Preacher Tells of 2 Ways to Express Relationship With God

Bishop Corti's Meditations at Pope's Spiritual Exercises

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VATICAN CITY, FEB. 15, 2005 (Zenit.org).- Our relationship with God needs to be expressed through prayer and through the transmission of the faith, says the preacher of the Spiritual Exercises being attended by John Paul II.



Bishop Renato Corti of Novara delivered that message today, the second full day of the weeklong retreat also being attended by officials of the Roman Curia.

When introducing these retreat days, Bishop Corti already mentioned the need for prayer to make the Spiritual Exercises well.

"Today I wished to make evident that if faith is a relationship, this relationship needs to be expressed," the preacher explained on Vatican Radio, summarizing today's first meditation.

"God speaks to man who responds, and prayer expresses this resonance of the tones of God's grace," the bishop said. "And I tried to highlight that, for the Christian, the relationship is one with the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit."

Reflecting on the specific theme of the Exercises -- "The Church at the Service of the New and Eternal Covenant" -- the prelate in today's second meditation made use of the "essential pages of sacred Scripture that recount God's steps toward humanity, beginning with the promises made to Abraham, the celebration of the Covenant made with Moses, and ending later with Jesus Christ and, in particular, the mystery of the incarnation, the institution of the Eucharist, the passion and death on the cross, and the resurrection."

"In all this long journey the key word is 'promise,' which means: 'Behold, before you seek God, it is God who is seeking you,'" Bishop Corti said.

"It is God who even before creation had a plan for us -- as St. Paul says in the Letter to the Ephesians -- to make us his adopted children in his only-begotten Son, the Word made flesh," he said.

Bishop Corti focused on the "crucial importance of the reference to Jesus Christ," in his meditations on Monday afternoon.

"Given that we are in a climate of Spiritual Exercises," he told Vatican Radio, "I said that each one of us, at this moment, would do well to review his own personal relationship with the Lord or, better still, his own response to the relationship that the Lord wishes to establish with us."

Bishop Corti suggested some pages of the Gospel that narrate different encounters with Jesus, "but very different among themselves."

"The Apostles themselves say through St. Peter: 'Lord, you are the Messiah,'" but Peter later betrays the Lord, the preacher observed.

"This shows that the journey of faith is never finished once and for all, but must be renewed day by day," he said. "The highest and most profound truth is that this journey which leads to the encounter with the Lord Jesus, in reality is a journey together with Christ to the encounter with the Father.

"In the Last Supper, Christ said: 'The Father and I are one.' Jesus, therefore, emerges as the Son who places himself next to us to guide us in living the experience of sons to put us in communion with the Father."

From this truth, stemmed the question in the bishop's second meditation today: "And we, what responsibility do we have in regard to the service of faith to our brothers?"

The bishop of Novara recalled that "before the Jubilee, in the apostolic letter 'Tertio Millennio Adveniente,' the Pope posed some questions which, in essence, were: In rereading the history of these centuries, have we, as Christians, always upheld the Christian faith? Or have we not, at times, been the cause of scandal or even difficulty? Or, perhaps, given a very pale testimony?"

And "the Pope, during the Jubilee, carried out that gesture that so impressed the world: March 12, 2000, the Day of Forgiveness, opened a commitment for the future," recalled the Italian prelate.

The apostolic letter "'Novo Millennio Ineunte' expresses the guidelines that enable the Church to witness the light of Christ for generations that will follow," he said.

In this connection, the preacher said it seemed "opportune to say that the task called the New Evangelization is a great invitation to be at the service of faith, seeking to communicate with humanity of our time, allowing ourselves to be addressed, to later receive with love and great human richness the truth that the Lord must say to the man of today."