For In This Hope, We Were Saved

March 6, 2017 at 9:40 am Leave a comment

GENERAL AUDIENCE: ‘For In This Hope, We Were Saved’

‘The Spirit sees for us beyond the negative appearances of the present and already now reveals to us the new heavens and the new earth that the Lord is preparing for humanity’

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The Holy Father’s Catechesis

Dear Brothers and Sisters, good morning!

We are often tempted to think that Creation is our property, a possession that we can exploit to our pleasure and to which we must render account to no one. In the passage of the Letter to the Romans (8:19-27), of which we just heard a part, the Apostle Paul reminds us, instead, that Creation is a wonderful gift that God has put in our hands, so that we can enter in relationship with Him and recognize  the sign of His design of love, to whose realization we are all called to collaborate, day after day.

However, when the human being lets himself be gripped by egoism, he ends up by ruining even the most beautiful things that were entrusted to him. And so it has happened also with Creation. We think of water. Water is a most beautiful thing and so important; water gives us life, it helps us in everything but to exploit minerals water is contaminated, Creation is soiled and destroyed. This is only one example. There are so many. With the tragic experience of sin, communion with God broken, we have broken the original communion with all that surrounds us and we have ended up by corrupting Creation, thus rendering it a slave, subject to our perishability. And, unfortunately, the consequence of all this is dramatically before our eyes every day. When man breaks his communion with God, he loses his original beauty and ends up disfiguring everything around him; and where everything at first referred back to the Father-Creator and to His infinite love, now it bears the sad and desolate sign of human pride and voracity. Human pride, exploiting Creation, destroys.

However, the Lord does not leave us alone and, even in this desolate picture, He offers us a new prospect of liberation, of universal salvation. It is what Paul makes evident with joy, inviting us to listen to the groaning of the whole of Creation. In fact, if we pay attention, everything around us groans: Creation itself groans, we human beings groan and the Spirit groans within us, in our heart. Now, these groans are not a sterile, disconsolate lament but – as the Apostle specifies – they are the groans of one giving birth; they are the groans of one who suffers, but who knows that a new life is about to come to light. And in our case it is truly so. We are still dealing with the consequences of our sin and everything around us still bears the sign of our toils, of our failures, of our closures. At the same time, however, we know that the Lord has saved us and it has already been given to us to contemplate and to enjoy in ourselves and in what surrounds us signs of the Resurrection, of Easter, which brings about a new Creation.

This is the content of our hope. A Christian does not live outside the world; he is able to recognize in his life and in what surrounds him signs of evil, of egoism and of sin. He is supportive of those who suffer, of those who weep, of those who are marginalized, of those who feel desperate …. But, at the same time, a Christian has learned to read all this with the eyes of Easter, with the eyes of the Risen Christ. And so he knows that we are living a time of expectation, a time of longing that of goes beyond the present, the time of fulfilment. We know in hope that the Lord wants to heal, definitively with His mercy, wounded and humiliated hearts and all that man has disfigured in his impiety, and that thus He will regenerate a new world and a new humanity, finally reconciled in His love.

How many times we Christians are tempted to disappointment, to pessimism. Sometimes we let ourselves fall into useless lament or we remain without words and we do not even know what to ask for, what to hope for … However, once again the Holy Spirit comes to help us, breath of our hope, who keeps alive the groan and expectation of our heart. The Spirit sees for us beyond the negative appearances of the present and already now reveals to us the new heavens and the new earth that the Lord is preparing for humanity.

[Original text: Italian]  [Translation by Virginia M. Forrester] 

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Entry filed under: Events.

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