12/2/2008 (6 years ago)
Zenit News Agency (www.zenit.org)
The message of St. Lawrence's life is holiness, which gives witness to "man's constant tension toward God."
ROME (Zenit) - The message of St. Lawrence's life is holiness, which gives witness to "man's constant tension toward God" through history, and inspires our Advent preparation, says Benedict XVI.
The Pope affirmed this in his homily Sunday at the Roman Basilica of St. Lawrence Outside the Walls, at the closing liturgy of the jubilee year commemorating the 1750th anniversary of the Spanish deacon and martyr.
"In this beginning of Advent, what better message to receive from St. Lawrence than that of holiness?" asked the Holy Father. The spiritual message of Advent, he said, "points us already to the Lord's glorious coming at the end of history."
"Celebrating the Eucharist," continued the Pontiff, "we proclaim in fact that he has not withdrawn from the world and has not left us alone and, though we cannot see or touch him, as is the case with material and sensible realities, he is with all of us and among us; what is more, he is in us, because in this way he can attract to himself and communicate his life to every believer who opens his heart to him."
Thus, Advent recalls the Lord's first coming, his final return, and his presence among us now in the life of the Church, he said. "This awareness, dear brothers and sisters, nourished by listening to the Word of God, should help us to see the world with different eyes, to interpret the different events of life and history as words that God addresses to us, as signs of his love that assure us of his closeness in every situation."
He added that as a preparation for the Lord's final coming in glory, Advent becomes a "time of waiting and hope, a privileged time of listening and reflection, allowing ourselves to be guided by the liturgy."
Remembering the invocation of the early Christian community, "Come Lord Jesus," Benedict XVI exhorted his audience to make it "also our constant aspiration, the aspiration of the Church of every age, which longs and prepares for the encounter with its Lord."
The Holy Father recalled the first reading from Isaiah, with the image of "a tender and merciful Father, who takes care of us in every circumstance because we are the work of his hands." This Father took the initiative to send his son to redeem us, added the Pontiff. "Before so great a mystery of love, may our gratitude rise spontaneously and our invocation be more confident."
Turning his focus to St. Lawrence, the Pope commented: "His solicitude for the poor, his generous service to the Church in the area of social welfare and charity, his fidelity to the pope, which led him to want to follow him to the supreme test of martyrdom and the heroic testimony of his blood, spilt a few days later."
"He repeats to us that holiness," affirmed Benedict XVI, "namely, going out to meet Christ who comes continually to visit us, does not go out of fashion, on the contrary, with the passing of time it shines in a luminous way and manifests man's constant tension toward God."
The Holy Father encouraged his listeners to make "a constant commitment to evangelization through charity. May Lawrence, heroic witness of Christ crucified and risen, be for each one an example of docile adherence to the divine will so that, as we have heard the Apostle Paul remind the Corinthians, we also live in such a way as to be found 'irreproachable' in the day of the Lord."
Concluding with a reflection on Sunday's Gospel, he focused on Christ's command to "watch." "To watch," explained the Pontiff, "means to follow the Lord, to choose what he has chosen, to love what he has loved, to conform one's own life to his; to watch means to spend every moment of our time on the horizon of his love without letting ourselves be overcome by the inevitable daily difficulties and problems. So did St. Lawrence, so must we; and we ask the Lord to give us his grace so that Advent will stimulate all of us to walk in that direction."
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