07/24/2011, 00.00
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Norway attack, abandon forever the ways of hatred and evil, pope says

As he evoked the example of King Solomon, Benedict XVI stressed during the Angelus the need to distinguish good from evil. Those who hold political office especially need God’s help.
Castel Gandolfo (AsiaNews) – The Pope today expressed his “deep sorrow” for the victims of the Norway attack, urging the faithful to pray for all those affected by the tragedy. He also renewed his “sad appeal to abandon forever the path of hatred and flee from the rationale of evil.” Benedict XVI, who yesterday had expressed in a message to King Harald V his solidarity for the victims of an act of “senseless violence”, today after the Angelus shared again the sorrow of that nation.

Before the Marian prayer, inspired by the figure of King Solomon as presented in today’s liturgy, the Holy Father urged the 4,000 people present in the courtyard of the Apostolic Palace in Castel Gandolfo to follow the moral conscience, which teaches to distinguish between good and evil and avoid the latter.

Solomon, the Pope said, “prayed to God to give him a ‘meek heart’. What does this expression mean? We know that ‘heart’ in the Bible does not only indicate a part of the body, but also the centre of the person, the seat of his intentions and judgements. We might say that it holds human conscience. ‘Meek heart’ then means the conscience that knows how to listen, that is sensitive to the voice of truth, and for this can distinguish between good and evil. In Solomon’s case, the request was motivated by the duty of leading a nation, Israel, the people God chose to manifest to the world his plans of salvation. The King of Israel therefore had to try to be always in tune with God, listening to His Word, in order to lead the people on the ways of the Lord as well as on the path of justice and peace,”

“But, Solomon’s example applies to every man,” the pope noted. “Each one of us has a conscience and in a certain way is also ‘king’. This means we can exercise the great human dignity of acting according to the right conscience doing good and avoiding evil. The moral conscience presupposes a capacity to listen to the voice of truth, and to be meek towards its indications. People called to political office naturally have more responsibilities, and thus, as Solomon teaches, need God’s help even more.”

“But each one of us has his own duty to perform in our respective circumstances. A wrong mindset tells us to ask God for favours, be they things or conditions. In reality, the true quality of our own life and that of society depends on man’s right conscience, on everyone’s capacity to recognise good, separating it from evil, and patiently try to implement it.”

“For this, we call for the help of the Virgin Mary, Seat of knowledge,” Benedict XVI concluded. “Her ‘heart’ was perfectly ‘meek’ to the will of the Lord. Even though she was a humble and simple person, Mary was a queen in God’s eyes, and as such, we venerate her. May the Holy Virgin help us to develop, with God’s grace, a conscience that is always open to the truth and sensitive to justice, to serve the Kingdom of God.”
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