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Tuesday, December 6, 2016
Pope: 'evil and the irrational do not have the last word'
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¬†The difference "between human fears and the fear of God" was the focus of reflection for the Holy Father Benedict XVI prior to the recitation of the Angelus with the faithful gathered in Saint Peter's Square on Sunday. Recalling the two counsels of Jesus in Sunday's Gospel - on the one hand "not to be afraid of men" and on the other hand to "fear" God (cf. Matthew 10:26, 28) ≠ the Pope affirmed that "fear is a natural part of life" that we experience from childhood and that takes on various forms even in adulthood. In our day, as well, there is "a more profound form of fear of an existential type that sometimes overflows into anxiety: It is born from a sense of emptiness that is linked to a culture that is permeated by a widespread theoretical and practical nihilism." The Pope continued, saying that, "in the face of the ample and diversified panorama of human fears, the word of God is clear: He who 'fears' the Lord is 'not afraid.' The fear of God, which the Scriptures define as the 'beginning of true wisdom,' coincides with faith in God, with the sacred respect for his authority over life and the world... But he who fears God feels the inner security of a child in the arms of his mother. He who fears God is calm even in the midst of storms, because God, as Jesus has revealed to us, is a Father who is full of mercy and goodness... The believer, therefore, is not afraid of anything, because he knows that he is in the hands of God, he knows that evil and the irrational do not have the last word, and Christ alone is the Lord of the world and life, the Incarnate Word of God; he knows that Christ loved us to the point of sacrificing himself, dying on the cross for our salvation. The more we grow in this intimacy with God, impregnated with love, the more easily we will defeat every kind of fear." Before praying the Angelus, Benedict XVI mentioned the testimony of Saint Paul, who, "strengthened by Christ's presence and comforted by his love, did not even fear martyrdom," and he recalled the inauguration of the jubilee year that will celebrate the 2,000th anniversary of his birth. "May this great spiritual and pastoral event awaken in us, too, a renewed confidence in Jesus Christ, who calls us to announce and witness to his Gospel without being afraid of anything. I invite you, then, dear brothers and sisters, to prepare yourselves to celebrate with faith this Pauline Year, which, if it may please God, I will solemnly open next Saturday evening at 6pm in the Basilica of St. Paul Outside the Walls. After the recitation of the Angelus, Benedict XVI mentioned the capsizing of a ferry in the Philippines, in a tragic consequence of Typhoon Fengshen: "As I assure the people of these islands who have suffered from Typhoon Fengshen of my spiritual nearness, I offer a prayer to the Lord for the victims of this new tragedy at sea in which many children also seem to have been involved." He then congratulated the Congregation of Franciscan Sisters of the Cross of Lebanon for the beatification (in Beirut) of their founder, Blessed Yaaqub da Ghazir Haddad (whose name in the world was Khalil). The Pope also called upon his intercession, joined with that of the saints of Lebanon, that they may "obtain for that beloved and martyred country, which has suffered too much, progress toward a stable peace." Source: Fides
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