My and Thine: Pope Reflects on Drama of Redemption

Offers Meditation on the Easter Triduum

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VATICAN CITY, APRIL 20, 2011 ( Leaving aside “my will” for “thy will” is the drama of humanity. But it is not slavery; rather it is an entering into truth and love and goodness.

This is one of the reflections Benedict XVI offered today at the general audience as he invited the Church to “take part intensely in the Easter Triduum,” to “seek in these days recollection and prayer, to be able to accede more profoundly to this source of grace.”

The Pope’s address offered reflections on each of the three days of the Triduum, and particularly a meditation on the meaning of Christ’s suffering in Gethsemane.

He considered the Lord’s prayer, recounted by Peter, James and John, who slept, “but then they woke up and heard the phrase of this prayer of the Lord: ‘Not my will but thine be done.'”

The Holy Father asked what this “my” and “your” consist of.

The “my” — the human will — is to avoid death, to be “spared this chalice of suffering: It is the human will, of human nature, and Christ feels, with all the consciousness of his being, life, the abyss of death, the terror of nothingness, this menace of suffering.”

In fact, the Pontiff added, Christ feels more than us the “abyss of evil.”

And, he said, “He also felt, with death, all the suffering of humanity. He felt that all this was the chalice he must drink, that he must make himself drink, accept the evil of the world, everything that is terrible, the aversion to God, the whole of sin. And we can understand that Jesus, with his human soul, was terrified before this reality, which he perceived in all its cruelty.”

Love, Good

But Jesus transformed this natural aversion to death, to the chalice of suffering, the Pope said. “My will is subordinated to your will, to the will of God, to the will of the Father, which is also the real will of the Son. […] He transformed this natural will of his into the will of God, in a ‘yes’ to the will of God.”

The Holy Father reflected how on his own, “man is tempted to oppose the will of God, to have the intention to follow his own will, to feel free only if he is autonomous; he opposes his own autonomy against the heteronomy of following the will of God. This is the whole drama of humanity.”

But, the Pontiff said, “in truth this autonomy is erroneous and this entering into God’s will is not an opposition to oneself, it is not a slavery that violates my will, but it is to enter into truth and love, into the good.”

So Jesus “attracts our will, which is opposed to the will of God,” attracting it “on high, to the will of God.”

Path of life

“This,” Benedict XVI affirmed, “is the drama of our redemption, that Jesus attracts our will on high, all our aversion to the will of God and our aversion to death and sin, and unites it to the will of the Father: ‘Not my will but thine be done.’

“In this transformation of the ‘no’ into ‘yes,’ in this insertion of the will of the creature in the will of the Father, he transforms humanity and redeems us. And he invites us to enter into this movement of his: To come out of our ‘no’ and enter into the ‘yes’ of the Son.

“My will exists, but the decisive will is the will of the Father, because the will of the Father is truth and love.”

After further considerations on Holy Thursday, Good Friday and Holy Saturday, the Pope recalled that the “criterion that guided all of Jesus’ choices during his whole life was the firm will to love the Father, to be one with the Father, and to be faithful to him. This decision to correspond to his love impelled him to embrace the Father’s plan in every circumstance, to make his own the design of love that was entrusted to him to recapitulate everything in him, to lead everything back to him.”

He invited the faithful to “dispose ourselves to receive also in our lives the will of God, conscious that in the will of God, though it seems hard, in contrast to our intentions, is found our true good, the path of life.”

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