Benedict XVI and Curia Wrapping up Lenten Retreat

Cardinal From Congo Has Preached on Communion

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VATICAN CITY, MARCH 2, 2012 ( As Benedict XVI’s annual Lenten retreat draws to a close Saturday, the Vatican today released some details about the meditations that the Pope and the curia have been hearing.

This year’s meditations are being guided by Cardinal Laurent Monsengwo Pasinya, archbishop of Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo, who is focusing on the theme of «the communion of Christians with God.» 

Beginning with the sign of the cross, the cardinal has been reflecting upon God as light, truth, mercy and loving guide, before turning to consider love of the world, lack of faith in Christ and the sin of priests.

The sign of the cross is much more than a habit, it is an «act whereby we add the splendor of knowledge and the dynamism of freedom to our every action.» It is a sign which means «sacrifice for love. It is death for resurrection.» Therefore, it implies the rejection of vanity, prestige, possession and domination, and the consecration of our activity to Christ.

In the context of his meditations upon God as the way, truth and life, Cardinal Monsengwo Pasinya made reference to some of the most dramatic events of our times, such as war, genocide, political violence, abortion and all forms of manipulation of human beings. He also invited his listeners not to remain indifferent «to repression and man’s exploitation of man,» and not to lower their guard, «even if the mystery of sin is beyond us.»

«We must walk in the light,» the cardinal said. «In other words, we must choose to abandon sin» and let the Truth transform our lives via a journey of conversion. Understanding God as truth is particularly important for people «who have no awareness of their own sins, for people who have lost the sense of sin because they no longer pose themselves the problem of God,» and for people who do no longer possess moral criteria and confuse good and evil. This tendency is related to «religious indifference which affirms that all religious are alike but which, in reality, is seeking a lax morality.»

The cardinal warned that priests are not free from these errors, «in the measure to which spiritual barrenness leads them into the same defects,» he said. «Priestly ministry thus becomes mere functionality and has no true sense of God.» The archbishop of Kinshasa also used the example of the Apostles Peter and Judas. The former «was betrayed by his generosity, his attachment to Christ; nonetheless, he fell because he was reckless and exposed himself to danger, although he immediately abandoned the place of his fall and bitterly bewailed his sin.» This is a lesson for all priests. «Our generosity does not protect us from sin. We must be prudent, and not recklessly expose ourselves to the possibility of falling. In all situations, whatever happens, the Lord is always at our side. The biggest affront we can show Him is to doubt in His mercy, as Judas did.»

«To live in truth,» the cardinal said, «is is to live according to the Beatitudes. It means repudiating the lies of our words and actions. It means rejecting the hypocrisy which impels us to appear other than as we are.» The Church too must combat lies and deceit, both within herself and in the world, and struggle «so that the truth of Christ’s Gospel may be known and lived.»

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