Forgetfulness of God´s Love Coincides with Infidelity, Says Pope

Comments on Moses´ Canticle in Deuteronomy

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VATICAN CITY, JUNE 19, 2002 (Zenit.org).- Forgetfulness of God´s love coincides with people´s infidelity to the Almighty, John Paul II says.

“Biblical faith is a ´memorial,´ namely, a rediscovering of God´s eternal action spread over time; it is to make present and effective that salvation that the Lord has given and continues to offer man,” the Pope explained during today´s general audience.

Addressing the thousands of pilgrims gathered in Paul VI Hall, the Holy Father said “the great sin of infidelity coincides with forgetfulness, which cancels the memory of the divine presence in us and in history.”

The Pope was continuing his series of meditations begun last year on the Psalms and canticles of the Old Testament, which have become part of the daily prayer of Christians. On this occasion, he chose Moses´ canticle which is introduced in Deuteronomy 31:30.

In this biblical passage, God does not appear as “a dark being, an anonymous and brute energy, an incomprehensible fact,” the Holy Father said. On the contrary, God is a judge who “denounces the crimes of the accused people, exacts punishment, but lets his verdict be permeated by infinite mercy,” the Pope said.

The canticle placed on Moses´ lips goes further, discovering in God a “father,” John Paul II said.

“His creatures, so loved, are called his children but unfortunately, they are ´degenerate children,´” the Pope said.

This gives rise to Moses´ impassioned accusation. “Is the Lord to be thus repaid by you, O stupid and foolish people? Has he not made you and established you? Indeed, rebelling against an implacable sovereign is very different from revolting against a loving father,” the Pope said.

In this biblical passage, he continued, God´s love also shows maternal aspects: “He shielded them and cared for them, guarding them as the apple of his eye. As an eagle incites its nestlings forth by hovering over its brood, so he spread his wings to receive them and bore them up on his pinions.”

The Pope added: “Thus Moses´ canticle becomes a collective examination of conscience, so that in the end the response to the divine benefits will no longer be sin but fidelity.”

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