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Pope Benedict - On Trust in God
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"Let Us Not be Afraid of the Future, Even When it Appears Bleak"
VATICAN CITY, NOV. 19, 2007 (Zenit) - Here is a translation of the address Benedict XVI delivered Sunday before reciting the midday Angelus with several thousand people gathered in St. Peter's Square.
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Dear Brothers and Sisters!
In today's Gospel passage St. Luke re-proposes the biblical vision of history for our reflection and reports the words of Jesus that invite the disciples not to have fear but to face difficulties, misunderstandings and even persecutions with trust, persevering in faith in him.
"When you hear of wars and insurrections," the Lord says, "do not be terrified; for such things must happen first, but it will not immediately be the end" (Luke 21:9). Mindful of this admonition of the Lord, the Church has from the very beginning lived in the prayerful expectation of the Lord's return, scrutinizing the signs of the times and putting the faithful on guard against recurring messianic movements that from time to time proclaim that the end of the world is imminent.
In reality, history must follow its course, which also brings human dramas and natural calamities with it. A plan of salvation that Christ has already carried out in his incarnation, death, and resurrection develops in history. The Church continues to proclaim and realize this mystery through preaching, the celebration of the sacraments and the witness of charity.
Dear brothers and sisters, let us welcome Christ's invitation to face daily events trusting in his providential love. Let us not be afraid of the future, even when it appears bleak to us, for the God of Jesus Christ, who took up history to open it up to its transcendent fulfillment, is its alpha and omega, the beginning and the end (cf. Revelation 1:8). He guarantees that in every little but genuine act of love the meaning of the whole universe is contained, and those who do not hesitate to lose their lives for him, will find them again in fullness (cf. Matthew 16:25).
Consecrated persons, who have placed their life without reserve at the service of the kingdom of God invite us with singular effectiveness to keep this perspective alive. Among these persons I would like especially to draw attention to those who are called to contemplation in cloistered monasteries. The Church dedicates a particular day to them on Wednesday, Nov. 21, the memorial of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary in the temple. We owe much to these persons who live by what providence procures for them through the generosity of the faithful.
"As a spiritual oasis, a monastery reminds today's world of the most important, and indeed, in the end, the only decisive thing: that there is an ultimate reason why life is worth living -- God and his unfathomable love" (Address at Heiligenkreuz, Sept. 9, 2007). Faith that works in charity is the true antidote for the nihilistic mentality, which in our epoch spreads its influence further and further throughout the world.
May Mary, Mother of the Incarnate Word, accompany us on the earthly pilgrimage. We ask her to support the witness of all Christians, that it always rest on a solid and persevering faith.
[After praying the Angelus, the Holy Father greeted pilgrims in several languages. In Italian, he said:]
In recent days southern Bangladesh was struck by a terrible cyclone that injured and killed numerous people and caused grave destruction. In renewing my profound condolences to the families and the whole nation, which is so dear to me, I appeal for international solidarity, which has already moved to assist with immediate necessities. I ask that every possible effort be made to succor these sorely tried brothers.
Today there opens in Jordan the 8th meeting of the countries who signed the convention on the ban of the use, stockpiling, manufacture and transport of anti-personnel mines and on their destruction. The Holy See is among the principal promoters of the convention that was signed 10 years ago. From my heart I convey my greeting and encouragement for a good outcome to the meeting so that these explosives, which continue to generate victims -- among whom are many children -- be completely prohibited.
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This afternoon at Novara there will be beatified the venerable servant of God, Antonio Rosmini, a great figure of a priest and an illustrious man of culture, animated by fervid love for God and the Church. He bore witness to the virtue of charity in all of its dimensions and at a high level, but that for which he was mostly known was his generous commitment to what he called "intellectual charity," that is to say the reconciliation of faith and reason. May his example help the Church, especially Italian ecclesial communities, to grow in the awareness that the light of reason and that of grace, when they walk together, become a source of benediction for the human person and for society.
[In English, he said:]
I offer a warm welcome to the English-speaking visitors gathered for this Angelus prayer, including the communities of the Neocatechumenal Way from Malta. Today's Gospel urges us to be steadfast in our faith, trusting in Christ's victory and the coming of his Kingdom. May we find in prayer the strength to remain always faithful to the Lord and his Church! God bless you and your families!
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