Christians find fulfillment not by using power or force to realize their own wishes, but by being submissive to God’s will and serving others, Pope Benedict XVI said.
Many in the world today are surrounded by people or things that threaten to become the guiding force in their lives, therefore, “it’s necessary to have a hierarchy of values in which the top priority is God,” the pope said during his weekly general audience in the Paul VI hall June 27.
It was his last general audience before the pope was to leave July 3 for vacation at the papal summer residence in Castel Gandolfo, south of Rome. The weekly general audience was scheduled to resume Aug. 1.
In his catechesis, the pope continued his series of talks on prayer in the letters of St. Paul, looking this time at the Letter to the Philippians.
People often look for “self-actualization in power, domination and in powerful means,” creating a tower of Babel in a quest to be god-like, said the pope. Such pursuits reflect the sin of Adam, who sought to put himself ahead of God.
Jesus, instead, showed that true exaltation and victory come with absolute abasement and humility – being a servant to others and obeying God’s will, even to the point of being killed on the cross, the pope said.
By becoming fully human and obeying God, he said, Jesus gave humanity back the dignity it had lost with Adam’s disobedience.
“As Jesus exaltation took place through his abasement, so in our lives and in our prayer we discover that, by lowering ourselves in humility and love, we are lifted up to God.”
“The incarnation and the cross remind us that complete fulfillment comes in conforming the human will to the Father’s, in emptying oneself of egoism and filling oneself with God’s love and charity, thereby becoming truly capable of loving others,” he said.
Noting the upcoming feast of Sts. Peter and Paul, June 29, the pope asked pilgrims in Rome to visit the saints’ tombs as a way of “deepening your love for Christ’s church, founded on the apostles.”
At the end of the audience, attended by an estimated 7,000 pilgrims and visitors, the pope reminded his listeners to use their summer holidays for helping others and themselves.
He told young people to do something that would lead to “useful social and religious experiences,” and encouraged newlyweds to grow in their love and “deepen your mission in the church and society.”
– VATICAN CITY (CNS)
Pope Benedict XVI’s intention for July: That everyone may have work in safe and secure conditions, and that Christian volunteers in mission territories may witness to the love of Christ.