The Sword of the Sufferer - I
Lourdes Pinto reflects on Pope Benedict XVI's general audience Full text of audience of 10/26/2011
Teaching of Benedict XVI with our commentary is indented.
God and peace "He who is on the journey towards God cannot help but transmit peace; those who build peace cannot help but draw close to God."
Prayer As Christians, we are convinced that the most precious contribution we can make to the cause of peace is that of prayer. ... The Lord can enlighten our minds and hearts and guide us to be builders of justice and of reconciliation in our everyday lives and in the world.
Our Lord to us (8/23/2010): PRAYER When I say your life is a prayer, your life is an offering. To offer Me your life is the perfect prayer. Your thoughts directed to Me, directed to Love, is a prayer. Your touch is a most beautiful prayer. Your words of encouragement and love to others is a prayer. Your efforts to bring peace and unity in your families is a prayer. Your smile is a prayer. But your most perfect prayer is your pure suffering united to Me and My Mother. The prayer of pure suffering is the sweetest fragrance that reaches and delights the Heart of our Father. This is also the prayer that produces an abundance of fruit. This is the prayer that is most united to Mine as I intercede before the throne of My Father. This is why My Mother's suffering of solitude produced and continues to produce showers of graces upon the world. I wish the Mothers and Missionaries of the Cross to be perfected in the prayer of suffering. It is through contemplative prayer that you come to know Me and the prayer in which I fill, guide and form you, but it is the prayer of suffering in which you honor, console and love Me and participate in the redemption of souls. The prayer of thanksgiving and praise should be your every breath.
Poverty (In Bethlehem) The Angel announces a great joy which will come to all the people, and which is tied to a sign of poverty: a babe wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger (cf. Luke 2:8-12). And a multitude of the heavenly host sings "Glory to God in the highest and on the earth peace among men, whom He loves" (Verse 14, to men of goodwill.
But let us also go to the final moments of Christ's life, when He enters Jerusalem welcomed by a jubilant crowd. The Prophet Zechariah's announcement (cf. Zechariah 9:10) of the coming of a meek and humble king returned to the minds of Jesus' disciples in a particular way after the events of the Passion, Death and Resurrection -- of the Paschal Mystery -- when they reconsidered with the eyes of faith the Master's joyous entrance into the Holy City. He rides upon an ass, which was borrowed (cf. Matthew 21:2-7): He does not ride in a stately carriage or on horseback like the great ones. He does not enter Jerusalem accompanied by a powerful army of chariots and charioteers. He is a poor king, the king of God's poor. In the Greek text, the word praeîs appears, which means gentle, meek; Jesus is the king of the anawim, of those whose hearts are free of the lust for power and material riches, free of the will and the search for dominion over others. Jesus is the king of all those who possess that interior freedom that enables them to overcome the greed and egoism of the world, and who know that God is their only wealth.
Union with the Cross
Jesus is the poor king among the poor, meek among those who desire to be meek. In this way, He is the king of peace, thanks to the power of God, which is the power of good, the power of love. He is a king who causes the chariots and charioteers of battle to disappear, who will shatter the bows of war; He is a king who will bring peace to fulfillment on the Cross by joining heaven and earth, and by throwing a bridge of brotherhood between all peoples. The Cross is the new bow of peace, the sign and instrument of reconciliation, of forgiveness, of understanding, a sign of the love that is stronger than all violence and oppression, stronger than death: Evil is conquered with good, with love.
This is the new kingdom of peace whose king is Christ; and it is a kingdom that extends over all the earth. The Prophet Zechariah announces that this humble, peaceful king will have dominion "from sea to sea, from the River to the ends of the earth" (Zechariah 9:10). The reign inaugurated by Christ has universal dimensions. The horizons of this poor and gentle king are neither a territory nor a state, but rather the very ends of the earth; transcending every barrier of race, language and culture, He creates communion; He creates unity.
And where do we see this announcement fulfilled today? The prophecy of Zechariah shines with splendor in the great net of Eucharistic communities that extends over all the earth. These form a great mosaic of communities in which this gentle and peaceful king's sacrifice of love is made present; they form a multitude of "islands of peace" that radiate peace. Everywhere, in every circumstance and reality, in every culture, from the great cities with their palaces to tiny villages with their humble abodes, from towering cathedrals to little chapels, He comes, He makes Himself present; and in entering into communion with Him, men are also united with one another in one body, overcoming division, rivalries, and resentment. The Lord comes in the Eucharist to take us away from our individualism, our particularities that exclude others, to form of us one body, one kingdom of peace in a divided world.
Dear family, this is essential to our way of life. This is the meaning of poverty. 1-Jesus' humility, gentleness, meekness and poverty must become our own. He is the king of the anawim. 2-For this transformation to occur we must be a Eucharistic community, 3-Not just receiving Him but joining His sacrifice of love, becoming one with Him and thus making him present through us. (Victims of love in Him) 4-This is the way of unity with God and with our brothers and sisters. This is the only way to overcome individualism, division, rivalries and resentment. This is the power of the cross applied to us.
Jesus does not shepherd wolfs but only sheep
But how may we build this kingdom of peace, of which Christ is king? The command that He leaves to His Apostles, and through them, to us all is: "Go therefore and make disciples of all nations … and lo, I am with you always, to the close of the age" (Matthew 28:19). -"as lambs in the midst of wolves" (Verse 3), without purse, or bag or sandals (cf. Verse 4). St. John Chrysostom, in one of his Homilies, comments: "As long as we are lambs we will conquer; even if we are surrounded by many wolves, we will succeed in overcoming them. But if we become wolves, we will be defeated, because we will be deprived of the help of the Shepherd" (Homily 33, 1: PG 57,389).
Christians must never yield to the temptation to become wolves in the midst of wolves; it is not with power, with force or with violence that Christ's kingdom of peace is extended, but with the gift of self, with love taken to the extreme, even toward our enemies. Jesus does not conquer the world with the strength of armies, but with the strength of the Cross, which is victory's true guarantee. Consequently, for the one who desires to be the Lord's disciple -- His messenger -- this means being ready for suffering and martyrdom, being ready to lose one's life for Him, so that good, love and peace may triumph in the world. This is the condition for being able to say, upon entering into any circumstance: "Peace be to this house!" (Luke 10:5).