10 October, 2015 AsiaNews.it Twitter AsiaNews.it Facebook            

Help AsiaNews | About us | P.I.M.E. | | RssNewsletter | Mobile

mediazioni e arbitrati, risoluzione alternativa delle controversie e servizi di mediazione e arbitrato

e-mail this to a friend printable version

» 02/06/2008
Pope: Lent,"an occasion to make our hope more vibrant and firm"
Nothing nourishes hope better than prayer, "the engine of the world", "because nothing expresses the reality of God in our lives better than prayer with faith". But suffering also moves in the same direction, because it opens the way to participating in the consolation of God.

Rome (AsiaNews) - Prayer, "the engine of the world" and the first weapon for winning the battle against evil, together with penance and fasting, characterise the period of Lent, which is "a providential occasion for making our hope more vibrant and firm".  This is also accomplished through suffering, which opens the way to participating in the consolation of God.

Centred around hope, the object of his second encyclical, Benedict XVI  observed the "Lenten station" of Ash Wednesday this afternoon with a celebration in the ancient Roman basilica of Santa Sabina.  It was a long celebration that began not far away in the evocative Church of Saint Anselm on the Aventine hill, on a dazzling afternoon.  From here, after a moment of prayer, the penitential procession got underway, with the participation of cardinals, bishops, priests, and faithful, in addition to the Benedictine monks of Saint Anselm and the Dominicans of Santa Sabina.  During the celebration in the latter church, the pope received the ashes from Cardinal Joseph Tomko, the head of the basilica. 

Prayer, in the words of the pope, "nourishes hope, because nothing expresses the reality of God in our lives better than prayer with faith.  Even in the solitude of the harshest trials, nothing and no one can prevent me from turning to the Father 'in the secret' of my heart, where He alone 'sees', as Jesus says in the Gospel (cf. Mt. 6:4,6,18)".

"Prayer," Benedict XVI continued, "is a crucible in which our expectations and aspirations are exposed to the light of the Word of God, are immersed in dialogue with the One who is truth, and are freed from hidden deceptions and compromises with various forms of egoism (cf. Spe Salvi, 33).  Without the dimension of prayer, the human ego would end up closing in upon itself, and the conscience, which should be the echo of the voice of God, is in danger of being reduced to the reflection of the ego, such that the interior dialogue would become a monologue, giving rise to thousands of self-justifications.  Prayer is thus a guarantee of openness to others, and frees one for God and his demands, opening one at the same time to others, to the brother who knocks at the door of one's heart and asks for listening, attention, forgiveness, sometimes for correction, but always in fraternal charity.  True prayer is never egocentric, but is always centred upon the other.  As such, it trains the one who prays in the "ecstasy" of charity, in the capacity to come out from oneself in order to become neighbour to the other in humble and disinterested service.  True prayer is the engine of the world, because it keeps it open to God.  For this reason, without prayer there is no hope, only illusion.  It is not, in fact, the presence of God that alienates man, but his absence: without the true God, the Father of the Lord Jesus Christ, hopes become illusions that induce one to hide from reality.  To speak with God, to remain in his presence allows us to be enlightened and purified by his Word, it introduces us into the heart of reality, into the deep engine of cosmic transformation; it introduces us, so to speak, into the pulsing heart of the universe". 

"In harmonic connection with prayer", the pope continued, "fasting and almsgiving can also be considered places where Christian hope is learned and exercised".  "Thanks to the joint action of prayer, fasting, and almsgiving, Lent in its entirety forms Christians to become men and women of hope, following the example of the saints". 

The last topic that Benedict XVI addressed was that of suffering, "because, as I wrote in the encyclical Spe Salvi, 'The true measure of humanity is essentially determined in relationship to suffering and to the sufferer' (Spe Salvi, 38). Easter, toward which Lent is ordered, is the mystery that gives meaning to human suffering, beginning from the overabundance of God's com-passion, realised in Jesus Christ.  The journey of Lent, therefore, being completely suffused with the light of Easter, makes us to relive what happened in the divine-human heart of Jesus while he went up to Jerusalem for the last time, to offer himself an expiation (cf. Isaiah 53:10).  Suffering and death fell like the darkness as He gradually drew near to the cross, but the light of love was also aflame.  The suffering of Christ is, in effect, entirely permeated by the light of love (cf. Spe Salvi, 38): the love of the Father who permits his Son to proceed with trust toward his last 'baptism', as He himself defines the culmination of his mission (cf. Luke 12:50).  Jesus received that baptism of suffering and love for us, for all of humanity.  He suffered for truth and justice, bringing into human history the Gospel of suffering, which is the other side of the Gospel of love.  God cannot suffer, but he can and wants to suffer-with.  From the passion of Christ, all human suffering can receive con-solatio, 'the consolation of God's compassionate love - and so the star of hope rises' (Spe Salvi, 39)".

e-mail this to a friend printable version

See also
03/01/2006 VATICAN
The Pope: Lent is a time to oppose goodness to evil, the truth to lies and love to hatred
02/25/2009 VATICAN
Pope: Lent, time of listening to the Word, austere life, conversion and charity
02/21/2007 VATICAN
Ash Wednesday: charity, prayer and penance as ‘weapons’ against evil, says Pope
03/09/2011 VATICAN
Pope: Lent, fasting means abstaining from evil and living the Gospel
02/17/2010 VATICAN
Personal and communal conversion, only path to build fairer societies, Pope says

Editor's choices
Pope: In “extremely difficult social and marital context”, Church called to carry out mission in fidelity, truth and charity.The opening Mass of the Synod on "The vocation and mission of the family in the Church and in the contemporary world," Pope Francis speaks of the paradoxes of global society: "power" accompanied by loneliness and helplessness." Today's man "ridicules" the family and love, but thirsts for it. The Church bears witness to indissoluble love, but must not forget to care and sustain "the man who falls or who errs." "A Church with closed doors betrays itself and its mission, and instead of being a bridge it becomes a barrier."
Singapore, Japan and Hong Kong in the top ten of the world economyWorld Economic Forum on competitiveness ranking published. Top three unchanged since last year: Switzerland, Singapore and the United States. Japan sixth, followed by Hong Kong. The world economy is slowing down compared to the previous decade, only exception- addition to China - India, which gains 16 positions.
Pope in the US: “We Christians, the Lord’s disciples, ask the families of the world to help us”In the last Mass of the World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia, Francis Pope highlights the daily "little gestures" that define the family, which is “the right place for faith to become life, and life to become faith". Gratitude, respect, and collaboration with families in which the Spirit operates can be found in every “family, people, region, or religion”.


Copyright © 2003 AsiaNews C.F. 00889190153 All rights reserved. Content on this site is made available for personal, non-commercial use only. You may not reproduce, republish, sell or otherwise distribute the content or any modified or altered versions of it without the express written permission of the editor. Photos on AsiaNews.it are largely taken from the internet and thus considered to be in the public domain. Anyone contrary to their publication need only contact the editorial office which will immediately proceed to remove the photos.