On Trust in Divine Providence

"The Christian Is Distinguished by His Absolute Trust in the Heavenly Father"

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VATICAN CITY, FEB. 27, 2011 (Zenit.org).- Here is a translation of the address Benedict XVI gave today before praying the midday Angelus together with those gathered in St. Peter's Square.

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Dear Brothers and Sisters!

Echoing in today's liturgy is one of the most touching messages of Sacred Scripture. The Holy Spirit has given it through the writing of the so-called "second Isaiah," who to console Jerusalem, disheartened by misfortunes, expresses himself thus: "Can a woman forget her sucking child, that she should have no compassion on the son of her womb? Even these may forget, yet I will not forget you" (Isaiah 49:15). This invitation to trust in the unfailing love of God is supported as much by the thought-provoking page of Matthew's Gospel, in which Jesus exhorts his disciples to trust in the providence of the heavenly Father, who feeds the birds of the air and clothes the lilies of the field, and knows every need of ours (cf. 6:24-34). This is how the Master expresses himself: "Therefore do not be anxious, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink' or 'What shall we wear?' For the Gentiles seek all these things; and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all."

Given the situation of so many people, close and far off, who live in misery, this discourse of Jesus might not seem very realistic, if not evasive. In reality, the Lord wants us to understand clearly that we cannot serve two masters: God and wealth. Whoever believes in God, the Father full of love for his children, puts in the first place the search for the Kingdom, for his will. And this is, in fact, the contrary of fatalism or of a naive irenicism. Faith in providence, in fact, does not dispense us from the exhausting struggle for a dignified life, but it frees us from anxiety about things and from the fear of tomorrow. It is clear that this teaching of Jesus, although remaining always true and valid for all, is practiced in different ways in keeping with the different vocations: A Franciscan brother can follow it in a more radical way, whereas a father of a family must keep in mind his duties towards his wife and children. In every case, however, the Christian is distinguished by his absolute trust in the heavenly Father, as it was for Jesus. It is precisely the relationship with God the Father that gives meaning to the whole of Christ's life, to his words, to his gestures of salvation, to his passion, death and resurrection. Jesus has demonstrated to us what it means to live with our feet firmly planted on the earth, attentive to the concrete situations of our neighbor, and at the same time having our heart always in Heaven, immersed in God's mercy.

Dear Friends, in the light of the Word of God this Sunday, I invite you to invoke the Virgin Mary with the title Mother of Divine Providence. To her we entrust our life, the path of the Church, the events of history. In particular, we invoke her intercession so that we will all learn to live in keeping with a more simple and sober style, in our daily industry and in respect of creation, which God has entrusted to our care.

[Translation by ZENIT]

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