His Eminence Cardinal Daniel DiNardo. On this Second Sunday of Lent the voice of our Heavenly Father instructs us to listen to Jesus, the beloved Son of God. May our Lenten journey continue to dispose our hearts to Christ and to his saving truth. Upon all of you I invoke Almighty God’s abundant blessings of strength and peace!

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On Peace, Missions and Justice

March 15, 2009

On Peace, Missions and Justice

“A Strong Effort Is Required By All”

NAPLES, Italy, OCT. 21, 2007 (Zenit.org).- Here is a translation of the address Benedict XVI delivered today after celebrating Mass in Naples, and before leading the recitation of the midday Angelus. The Pope was in Naples to open the 21st International Encounter of Peoples and Religions.

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Dear Brothers and Sisters,

At the end of this solemn celebration, I would like to renew, my dear friends of Naples, my greeting to you and my thanks for the cordial reception that you gave me. I address a particular greeting to the delegations that have come from various parts of the world to participate in the International Meeting for Peace sponsored by the Community of Sant’Egidio. The theme of this meeting is “Toward a World Without Violence: Religions and Cultures in Dialogue.” May this important cultural and religious initiative contribute to consolidating peace in the world.
Let us pray for this. But let us also pray today in a special way for missionaries. Today, in fact, we celebrate World Mission Sunday, which has a very significant motto: “All the Churches For All the World.” Every particular Church is responsible for the evangelization of all of humanity, and this cooperation among the Churches was augmented by Pope Paul VI 50 years ago with the encyclical “Fidei Donum.” Let us not fail to give our spiritual and material support to those who work on the frontlines of the missions: priests, religious and lay people, who often encounter grave difficulties in their work, and even persecutions.

Let us give these prayer intentions to Mary Most Holy, who, in the month of October we love to invoke with the title with which she is venerated at the shrine of Pompeii, not far from here: Queen of the Rosary. To her we entrust the many pilgrims who have traveled from Caserta.

May the Holy Virgin also protect those who in various ways commit themselves to the common good and the just order of society, as has been highlighted rather well during the 45th Social Week of Italian Catholics. The event is being held in these days in Pistoia and Pisa, 100 years after the first such Week, promoted above all by Giuseppe Toniolo, an illustrious figure among Christian economists.

There are many problems and challenges that we face today. A strong effort is required by all, especially lay faithful working in social and political spheres, to assure that every person, in particular the youth, be assured the indispensable conditions for developing their natural talents and cultivating the generous choices of service to their families and the entire community.



On Lazarus and World Hunger

January 25, 2009

“He Who Is Forgotten by All Is Not Forgotten by God”

CASTEL GANDOLFO, Italy, SEPT. 30, 2007 (Zenit.org).- Here is a translation of the address Benedict XVI delivered today before reciting the midday Angelus with the people gathered in the courtyard of the papal summer residence at Castel Gandolfo.

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Dear Brothers and Sister!

Today, the Gospel of Luke presents the parable of the rich man and poor Lazarus (16:19-31). The rich man embodies the unjust spending of wealth by those who use it for unbridled and egotistical luxury, thinking only of satisfying themselves, without taking care of the beggar at their door.

The poor man, on the other hand, represents the person that only God cares for, and unlike the rich man, he has a name, Lazarus, an abbreviation of Eleazar, which means “God helps him.” He who is forgotten by all is not forgotten by God; he who is worth nothing in the eyes of men, is precious in the eyes of the Lord.

The story shows how earthly injustice is overturned by divine justice: After death, Lazarus is welcomed “into Abraham’s bosom,” that is to say, into eternal beatitude, while the rich man ends up “in hell among torments.” It is a new, definitive, unappealing state. Therefore it is during this life that one must repent; doing so afterward is useless.

This parable also lends itself to a social interpretation. Paul VI’s encyclical “Populorum Progressio,” written 40 years ago, remains memorable. In speaking about the fight against hunger, he writes: “It involves building a human community where men can live truly human lives … where the needy Lazarus can sit down with the rich man at the same banquet table” (No. 47).

The cause of the numerous situations of misery are — according to the encyclical — on the one hand, “servitude to other men” and on the other, “natural forces which they cannot yet control satisfactorily” (ibid).

Unfortunately, certain peoples suffer from both of these forces. How can we not think, especially in this moment, of the countries in sub-Saharan Africa, stricken with serious flooding over these last few days?

But we cannot forget many other situations of humanitarian emergency in various regions of the planet, in which battles for political power lead to the worsening of environmental problems already weighing on the people. The appeal Paul VI gave voice to back then: “The hungry nations of the world cry out to the peoples blessed with abundance” (“Populorum Progressio,” No. 3), has the same urgency today.

We cannot say that we do not know the road to take: We have the law and the prophets, Christ tells us in the Gospel. Whoever chooses not to listen would not change even if someone came back from the dead to warn him.

May the Virgin Mary help us to take advantage of the present time to listen and to put into practice this word of God. May she make us attentive to our brothers in need, to share with them the abundance or the little that we have, and to contribute, beginning with ourselves, to the spreading of the logic and style of authentic solidarity.

[After praying the Angelus, the Holy Father addressed the pilgrims gathered at Castel Gandolfo, saying:]

I follow the serious events taking place in Myanmar with great trepidation and I wish to express my spiritual closeness to that dear people in this moment of sorrowful difficulty that they are experiencing. While guaranteeing them my intense prayer and support, I invite the entire Church to do the same and I hope that a peaceful solution can be found, for the good of the country.

I recommend the situation of the Korean peninsula to your prayers, where important developments in the dialogue between the two Koreas are a hopeful sign that the efforts of reconciliation in act can consolidate in favor of the Korean people and to benefit the stability and peace of the entire region.

I greet all the English-speaking pilgrims and visitors present at today’s Angelus, including members of the Acton Institute, and administrators and benefactors of Seton Hall University. Today’s Gospel reading reminds us to be generous with the good things we receive in life. In this spirit, may your visit to Castel Gandolfo and Rome be a time filled with thanksgiving and renewed love of the universal Church. Upon you and your families, I invoke the joy and peace of Christ the Lord!



On Nuclear Technology

October 8, 2008

“Let Us Pray That Men Live in Peace”

CASTEL GANDOLFO, Italy, JULY 29, 2007 JULY 29, 2007 (Zenit.org).- Here is a translation of the address Benedict XVI delivered today before reciting the midday Angelus in the courtyard of the papal summer residence at Castel Gandolfo.

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Dear Brothers and Sisters!

Arriving the other day from Lorenzago di Cadore, I am happy to find myself again here at Castel Gandolfo, in the familiar environment of this beautiful little town, where I plan to stay, if it pleases God, for the rest of the summer. I feel the strong desire to thank the Lord once again for having been able to spend tranquil days in the mountains of Cadore and I am grateful to all those who efficiently organized my stay there and watched over it with care. 

With equal affection I would like to greet and express my grateful sentiments to you, dear pilgrims, and above all to you, dear citizens of Castel Gandolfo, who have welcomed me with your usual cordiality and have always accompanied me with discretion during the my sojourns with you.

Last Sunday, recalling the Note published 90 years ago on August 1 by Pope Benedict XV directed at the warring countries of the First World War, I reflected on the theme of peace. Now a new occasion invites me to reflect on another important question connected to this theme. This very day, in fact, is the 50th anniversary of the establishment of the IAEA, the International Atomic Energy Agency, which was instituted with the mandate to “seek to accelerate and enlarge the contribution of atomic energy to peace, health, and prosperity throughout the world” (IAEA “Statute,” No. II). 

The Holy See, fully approving of the IAEA’s goal, has been a member since the organization’s foundation and continues to support its activity. The epochal changes of the last 50 years are evidence of how, in the difficult crossroads at which humanity finds itself, the commitment to encourage the nonproliferation of nuclear arms, to promote a progressive and agreed-upon nuclear disarmament, and to favor the peaceful and safe use of nuclear technology for authentic development — respectful of the environment and always attentive to the most disadvantaged populations — is always relevant and urgent. 

For this reason I ardently hope for the success of the efforts of those who work to pursue the three objectives with determination and the intention to make things such that “the resources which would be saved could then be employed in projects of development capable of benefiting all their people, especially the poor.” (“Message for the World Day of Peace 2006,” No. 13). 

It is well, in fact, to re-emphasize on this occasion how in the place of “the arms race there must be substituted a common effort to mobilize resources toward objectives of moral, cultural and economic development, ‘redefining the priorities and hierarchies of values'” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, No. 2438).

We again entrust to the intercession of Mary Most Holy our prayer for peace, in particular that scientific and technological knowledge be used with a sense of responsibility and for the common good, in complete respect for international law. Let us pray that men live in peace and all feel as brothers, sons of one Father: God.

[Translation by ZENIT]

[The Holy Father made the following remarks after the Angelus:]

And now a plea for the Korean hostages in Afghanistan. The practice by armed groups of manipulating innocent persons for promoting their own goals is becoming widespread.

These are grave violations of human dignity, which go against every elementary norm of civilization and rights and gravely offend the divine law. I make my plea so that the authors of such criminal acts desist from the evil done and return their victims unharmed.

[The Holy Father addressed the following words to English-speaking pilgrims:]

I extend heartfelt greetings to all the English-speaking visitors here today. In this Sunday’s Gospel, the disciples see Jesus praying, and they ask him, “Lord, teach us to pray.” So he teaches them the “Our Father”, and in this way he draws the disciples, and all of us, into his own prayer. I encourage all of you to be faithful to prayer, and so to be united with Jesus, in his intimate relationship with the Father. Upon all of you, and upon your families and loved ones at home, I invoke God’s abundant blessings.




On 3 Lessons From St. Basil

October 7, 2008

“Only If We Are Open to God Can We Build a Just World”

VATICAN CITY, AUG. 16, 2007 (Zenit.org).- Here is a Vatican translation of the address Benedict XVI delivered Aug. 1 at the general audience in Paul VI Hall. The reflection focused on St. Basil, continuing with the Pope’s last catechesis from July 4.

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Dear Brothers and Sisters,

After this three-week break, we are continuing with our Wednesday meetings. Today, I would simply like to resume my last Catechesis, whose subject was the life and writings of St Basil, a Bishop in present-day Turkey, in Asia Minor, in the fourth century A.D. The life and works of this great Saint are full of ideas for reflection and teachings that are also relevant for us today.

First of all is the reference to God’s mystery, which is still the most meaningful and vital reference for human beings. The Father is “the principal of all things and the cause of being of all that exists, the root of the living” (Hom. 15, 2 de fide: PG 31, 465c); above all, he is “the Father of Our Lord Jesus Christ” (“Anaphora Sancti Basilii”). Ascending to God through his creatures, we “become aware of his goodness and wisdom” (Basil, “Adversus Eunomium” 1, 14: PG 29, 544b).

The Son is the “image of the Father’s goodness and seal in the same form” (cf. “Anaphora Sancti Basilii”). With his obedience and his Passion, the Incarnate Word carried out his mission as Redeemer of man (cf. Basil, “In Psalmum” 48, 8; PG 29, 452ab; cf. also “De Baptismo” 1, 2: SC 357, 158).

Lastly, he spoke fully of the Holy Spirit, to whom he dedicated a whole book. He reveals to us that the Spirit enlivens the Church, fills her with his gifts and sanctifies her.

The resplendent light of the divine mystery is reflected in man, the image of God, and exalts his dignity. Looking at Christ, one fully understands human dignity.

Basil exclaims: “[Man], be mindful of your greatness, remembering the price paid for you: look at the price of your redemption and comprehend your dignity!” (“In Psalmum” 48, 8: PG 29, 452b). 
Christians in particular, conforming their lives to the Gospel, recognize that all people are brothers and sisters; that life is a stewardship of the goods received from God, which is why each one is responsible for the other, and whoever is rich must be as it were an “executor of the orders of God the Benefactor” (Hom 6 de avaritia: PG 32, 1181-1196). We must all help one another and cooperate as members of one body (Ep 203, 3).

And on this point, he used courageous, strong words in his homilies. Indeed, anyone who desires to love his neighbour as himself, in accordance with God’s commandment, “must possess no more than his neighbour” (“Hom. in divites”: PG 31, 281b).

In times of famine and disaster, the holy Bishop exhorted the faithful with passionate words “not to be more cruel than beasts … by taking over what people possess in common or by grabbing what belongs to all (“Hom. tempore famis”: PG 31, 325a).

Basil’s profound thought stands out in this evocative sentence: “All the destitute look to our hands just as we look to those of God when we are in need”.

Therefore, Gregory of Nazianzus’ praise after Basil’s death was well-deserved. He said: “Basil convinces us that since we are human beings, we must neither despise men nor offend Christ, the common Head of all, with our inhuman behaviour towards people; rather, we ourselves must benefit by learning from the misfortunes of others and must lend God our compassion, for we are in need of mercy” (Gregory Nazianzus, “Orationes” 43, 63; PG 36, 580b).

These words are very timely. We see that St Basil is truly one of the Fathers of the Church’s social doctrine.
Furthermore, Basil reminds us that to keep alive our love for God and for men, we need the Eucharist, the appropriate food for the baptized, which can nourish the new energies that derive from Baptism (cf. “De Baptismo” 1, 3: SC 357, 192).

It is a cause of immense joy to be able to take part in the Eucharist (cf. “Moralia” 21, 3: PG 31, 741a), instituted “to preserve unceasingly the memory of the One who died and rose for us” (“Moralia” 80, 22: PG 31, 869b).

The Eucharist, an immense gift of God, preserves in each one of us the memory of the baptismal seal and makes it possible to live the grace of Baptism to the full and in fidelity.

For this reason, the holy Bishop recommended frequent, even daily, Communion: “Communicating even daily, receiving the Holy Body and Blood of Christ, is good and useful; for he said clearly: “He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life’ (Jn 6: 54). So who would doubt that communicating continuously with life were not living in fullness?” (Ep. 93: PG 32, 484b).

The Eucharist, in a word, is necessary for us if we are to welcome within us true life, eternal life (cf. “Moralia” 21, 1: PG 31, 737c).

Finally, Basil was of course also concerned with that chosen portion of the People of God, the youth, society’s future. He addressed a Discourse to them on how to benefit from the pagan culture of that time.

He recognized with great balance and openness that examples of virtue can be found in classical Greek and Latin literature. Such examples of upright living can be helpful to young Christians in search of the truth and the correct way of living (cf. “Ad Adolescentes” 3).

Therefore, one must take from the texts by classical authors what is suitable and conforms with the truth: thus, with a critical and open approach — it is a question of true and proper “discernment” — young people grow in freedom.

With the famous image of bees that gather from flowers only what they need to make honey, Basil recommends: “Just as bees can take nectar from flowers, unlike other animals which limit themselves to enjoying their scent and colour, so also from these writings … one can draw some benefit for the spirit. We must use these books, following in all things the example of bees. They do not visit every flower without distinction, nor seek to remove all the nectar from the flowers on which they alight, but only draw from them what they need to make honey, and leave the rest. And if we are wise, we will take from those writings what is appropriate for us, and conform to the truth, ignoring the rest” (“Ad Adolescentes” 4).

Basil recommended above all that young people grow in virtue, in the right way of living: “While the other goods … pass from one to the other as in playing dice, virtue alone is an inalienable good and endures throughout life and after death” (“Ad Adolescentes” 5).

Dear brothers and sisters, I think one can say that this Father from long ago also speaks to us and tells us important things.

In the first place, attentive, critical and creative participation in today’s culture.

Then, social responsibility: this is an age in which, in a globalized world, even people who are physically distant are really our neighbours; therefore, friendship with Christ, the God with the human face.

And, lastly, knowledge and recognition of God the Creator, the Father of us all: only if we are open to this God, the common Father, can we build a more just and fraternal world.

[The Pope then greeted the people in several languages. In English he said:]

I greet all the English-speaking pilgrims present at today’s Audience, including groups from Iceland, Japan, Canada and the United States of America. I extend a special welcome to the musicians present and to the large group from Cherry Hill, Colorado. May the peace and joy of Our Lord Jesus Christ be with you and may God bless you all!

I greet the group of European Scouts, who with their presence this morning desire to reaffirm their membership in the Church, after renewing their scout promise which binds them to doing their duty to God and serving others generously. My thoughts also turn to all the scouts and guides in the world who are renewing their promise this very day, the centenary of the Scout movement, founded on 1 August 1907 with the first scout camp in history on Brownsea Island. I warmly hope that this educational movement, which was born from the profound insight of Lord Robert Baden Powell, will continue to bear fruit in the spiritual and civil formation of human beings in all countries in the world.

Lastly, as usual I would like to greet the young people, the sick and the newly-weds, and to express to them the wish that enlivened by Christ’s charity they will lead a life that sets an example for all. May Jesus sustain you in your hope, dear young people, in your suffering, dear sick people, and in your fruitful love, dear newly-weds. 
I impart my Blessing to you all.

[After greeting the faithful, the Holy Father said:]

At the end of the General Audience, I would like to record some good news about Iraq which has sparked an explosion of popular joy throughout the Country. I am referring to the victory of the Iraqi football team, which won the Asian Cup and for the first time has become the football champion of Asia. I was happily impressed by the enthusiasm that infected all the inhabitants, driving them out onto the streets to celebrate the event. Just as I have so often wept with the Iraqis, on this occasion I rejoice with them. This experience of joyful sharing shows a people’s desire to have a normal, quiet life. I hope that the event may help in building in Iraq a future of authentic peace with the contribution of all, in freedom and reciprocal respect. Congratulations!