VATICAN CITY, DEC. 15, 2006 (Zenit.org).- The widespread rejection of God is cause for grief among believers, said the preacher of the Pontifical Household in an Advent sermon on one of the beatitudes.
Capuchin Father Raniero Cantalamessa preached today the first Advent meditation this year in the presence of Benedict XVI and his aides in the Roman Curia in the Redemptoris Mater Chapel of the Apostolic Palace.
The title for today’s meditation is “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted” (Matthew 5:4).
In commenting on the beatitude, Father Cantalamessa highlighted two reasons why a believer might weep.
He said one reason is the “resurgence of a militant and aggressive atheism, with a mark of scientific origin or of scientific nature.”
The preacher said that proof for God’s existence “is not found in books or in biology laboratories, but in life. In Christ’s life above all, in that of the saints, and in the countless witnesses of the faith.”
Father Cantalamessa added: “It is also found in the disdained proof of the signs and miracles that Jesus himself gave as proof of his truth and that God continues to give, but that atheists reject a priori, without even taking the trouble to examine it.”
The believer grieves, says the preacher, when Christ is rejected “in the name of ‘objective’ historical research” that attempts to strip him of his divinity.
The papal household preacher said that the sin of members of the Church is another cause for grief among believers.
“The Church has wept and sighed in recent times over the abominations committed within her by some of her own ministers and pastors. She has paid a very high price for this. She has hastened to remedy it and given iron rules to avoid the abuses being repeated,” he said.
Father Cantalamessa continued: “The moment has arrived, in the wake of the emergency, to do that which is most important of all: to weep before God, to be afflicted as God is afflicted, because of the offense to the body of Christ and the scandal to the littlest of his brothers, more than for the harm and dishonor caused us.”
“It is the condition so that good can come from all this evil, and a reconciliation take place between the people of God and their priests.”
The preacher suggested convoking “a day of fast and penance, at least at the local and national level, where the problem might have been greatest, to express repentance publicly before God and solidarity with the victims.”
Quoting Benedict XVI, Father Cantalamessa said: “The wounds caused by these acts are profound and urgent is the task to re-establish hope and trust when these have been harmed. … In this way the Church will be reinforced and will be increasingly able to give testimony of the redeeming strength of the cross of Christ.”