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Posted September 09, 2009 in The Pope's Corner:
Development: Gift of God

by Pope Benedict XVI.

Without God man neither knows which way to go, nor understands who he is.

In the face of the enormous problems surrounding the development of peoples, which almost make us yield to discouragement, we find solace in the sayings of our Lord Jesus Christ, who teaches us: Apart from me you can do nothing (Jn 15:5) and then encourages us: I am with you always, to the close of the age (Mt 28:20).

As we contemplate the vast amount of work to be done, we are sustained by our faith that God is present alongside those who come together in his name to work for justice. Paul VI recalled in Populorum Progressio that man cannot bring about his own progress unaided….

Only if we are aware of our calling, as individuals and as a community, to be part of God’s family as his sons and daughters, will we be able to generate a new vision and muster new energy in the service of a truly integral humanism.

The greatest service to development, then, is a Christian humanism that enkindles charity and takes its lead from truth, accepting both as a lasting gift from God.

Openness to God makes us open towards our brothers and sisters and towards an understanding of life as a joyful task to be accomplished in a spirit of solidarity.

On the other hand, ideological rejection of God and an atheism of indifference, oblivious to the Creator and at risk of becoming equally oblivious to human values, constitute some of the chief obstacles to development today.

A humanism which excludes God is an inhuman humanism. Only a humanism open to the Absolute can guide us in the promotion and building of forms of social and civic life—structures, institutions, culture and ethos—without exposing us to the risk of becoming ensnared by the fashions of the moment….

God’s love calls us to move beyond the limited and the ephemeral. It gives us the courage to continue seeking and working for the benefit of all, even if this cannot be achieved immediately and if what we are able to achieve, alongside political authorities and those working in the field of economics, is always less than we might wish.

God gives us the strength to fight and to suffer for love of the common good, because he is our All, our greatest hope.

Development needs Christians with their arms raised towards God in prayer, Christians moved by the knowledge that truth-filled love, caritas in veritate, from which authentic development proceeds, is not produced by us, but given to us.

For this reason, even in the most difficult and complex times, besides recognizing what is happening, we must above all else turn to God’s love.

Excerpted from Caritas in Veritate, the most recent encyclical by Pope Benedict XVI, #78-79, June 29, 2009.

 

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