02/27/2011, 00.00
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Faith in providence is not fatalism, does not exempt from commitment, says Pope

“We cannot serve two masters, God and wealth.” Putting the search for the Kingdom of God in first place should lead to an existence based on “a simpler and more sober lifestyle, the hard work of every day and respect for creation, which God put into our care.”

Vatican City (AsiaNews) – Those who believe in God should trust Providence and put the search for his will in first place, ahead of the desire for material goods. Yet, this is not “fatalism”. Although it “does not exempt from the hard struggle for a dignified life”, it should lead to an existence based on “a simpler and more sober lifestyle, the hard work of every day and respect for creation, which God put into our care”.

Pope Benedict XVI offered this lesson to the 30,000 people gathered in Saint Peter’s Square for the Angelus, as he commented a passage from the Gospel of Matthew in which Jesus urged his disciples to trust the providence of the heavenly Father, who feeds the birds in the skies, and dresses the lilies in the fields, and knows our needs.  

“Given the situation of many people, near and far, living in poverty, a remark like this by Jesus appears to be unrealistic, if not oblique,” the Pope said. “In reality, the Lord wants us to understand clearly that we cannot serve two masters, God and wealth. Those who believe in God, a Father full of love for his children, must put the search for his Kingdom and his will in first place. This is the opposite of fatalism and naïve irenism. Faith in providence does not exempt from the hard struggle for a dignified life. Instead, it frees from the concern for things and fear of tomorrow.”

“It is clear that a teaching like this from Jesus, whilst always true and valid for everyone, is practiced in different ways according to various vocations of people. A Franciscan friar might be able to follow it in a more radical way, whilst a family man would take into account his duties towards his wife and children. In any event, Christians are recognisable by their absolute trust in the heavenly Father, as did Jesus. It is the relationship with the God Father that gives meaning to Christ’s life as a whole, to his words and acts of salvation, until he underwent his passion, death and resurrection. Jesus showed what it means to live with one’s feet on the ground, attentive to our neighbours’ concrete situation, whilst at the same time holding our heart in Heaven, immersed in God’s mercy.”

“In light of God’s word on this Sunday, I invite you to call on the Virgin Mary using the title of Mother of Divine Providence,” Benedict XVI said by way of conclusion. “To her, we trust our life, the Church’s journey and the events of history. In particular, we call for her intercession so that we may learn to live according to a simpler and more sober style, the hard work of every day and respect for creation, which God put into our care.”

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