“Believing in charity calls forth charity”
“We have come to know and to believe in the love God has for us” (1 Jn 4:16)
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
The celebration of Lent, in the context of the Year of Faith, offers us a valuableopportunity to meditate on the relationship between faith and charity: between believing in God – the God of Jesus Christ – and love, which is the fruit of the Holy Spirit and which guides us on the path of devotion to God and others.
1. Faith as a response to the love of God
In my first Encyclical, I offered some thoughts on the close relationship between the theological virtues of faith and charity. Setting out from Saint John’s fundamental assertion: “We have come to know and to believe in the love God has for us” (1 Jn 4:16), I observed that “being Christian is not the result of an ethical choice or a lofty idea, but the encounter with an event, a person, which gives life a new horizon and a decisive direction … Since God has first loved us (cf. 1 Jn 4:10), love is now no longer a mere ‘command’; it is the response to the gift of love with which God draws near to us” (Deus Caritas Est, 1).
Pope Benedict XVI on Monday said he plans on resigning the papal office on February 28th. Below please find his announcement.
Full text of Pope's declaration
I have convoked you to this Consistory, not only for the three canonizations, but also to communicate to you a decision of great importance for the life of the Church. After having repeatedly examined my conscience before God, I have come to the certainty that my strengths, due to an advanced age, are no longer suited to an adequate exercise of the Petrine ministry. I am well aware that this ministry, due to its essential spiritual nature, must be carried out not only with words and deeds, but no less with prayer and suffering. However, in today’s world, subject to so many rapid changes and shaken by questions of deep relevance for the life of faith, in order to govern the bark of Saint Peter and proclaim the Gospel, both strength of mind and body are necessary, strength which in the last few months, has deteriorated in me to the extent that I have had to recognize my incapacity to adequately fulfill the ministry entrusted to me. For this reason, and well aware of the seriousness of this act, with full freedom I declare that I renounce the ministry of Bishop of Rome, Successor of Saint Peter, entrusted to me by the Cardinals on 19 April 2005, in such a way, that as from 28 February 2013, at 20:00 hours, the See of Rome, the See of Saint Peter, will be vacant and a Conclave to elect the new Supreme Pontiff will have to be convoked by those whose competence it is.
Dear Brothers, I thank you most sincerely for all the love and work with which you have supported me in my ministry and I ask pardon for all my defects. And now, let us entrust the Holy Church to the care of Our Supreme Pastor, Our Lord Jesus Christ, and implore his holy Mother Mary, so that she may assist the Cardinal Fathers with her maternal solicitude, in electing a new Supreme Pontiff. With regard to myself, I wish to also devotedly serve the Holy Church of God in the future through a life dedicated to prayer.
From the Vatican, 10 February 2013
BENEDICTUS PP XVI
For a new reading of Dei Verbum - the poetry and the truth of the most beautiful and challenging document of Vatican II
Reflecting on Dei Verbum is tantamount to retracing the entire history of the Second Vatican Council. This Dogmatic Constitution was the subject of debate among the Council Fathers in the early months of the Council, it accompanied their work for the next three years, and was approved almost unanimously at the conclusion of the session on 18 November 1965. Certainly, I do not hesitate to say that we are before the most beautiful and challenging document of the Council. More beautiful, because it was able to combine dogmatic truth, with its precise language often reluctant to let itself be translated into forceful images, with expressions of high poetry. More challenging, because some of its contents come, after centuries of theological debate, clearly expressed highlighting the dogmatic development achieved.
In his Message for Lent the Pope recalls that everything proceeds from Love and tends towards Love
There is neither separation nor opposition between faith and charity. Because in Christian life “everything proceeds from Love and tends towards Love”, the Pope explains in his Message for Lent, made public on Friday, February 1. “God’s gratuitous love”, the Pope writes, “is made known to us through the proclamation of the Gospel. If we welcome it with faith, we receive everything proceeds from Love and tends towards Love e the first and indispensable contact with the Divine, capable of making us 'fall in love with Love', and then we dwell within this Love, we grow in it and we joyfully communicate it to others”.
From this perspective service to others is not an imposed command, rather “a consequence deriving from their faith, a faith which becomes active through love”. This is an attitude that in Christians essentially arises “from the consciousness of being loved, forgiven, and even served by the Lord”.