Pavens fasterefleksjoner

Before the Mystery of God

First Reflections of Papal Spiritual Exercises

Love Is the Only Certainty

"These days of Exercises are a propitious time to sing our gratitude to the Lord, because 'his mercy is everlasting.' 'He lifts the indigent from the dust and the poor from the dung heap so that he may sit among the princes of his people.' We have not been chosen because of our merits, but only by his mercy. 'I have loved you with an everlasting love, says the Lord.' This is our security. This is our pride: awareness of being called and chosen for love," Archbishop Nguyên Van Thuân said.

Sinners and Prostitutes among Christ's Ancestors

In addressing the complex problem of sin and grace, Archbishop Nguyên Van Thuân explained that "If we consider the names of the kings present in the book of the genealogy of Jesus, we can see that only two of them were faithful to God: Hezekiah and Jeroboam. The rest were idolaters, immoral, murderers... In David, the most famous king of the Messiah's ancestors, sanctity and sin were mixed: with bitter tears he confessed his sins of adultery and murder in the psalms, especially Psalm 51 (50), which is now a penitential prayer repeated in the Liturgy of the Church. The women Matthew mentions at the beginning of the Gospel, as mothers who transmit life and God's blessing in their womb, also cause commotion. All were in an irregular situation: Tamar is a sinner, Rahab a prostitute, Ruth a foreigner, the fourth woman he does not dare to mention by name. He only says that she had been the 'wife of Uriah' -- it was Bathsheba."

Sin Exalts the Mercy of God

"And yet, the river of history, full of sins and crimes, becomes a source of pure water to the degree we get closer to the fullness of time: In Mary, the Mother, and Jesus, the Messiah, all generations are saved. This list of sinful men and women that Matthew discloses in Jesus' genealogy does not scandalize us. It exalts the mystery of the mercy of God. Moreover, in the New Testament, Jesus chose Peter, who denied him, and Paul, who persecuted him. Nonetheless, they are now the pillars of the Church. When a people writes their official history, they speak of victories, heroes, and greatness. It is marvelous to see a people, whose official history, does not hide the sins of its ancestors," as is the case of the Chosen People, continued the points for meditation.

Hope Today

Awareness of the fragility of man and, above all, of God's love are two important guarantees of hope. Archbishop Nguyên Van Thuân acknowledged that "the whole of the Old Testament is directed toward hope: God is coming to restore his Kingdom, God is coming to re-establish the Covenant. God is coming to construct a new people, to build a new Jerusalem, to erect a new temple, to recreate the world. With the incarnation, this Kingdom arrived. But Jesus tells us that this Kingdom grows slowly, in a hidden way, like the mustard seed... Between the fullness of time and the end of times, the Church is on the road as the people of hope."

"Today, hope is perhaps the greatest challenge. Charles Peguy used to say: 'The faith I most like is hope.' Yes, because in hope, faith that operates through charity opens new paths in the heart of men, it tends to the realization of the new world, of the civilization love, that is nothing other than to lead the world to the divine life of the Trinity, in its way of being and operating, exactly as manifested in Christ and transmitted in the Gospel. This is our vocation. Today, as in the times of the Old and New Testament, he acts in the poor of spirit, in the humble, in sinners who convert to him with all their heart."

After the Archbishop gave these points of meditation, the Pope and members of the Curia participating in the exercizes had time for private prayer over the themes presented. Each day for the next week, the Pope will have four such meditations.

Forrige Innhold Neste

av Webmaster publisert 31.03.2006, sist endret 31.03.2006 - 18:18