VATICAN CITY, APRIL 21, 2011 (Zenit.org).- At this morning’s Chrism Mass, Benedict XVI reflected on the three dimensions of Christian life expressed in the three oils that are blessed in the liturgy.
The Pope celebrated the Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica, blessing the oil of catechumens, the oil for anointing the sick and the sacred chrism.
Speaking of the oil of catechumens, he said it “indicates a first way of being touched by Christ and by his Spirit […] which takes place even prior to baptism.”
“The oil of catechumens tells us that it is not only we who seek God: God himself is searching for us,” the Holy Father reflected. “The fact that he himself was made man and came down into the depths of human existence, even into the darkness of death, shows us how much God loves his creature, man. […]
“Do I want to recognize him? Do I want to be known by him, found by him? God loves us. He comes to meet the unrest of our hearts, the unrest of our questioning and seeking, with the unrest of his own heart, which leads him to accomplish the ultimate for us.”
The Pontiff exhorted the faithful to keep alive that “restlessness for God, that journeying towards him.”
“In this sense we should always remain catechumens,” he said. “Knowledge of God is never exhausted. For all eternity, with ever increasing joy, we can always continue to seek him, so as to know him and love him more and more.”
Benedict XVI questioned: “Have we perhaps become resigned to his absence, do we not seek to be self-sufficient? Let us not allow our humanity to be diminished in this way! Let us remain constantly on a journey towards him, longing for him, always open to receive new knowledge and love!”
Reflecting on the oil for anointing the sick, the Bishop of Rome noted how the “proclamation of God’s Kingdom, of God’s unlimited goodness, must first of all bring healing to broken hearts.”
“By nature,” he said, “man is a being in relation. But if the fundamental relationship, the relationship with God, is disturbed, then all the rest is disturbed as well. If our relationship with God is disturbed, if the fundamental orientation of our being is awry, we cannot truly be healed in body and soul. For this reason, the first and fundamental healing takes place in our encounter with Christ who reconciles us to God and mends our broken hearts.”
Finally, regarding chrism, the Holy Father spoke of the priestly mission of the Christian people.
“Christians should make the living God visible to the world, they should bear witness to him and lead people towards him,” he said.
The Pope affirmed that this task is no reason to boast, and actually poses a question, which “makes us both joyful and anxious: are we truly God’s shrine in and for the world? Do we open up the pathway to God for others or do we rather conceal it?”
The Holy Father asked if, perhaps especially in the West, people are “tired of their faith, bored by their history and culture, and no longer wish to know faith in Jesus Christ?
“We have reason to cry out at this time to God: ‘Do not allow us to become a “non-people!” Make us recognize you again! Truly, you have anointed us with your love, you have poured out your Holy Spirit upon us. Grant that the power of your Spirit may become newly effective in us, so that we may bear joyful witness to your message!”
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