The staggering news from Monday remains on our hearts and minds as Lent begins. So today’s post consists of five beautiful life & justice quotes from Pope Benedict XVI good for our journey toward Easter, from this USCCB compilation and elsewhere.
BXVI has truly been a life & justice, both/and Pope. His deep commitment to social justice has not been featured in the secular press’ biased stories on his legacy. But even a cursory review of his statements and writings shows his passionate solidarity with those most in need.
1) “The unbreakable bond between love of God and love of neighbor is emphasized. One is so closely connected to the other that to say that we love God becomes a lie if we are closed to our neighbor or hate him altogether. Saint John’s words should rather be interpreted to mean that love of neighbor is a path that leads to the encounter with God, and that closing our eyes to our neighbor also blinds us to God.” Deus Caritas Est (God is Love), #16
2) “Peace, however, is not merely a gift to be received: it is also a task to be undertaken. In order to be true peacemakers, we must educate ourselves in compassion, solidarity, working together, fraternity, in being active within the community and concerned to raise awareness about national and international issues and the importance of seeking adequate mechanisms for the redistribution of wealth, the promotion of growth, cooperation for development and conflict resolution. ‘Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God’, as Jesus says in the Sermon on the Mount (Mt 5:9).” World Day of Peace message, 2012, #5
3) “As Isaiah proclaimed, ‘For thus says he who is high and exalted, living eternally, whose name is the Holy One: On high I dwell, and in holiness, and with the crushed and dejected in spirit, to revive the spirits of the dejected, to revive the hearts of the crushed’ (Isaiah 57:15). God chooses, therefore, to be with the weak, with victims, with the last: This is made known to all kings, so that they will know what their options should be in the governance of nations. Of course, he does not just say it to kings and to all governments, but to all of us, as we also must know which option we must choose: to be on the side of the humble, the last, the poor and the weak.” Commentary on Psalm 137(138): God “Cares for the Lowly,” Dec. 7, 2005
4) “To make a concrete response to the appeal of our brothers and sisters in humanity, we must come to grips with the first of these challenges: solidarity among generations, solidarity between countries and entire continents, so that all human beings may share more equitably in the riches of our planet. This is one of the essential services that people of good will must render to humanity. The earth, in fact, can produce enough to nourish all its inhabitants, on the condition that the rich countries do not keep for themselves what belongs to all.” Audience to seven new ambassadors to the Holy See, June 16, 2005
5) “It is necessary not only to relieve the gravest needs but to go to their roots, proposing measures that will give social, political and economic structures a more equitable and solidaristic configuration.” Message to Mexican Bishops, Sept. 29, 2005
This post is also featured on the website The Ampersand for the Diocese of Camden Life & Justice Ministries.