CASTEL GANDOLFO, Italy, JULY 24, 2011 (Zenit.org).- True quality of life lies in the development of a “docile heart” that recognizes what is good and pursues it, says Benedict XVI.
Before praying the midday Angelus with those who had gathered at the papal summer residence in Castel Gandolfo, the Pope reflected on the Old Testament figure of King Solomon, who asked God for a “docile heart.”
“He is presented to us at the beginning of his reign, when he was still very young,” the Holy Father began, “Solomon inherited a demanding task and the responsibility that weighed on him was great for a young sovereign. The first thing that he did was offer a solemn sacrifice to God –- ‘1,000 holocausts,’ the Bible says.
“Then the Lord appeared to him in a vision at night and promised him to grant him what he asked for in prayer. And here we see the greatness of Solomon’s soul: he did not ask for a long life, nor riches, nor the elimination of his enemies; instead he said to the Lord: ‘Grant a docile heart to your servant that he might know how to render justice to his people and know how to distinguish good from evil.'”
A “docile heart,” he added, is “a conscience that knows how to listen, which is sensitive to the voice of truth, and because of this it is able to discern good from evil.”
Benedict XVI recalled that God granted Solomon his prayer, and as a result he “became celebrated in all the world for his wisdom and his just judgments.”
“Solomon’s example is valid for every man,” the Pope said. “Each of us has a conscience to be in a certain sense ‘king,’ that is, to exercise the great human dignity of acting according to a properly formed conscience, doing good and avoiding evil.”
“Moral conscience,” he added, “presupposes the capacity to hear the voice of truth, to be docile to its instructions.”
The Pontiff noted that those “called to the office of ruling of course have a further responsibility, and […] even more need of God,” but added that “each person has his own part to perform in the concrete situation in which he finds himself.”
“An erroneous mentality suggests that we ask God for nice things and privileged situations,” the Holy Father explained. “In fact, the true quality of our life and social existence depends on each person’s properly formed conscience, on the capacity of each and every person to recognize the good, separating it from evil, and to attempt patiently to realize it.”
At the end of his address, Benedict XVI considered the Virgin Mary: “Her ‘heart’ is perfectly ‘docile’ to the Lord’s will. Although she is a humble and simple person, Mary is a queen in the eyes of God, and as such we venerate her.
“May the Holy Virgin help us also to form, with God’s grace, a conscience always open to the truth and sensitive to justice, to serve the Kingdom of God.”
— — —
On ZENIT’s Web page:
Full text: www.zenit.org/article-33140?l=english