the Spirit.For the Spirit scrutinizes everything, even the depths of God"(2:9-10). And St. John Chrysostom, in a famous comment on the beginning of the Letter to the Ephesians, invites us to enjoy all the beauty of this "benevolent plan" of God revealed in Christ, and St. John Chrysostom says:
"What are you lacking? You have become immortal, you have become free, you have become a child, you have become righteous, you are a brother, you have become a joint heir, to reign with Christ, with Christ you are glorified. Everything is given to us, and - as it is written - "how will he not also give us everything else along with him?" (Rom 8:32). Your firstfruits (cf. 1 Cor 15,20.23) is adored by angels [...]: what do you miss? "(PG 62.11). This communion in Christ through the Holy Spirit, offered by God to all men with the light of Revelation, is not something that overlaps with our humanity, but it is the fulfilment of the deepest human longings, of the desire for infinity and fullness that dwells in the depths of the human being, and opens it up not to a temporary and limited happiness, but eternal. St. Bonaventure, referring to God who reveals Himself and speaks to us through Scripture to lead us to Him, says this:
"Sacred Scripture is [...] the book in which the words of eternal life are written so that not only we believe, but may also possess eternal life, in which we shall see, we shall love and all our wishes shall be realized "(Breviloquium, Ext., Opera Omnia V, 201S.). And finally, Blessed Pope John Paul II recalled also that - and I quote - " Revelation has set within history a point of reference which cannot be ignored if the mystery of human life is to be known. Yet this knowledge refers back constantly to the mystery of God which the human mind cannot exhaust but can only receive and embrace in faith "(Encyclical Fides et Ratio, 14).
In this perspective, what is then, the act of faith? It is man's response to God's Revelation, which is made known, which shows His loving plan for humanity, and is, to use an expression of St. Augustine, allowing ourselves be grasped by the truth that is God, a truth that is love . This is why St. Paul emphasizes that we owe God, who has revealed His mystery, "obedience of faith" (Rom 16:26; see 1.5, 2 Cor 10: 5-6), the attitude with which man commits his whole self freely to God, offering the full submission of intellect and will to God who reveals, and freely assenting to the truth revealed by Him" (Dei Verbum, 5).
Obedience is not an act of coercion, it is letting go, surrendering to the ocean of God's goodness All this leads to a fundamental change in the way we deal with the whole of reality, everything appears in a new light, it is therefore a true "conversion," faith is a "change of mentality" because the God who has revealed Himself in Christ, and has made known His plan, seizes us, draws us to Himself, becomes the meaning that supports life, the rock on which it can find stability. In the Old Testament we find an intense expression on faith, which God entrusts the prophet Isaiah to communicate to the king of Judah, Ahaz.
God says: "Unless your faith is firm you shall not be firm" (Is 7.9 b). There is therefore a link between being and understanding that expresses how faith is a welcoming into our lives God's vision of reality, letting God guide us through His Word and Sacraments to understand what we must do, the path we must take, how to live. At the same time, however, it is precisely understanding according to God, seeing with His eyes that makes our lives more solid, which allows us to "stand", not to fall.
Dear friends, Advent, the liturgical season that we have just begun and that prepares us for Christmas, places us before a the luminous mystery of the coming of the Son of God, the great "Benevolent Plan" with which he wants to draw us to Himself, to help us live in full communion of joy and peace with Him Advent invites us once again, in the midst of many difficulties, to renew our awareness that God is present: He came into the world, becoming a man like us, to bring His plan of love to fullness. And God demands that we become a sign of his action in the world. Through our faith, our hope, our love, He wants to enter the world again and again He wants to shine His light in our night. Thank you.
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Pope Benedict XVI's Prayer Intentions for January 2013
General Intention: The Faith of Christians. That in this Year of Faith Christians may deepen their knowledge of the mystery of Christ and witness joyfully to the gift of faith in him.
Missionary Intention: Middle Eastern Christians. That the Christian communities of the Middle East, often discriminated against, may receive from the Holy Spirit the strength of fidelity and perseverance.
Keywords: benevolent plan, Advent, Wednesday catechesis, Pope Benedict XVI
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