Vatican City (AsiaNews) – Benedict XVI launched a special appeal to the international community today that it come to the aid of Bangladesh devastated by cyclone Sidr. The cyclone has left over 2 thousand people dead and hundreds of thousands more without shelter or food. At the end of the Angelus prayer together with the faithful gathered in St Peter’s square the Pope expressed his “deepest sympathy” for the victim’s family as well as the entire nation. He also appealed to the international community to “take every necessary step to aid these our brothers who have been sorely tried”.
Reflections before the Angelus prayer instead were inspired by today’s Gospel passage which speaks of the end of the world, tied to human conflict and calamities. Benedict XVI repurposed the words of Christ “who invites the disciples not to be afraid, but to face the difficulties misunderstandings and even persecutions, trusting in the faith in Him”.
Compared to the “many who claim that the end of the world is near”, the Church “waits in the living word for the return of the Lord” and looks upon the reality of history: “In it the pattern of Our Lord’s salvation is developed, a salvation that has already come to pass in His incarnation death and resurrection. The Church continues to announce this mystery through preaching, the celebration of the sacrament and charity”.
This Pope urged that we take up “Christ’s invitation to face daily events trusting in his divine providence. We must not fear the future even though it may at times appear overshadowed, because the God of Christ, who took history upon himself opening it to transcendence is alpha and omega, the beginning and the end. (Ap 1,8). He guarantees us that every minute but genuine act of love contains the sense of the universe, and that those who do not hesitate to lay down their lives for Him, will find it( Mt 16,25)”.
“Faith lived in charity – said the pope – is the true antidote to that nihilistic mentality which is spreading throughout our world today”.
Benedict XVI said an example of this “prayerful waiting” and “faith lived in charity” is to be found in the cloistered and monastic life. Recalling that November 21 – feast of our Lady’s presentation – the Church dedicates a special day to those who dedicate their lives to contemplation in cloistered life and added “we owe a lot to these people who survive on what providence provides them through the generosity of the faithful. The monastery , “a spiritual oasis, reminds today’s world of the most important, and indeed, in the end, the only decisive thing: that there is an ultimate reason why life is worth living: God and his unfathomable love” (Heiligenkreuz, 9 September 2007)”.
Before giving his final greeting to the tens of thousand of pilgrims drawn to the square Benedict XVI recalled two further events: the 8th Meeting of States, Parties to the Mine Ban Treaty, against the stock-piling, production and transporting of landmines which opens today in Jordan. The pope underlined that “the Holy See adopted the treaty over 10 years ago and is a staunch supporter of the treaty. Therefore it is my heartfelt wish that the conference is a success so that these explosives which continue to sever human lives, many of those of children, may be completely outlawed”.
The other important event was today’ beatification in Novara of Antonio Rosmini, “a great priest an illustrious man of culture, animated by Love for God and the Church”. Among the great philosophers of the ‘800, Rosmini tried to draw the Catholic faith closer to the modern world and often as a result suffered misunderstandings and marginalization on the part of ecclesiastical institutions. In recalling the figure of the newly blessed Benedict XVI recalled: “He witnessed the virtues of charity in all of its forms and at a very high level, but what made him famous was his commitment to what he called ‘intellectual charity’ in short reconciliation of faith and reason. His example helped the Church, particularly the Italian Church to grow in awareness that when the light of human reason and the light of Grace walk hand in hand then they become a source of blessing for humanity and society”.