Materialism Is Man's "Eternal Temptation," Says Pope

Comments on 2nd Part of Psalm 134(135)

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VATICAN CITY, OCT. 5, 2005 (Zenit.org).- Materialism is the “eternal temptation” of the human being, who places his hope “in wealth, in power, in success,” says Benedict XVI.

The Pope made that observation today in his address at the general audience. He dedicated his meditation to comment on the second part of Psalm 134(135):13-21, in which two religious visions are contrasted: that of the God who loves and that of the idol created by man himself.

The “living and personal” God “is at the center of authentic faith,” Benedict XVI told the 50,000 people who crowded into St. Peter’s Square on a sunny morning.

“His presence is effective and salvific,” the Pope said, “the Lord is not an immobile and absent reality, but a living person who guides his faithful, having compassion for them, and sustaining them with his power and love.”

At the opposite end is “idolatry, … expression of a deviant and deceitful religiosity,” he said. “In fact, the idol is nothing other than a work of men’s hands, a product of human desires and, therefore, impotent to exceed creaturely limits. It does have a human form with a mouth, eyes, ears, throat, but it is inert, lifeless, as is the case, precisely, of an inanimate statue.”

“The destiny of one who worships these dead realities is to become like them, impotent, fragile, inert,” warned the Bishop of Rome.

Misplaced hopes

Benedict XVI thus presented “man’s eternal temptation to seek salvation in the work of his hands, placing hope in wealth, in power, in success, in matter.”

Together with the psalm, the Pontiff presented the liturgy as “the privileged place to listen to the divine Word, which renders present the Lord’s salvific acts.”

“It is also the circle in which the communitarian prayer rises which celebrates divine love,” he affirmed.

“God and man meet in a saving embrace, which finds its fulfillment precisely in the liturgical celebration,” concluded the Holy Father.

With this meditation, Benedict XVI continued with the series of papal commentaries on the psalms and biblical canticles that make up the Liturgy of the Hours. Other commentaries are posted at the Wednesday’s Audience section of ZENIT’s Web page.

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