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Pope Benedict XVI: The Eclipse of God Leads to a Loss of the Sense of Sin

Just as when the sun is hidden the shadows disappear and the shadows appear only if the sun is there, so too the eclipse of God necessarily brings the eclipse of sin.

In substance it is a matter of following Jesus who turns decisively toward the cross, the culmination of this mission of salvation. If we ask: Why Lent? Why the cross? The answer, in radical terms, is this: because evil exists, or rather, sin, which according to Scripture is the deepest cause of every evil.

Pope Benedict XVI giving an Angelus message

Pope Benedict XVI giving an Angelus message


VATICAN CITY (Catholic Online) - On Sunday, March 13, 2011, the First Sunday of Lent, Pope Benedict XVI delivered his Angelus message to the faithful. We present for our readers the message in its entirety. We also ask for prayers for the Holy Father and his co-workers in the Roman Curia who began their Lenten retreat Sunday evening:

*****

The Eclipse of God Leads to a Loss of the Sense of Sin

Dear brothers and sisters!

This is the first Sunday of Lent, the 40-day liturgical season in which the Church prepares spiritually for Easter. In substance it is a matter of following Jesus who turns decisively toward the cross, the culmination of this mission of salvation. If we ask: Why Lent? Why the cross? The answer, in radical terms, is this: because evil exists, or rather, sin, which according to Scripture is the deepest cause of every evil.

But this statement is not at all uncontroversial, and the word "sin" is not accepted by many, for it presupposes a religious vision of the world and of man. In effect this is correct: If we eliminate God from the horizon of the world, we cannot speak of sin. Just as when the sun is hidden the shadows disappear and the shadows appear only if the sun is there, so too the eclipse of God necessarily brings the eclipse of sin.

Thus the meaning of sin -- which is a different thing from "guilt feelings" as these are understood in psychology -- is only grasped in discovering the meaning of God. The "Miserere" Psalm, attributed to David in the context of his twofold sin of adultery and homicide: "Against you," David says, turning to God, "against you alone I have sinned" (Psalm 51:6).

God's response to moral evil is to oppose sin and save the sinner. God does not tolerate evil because he is Love, Justice, Fidelity; and it is precisely because of this that he does not wish the death of the sinner, but desires that the sinner covert and live. God intervenes to save humanity: We see this in the whole history of the Jewish people, beginning with their liberation from Egypt. God is determined to deliver his children from slavery to lead them to freedom. And the worst and most profound slavery is that of sin. This is why God sent his Son into the world: to free men from the rule of Satan, "origin and cause of every sin."

He sent him in our mortal flesh so that he might become the sacrifice of expiation, dying for us upon the cross. The Devil sets himself with all of his forces against this plan of definitive and universal salvation, which is shown in particular by the Gospel of Jesus' temptations in the desert proclaimed every year on the first Sunday of Lent. In fact, entering into this liturgical season always means siding with Christ against sin, doing spiritual battle -- as an individual and as the Church -- against the evil spirit (collect prayer for Ash Wednesday).

We thus invoke the help of Mary Most Holy for the Lenten journey just begun so that it be rich with the fruit of conversion. I ask a special remembrance in prayer for me and my co-workers in the Roman Curia. This evening we will start a week-long retreat.

---


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'


2014 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for October 2014
Peace:
That the Lord may grant peace to those parts of the world most battered by war and violence.
World Mission Day: That World Mission Day may rekindle in every believer zeal for carrying the Gospel into all the world.

Keywords: Sin, evil, Lent, penance, repentance, Pope Benedict XVI



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1 - 9 of 9 Comments

  1. raymond
    7 months ago

    God is merciful.. He dwell on us in order for us to save from the sin that we are bounded.

  2. Diane
    3 years ago

    "God does not tolerate evil because He is Love, etc." How true and well said and so needed at this present time. God hates sin and so should we. One look at the crucifix and you can see what the outcome of all sin is. Pain, torture, suffering and death. Even little children suffer because of the sins of others. Let's not be one of those others. "Let it begin with me." With the help of Gods grace, available to us because of Christs victory over sin, we can overcome it in our own lives too. What hope! Christ will give us Peace too. We are living in an ocean of hope and mercy. What we can't do for ourselves God will do for us if we are only willing to let Him. Do what your'e able and leave the rest to God.

  3. Monika
    3 years ago

    I love this article! It tells us how God does not give up on us. He wants to free us from the slavery of sin and lead us to true freedom. Unfortunately the meaning of sin has been twisted according to peoples desires and ideologies. It seems sins no longer cast a shadow because we now have this big gray area of whatever feels right to me is right for me - my freedom, my individuality. This so called freedom however is short lived, because the only truth is Jesus Christ the only son of God. What Jesus said was true then and is true now and always will be. God never changes, people do.

  4. Andy Holland
    3 years ago

    "I alone have sinned, and done that which is evil in thy sight" is from Psalm 51
    "And the LORD God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him." How beautiful the double meaning, Christ is our helper and redeemer. God creates all things and says what is good, and does not remark of the darkness, but at the crucial moment he judges the aloneness of man as being "not good." And Adam leaving Eve alone in the garden is original sin - the break of the Universal - of Catholicity. "This is why God sent his Son into the world: to free men from the rule of Satan, 'origin and cause of every sin.'"

  5. andrew
    3 years ago

    Troy is right.

  6. Helen Reilly
    3 years ago

    Whether or not Benedict actually wrote the message himself, he gave it. Hence, presumably what it says is consistent with his own view. I'm quite sure he wouldn't give a message that doesn't represent his thinking.

  7. Troy
    3 years ago

    It was not written by Pope Benedict XVI. It was his Angelus message that he spoke to the faithful. See the picture and the caption of the picture.

  8. No Way
    3 years ago

    Daniel, something tells me that a lot of his writings aren't his. I'm sure like any head of state, he has speech writers and such to make sure that "safe" things are said and do not contradict themselves. I respect him as a man although I am not Catholic, I respect any wisdom from anywhere but one thing I wish he would do is speak in more normal terms...not so much poetry and fluffy language. Most of the faithful need to the encouragement to relate to everyday life and everyday problems.

  9. Daniel
    3 years ago

    This was written by Pope Benedict XVI? It does not sound or look like his style of writing.

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