Pope Assures Earthquake Victims: God Is With Us

Encourages the Trust of Children Who Feel Loved, Safe

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ROME, JUNE 26, 2012 (Zenit.org).- Benedict XVI today drew a lesson from the Liturgy of the Hours to offer comfort to the victims of an earthquake that struck northern Italy in late May.

The Pope made a brief visit to the region this morning, and offered a discourse.

He said: «As you know, we priests – but also the religious and not a few laymen – pray every day with the so-called Breviary which contains the Liturgy of the Hours, the prayer of the Church which spans the day. We pray with the Psalms, according to an order which is the same for the whole Catholic Church, throughout the world. Why do I say this to you? Because in these days, while praying Psalm 46, I found this expression which touched me: ‘God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear though the earth should change, though the mountains shake in the heart of the sea’ (Psalm 46:2-3).

«How many times have I read these words? Innumerable times! I have been a priest for 61 years! And yet at certain moments, such as this one, they strike me intensely, because they touch on life, they give voice to an experience that you are now living, and that all those who pray share.»

The Holy Father reflected that the psalm is striking not only because of the image of the earthquake, «but above all because of what they affirm regarding our interior attitude in face of the ravages of nature: an attitude of great security, based on the stable, immovable rock that God is. We ‘will not fear though the earth should change’ – says the Psalmist – because ‘God is our refuge and strength.’ He is ‘a very present help in trouble.'»

The Pontiff acknowledged that these words «seem to contrast with the fear that is inevitably felt after an experience as that which you went through.»

This fear is normal, he said — even Jesus felt fear and anguish — «but, in all the fear and anguish, there is above all the certainty that God is with us; as the child who knows that he can always count on his mother and father, because he feels loved, wanted, no matter what happens. This is how we are in respect to God: small, fragile, but safe in his hands, that is, entrusted to his Love which is solid as a rock. This Love we see in Christ crucified, is at the same time is the sign of pain, of suffering, of love. It is the revelation of God-Love, in solidarity with us to extreme humiliation.»


Father Ivan Martini, parish priest of Rovereto di Novi who died in the May 29 earthquake, while carrying to safety a statue of Our Lady in his church of Saint Catherine of Alexandria, would have been 65 on Thursday.

In concomitance with Benedict XVI’s visit, the parish is preparing to remember its priest with a Triduum of prayer and reflection, in the week that includes the anniversaries of his birth, his departure to Heaven, and also his priestly ordination.

“We wish particularly to remember Father Ivan and to recall all that he taught us,” said the parishioners. In the meantime, the parish has already mobilized to collect funds in a current account to build a new community hall.

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On ZENIT’s Web page:

Full text of Pope’s address: www.zenit.org/article-35086?l=english

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