Vatican City (AsiaNews) - May God gift to the Middle
East, "longed-for peace" and may Benedict XVI's journey to Lebanon "encourage Christians and to promote peace and brotherhood throughout the
days ahead of his departure for Beirut, Benedict XVI asks faithful to
"accompany the visit with prayer" during which he will deliver the
Post-Synodal Exhortation on the Middle East and will meet "the many
components of Lebanese society: civil and ecclesiastical leaders, the faithful Catholics
of different rites, other Christians, Muslims and Druze of this region. " I
thank the Lord for this wealth that will continue only if they live in peace
and lasting reconciliation. "
On the eve of departure, the Pope spoke of the journey both in Italian and in French, a language he will use in his speeches in the country of the cedars, at the end of the general audience. In particular, Benedict XVI urged " all Christians in the Middle East, whether native or newcomer, to be builders of peace and enactors of reconciliation. I ask God to strengthen the faith of Christians in Lebanon and the whole Middle East region, and to fill them with hope. I thank God for their presence and encourage the whole Church to be in solidarity with them, so that the Christians of the region might continue to bear witness to Christ in those blessed lands, by seeking communion in unity. " The Pope emphasized that " The history of the Middle East teaches us the important and often critical role played by the various Christian communities in interfaith and intercultural dialogue. I ask God to give this part of the world peace it so desires, in respect for legitimate differences. . God bless Lebanon and the Middle East. "
Previously, in the catechesis for the weekly audience, the Pope said that as Christians, "we can never lose hope, we know that on the path of our life we often encounter violence, falsehood, hatred, persecution, but that does not discourage us" because "we know that the victory is God's." For this reason the Church, which "lives in history, not closed in on itself, but courageously facing its journey in the midst of hardship and suffering, stating emphatically that evil ultimately does not conquer good, darkness does not obscure the glory of God. "
This perspective leads us to raise to God and Jesus, a prayer of "praise and thanksgiving": This is the lesson that Benedict proposed today to eight thousand people present for the general audience, explaining "prayer in the second part of Revelation ". It tells us that "God is not indifferent to our prayers, He intervenes, shakes and disrupts the system of the Evil One": "confronted with evil one has the impression of not being able to do anything, but it is through prayer that God rnders our weakness fruitful".
"All our prayers, despite all our limitations reach the heart of God, none of them are lost, and they are answered, even if sometimes mysteriously, because God is love and infinite mercy."
God, therefore, acts in history and St. John's prophecy offers "points of reference from which to read history." "The first symbol is the throne on which a figure sits that John does not describe, because He exceeds any human representation and he can only hint at the sense of beauty and joy he feels prostrate before Him. This mysterious character is God, God Almighty who did not remain within the confines of Heaven, but came close to man, entering into a covenant with him, so that God is heard in history, in a mysterious but real way, His voice symbolized by the thunder and lightning".
"The second symbol is the book which contains God's plan for events and men, which is sealed with seven seals, and no one is able to read it. Faced with man's inability to read God's plan, John feels a deep sadness that brings him to tears. But there is a remedy to the loss of man before the mystery of history: someone is able to open the book and to enlighten him. And here the third symbol: Christ, 'Lamb slain in the sacrifice of the Cross, but who is standing as a sign of His resurrection. And it is the Lamb, Christ Crucified and Risen, who gradually opens the seals and reveals the plan of God, the profound meaning of history " .
Benedict XVI explains the symbols and what they say: "They remind us of the path to enable us to read the facts of history and of our own lives. Raising our eyes to God's Heaven, in a constant relationship with Christ, opening our hearts and our minds to Him in personal and community prayer, we learn to see things in a new way and to grasp their truest sense. Prayer is like a window that allows us to keep our gaze on God, not only to remind us if the goal towards which we are headed, but also to let the will of God illuminate our earthly journey and help us to live with intensity and commitment. "