Thursday, July 09, 2009

Listen to Papa

"In fact, all the world came to Joseph to obtain rations of grain, for famine had gripped the whole world." - Genesis 41 Pope Benedict's new encyclical letter, Caritas in Veritate (Love in Truth), which was recently released, the G8 Summit, and the Old Testament story of Joseph have formed a triple play that has me dazzled by God's Providence. Popes often put forth encyclical or "circular" letters to the world, addressed most often to the faithful in the Church, and to "all men and women of good will." Essentially, they are like snapshots of the current state of affairs, seen through the eyes of Mother Church, intended to advise, instruct, comfort, and challenge Her kids to stay on the right path as we make our way through the world. The real gift of these letters is that they are soaked in God's Word (revelation, faith) and in the human experience (the social sciences, reason). The ink flows from the Church's unprecedented 2000 year old memory and experience. These letters are like pure gold. But, I must say, this gold lies too often in a treasure chest at the bottom of the sea of history, just waiting to be discovered. In light of the economic crisis recently gripping the world, we've all been given a healthy reminder of the fragility and transitory taste of earthly goods. Mother Teresa once put forth the idea that America, big, bold, and bright America, might in fact be an impoverished nation. Not of course in the material sense, but spiritually. We've lost our greatest treasure: each other. The beauty and dignity of the human person! "Man is not a lost atom in a random universe: he is God's creature, whom God chose to endow with an immortal soul and whom he has always loved." - Caritas in Veritate, Pope Benedict XVI At the recent Group of Eight meeting, the leaders of the world's most industrialized nations gathered in Italy, to consider the future, to make decisions of incredible magnitude that will ultimately affect all of humanity. I pray that our leaders will pay heed to the words just penned by Papa Benedict. He wrote them with the greatest care and tenderness, with eyes that have carefully and prayerfully watched God's children fumble and falter through many recent sorrows and sufferings (many of which have fallen on us because of our own greed and short-sightedness). Finally, the relevance of the story of Joseph in the Old Testament. The world is hungry, and the world is seeking nourishment. Joseph has been put in charge of the world's grain. Joseph Ratzinger has been appointed the Chief Steward of God's Church on earth. Pope Benedict is offering us all food that will truly fill us, if we but have the humility to come to the Church and ask for this bread. Will the world's leaders read his words? I pray they do, for the charity and truth they reveal is exactly what we need in this time of great famine. "God is the guarantor of man's true development, inasmuch as, having created him in his image, he also establishes the transcendent dignity of men and women and feeds their innate yearning to "be more"." - Pope Benedict XVI
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