VATICAN CITY, MARCH 13, 2011 (Zenit.org).- During the season of Lent, the Church sides with Christ against sin and the forces of evil, says Benedict XVI.
The Pope said this today before praying the midday Angelus together with those gathered in St. Peter’s Square, during which he reflected on the existence of sin.
Answering the question of why the Church observes Lent, the Holy Father answered that it’s because “evil exists, or rather, sin, which according to Scripture is the deepest cause of every evil.”
Sin, he stated, can be a controversial word. Many reject the word, the Pontiff added, “for it presupposes a religious vision of the world and of man.”
He said that opponents of the concept of sin have a point: “If we eliminate God from the horizon of the world, we cannot speak of sin. Just as when the sun is hidden the shadows disappear and the shadows appear only if the sun is there, so too the eclipse of God necessarily brings the eclipse of sin.
“Thus the meaning of sin — which is a different thing from ‘guilt feelings’ as these are understood in psychology — is only grasped in discovering the meaning of God.”
Love the sinner
Benedict XVI explained that God does not tolerate sin and evil, “because he is Love, Justice, Fidelity.”
Because of this, the Pontiff added, God “does not wish the death of the sinner, but desires that the sinner covert and live.”
“God intervenes to save humanity,” the Holy Father continued. “We see this in the whole history of the Jewish people, beginning with their liberation from Egypt. God is determined to deliver his children from slavery to lead them to freedom.
“And the worst and most profound slavery is that of sin. This is why God sent his Son into the world: to free men from the rule of Satan, ‘origin and cause of every sin.'”
Benedict XVI noted that the Devil “sets himself with all of his forces against this plan of definitive and universal salvation.”
When the faithful enter the liturgical season of Lent, he added, they are “siding with Christ against sin, doing spiritual battle — as an individual and as the Church — against the evil spirit.”
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