Monday, February 19, 2007

Lent: Change without noise

Benedict XVI spoke this past week concerning the power of love to change this violent world. This power is akin to the power of Lenten observance itself: quiet, unobserved change in our own practice which bring our lives into closer alignment with God's love. It's a quiet, but radical revolution.

The "Christian revolution" of love is able to uproot evil and sow goodness in the world, says Benedict XVI. The Pope made that statement when addressing the thousands of people in St. Peter's Square who defied the inclement weather to attend the recitation of the Angelus.

In his address, the Holy Father reflected on Jesus' mandate: "Love your enemies," read in this Sunday's liturgy. "Christ's proposal is realistic, because it takes into account that in the world there is too much violence, too much injustice, and that this situation cannot be overcome without positing more love, more kindness," Benedict XVI said.

"This 'more' comes from God. It is the mercy of God "that has become flesh in Jesus and that alone can redress the balance of the world from evil to good, beginning from that small and decisive 'world' which is man's heart," the Pontiff added.

The Pope clarified that Christian nonviolence is not equivalent to surrendering to evil, which is a false interpretation of "turning the other cheek." "Christian nonviolence" is about "responding to evil with good, thus breaking the chain of injustice," he explained.

This is the novel "Christian revolution," a love that is not supported by "human resources but that is a gift of God," the Holy Father said. "[It] is obtained by trusting unconditionally in his merciful goodness alone."Love of one's enemy, the "core of the 'Christian revolution,'" is not based "on strategies of economic, political or media power," the Pope explained.

For Christians, nonviolence "is not mere tactical behavior but a person's way of being, the attitude of one who is convinced of God's love and power, who is not afraid to confront evil with the weapons of love and truth alone."

Benedict XVI continued: "Herein lies the novelty of the Gospel, which changes the world without making noise. Herein lies the heroism of the 'little ones,' who believe in the love of God and spread it even at the cost of life."

The Holy Father concluded his address by calling for an ever more profound conversion "to the love of Christ" and allowing oneself "to be conquered without reservations by that love, to learn to love as he loved us, to be merciful as our heavenly Father is merciful." He said: "I hope that Lent, which begins next Wednesday, will be a propitious period to witness to the Gospel of love."

as reported on Zenit.

No comments: