Don’t Get Lost in Problems, Says Pope
Encourages Perceiving the Beautiful Things That Come From the Lord
VATICAN CITY, OCT. 12, 2011 (Zenit.org).- Benedict XVI says we should more frequently recall how God has protected and guided us, noting that this exercise not only helps in “times of darkness” but also fills with joy.
The Pope said this today during the general audience in St. Peter’s Square. He took up his series of catechesis on prayer, turning to a psalm of joy, Psalm 126.
The Holy Father used the psalm to offer specific suggestions for prayer.
“Dear brothers and sisters,” he said, “in our prayer we should look more often at how, in the events of our own lives, the Lord has protected, guided and helped us, and we should praise him for all he has done and does for us. We should be more attentive to the good things the Lord gives to us.”
The Pontiff noted how “we are always attentive to problems and to difficulties,” but there is almost an unwillingness “to perceive that there are beautiful things that come from the Lord.”
Attention to the good, “which becomes gratitude,” he said, “is very important for us; it creates in us a memory for the good and it helps us also in times of darkness.”
“God accomplishes great things, and whoever experiences this — attentive to the Lord’s goodness with an attentiveness of heart — is filled with joy,” the Pontiff affirmed.
The Pope also noted how Psalm 126 “opens to broader, theological dimensions.”
He illustrated its theme of “already” and “not yet”: The psalm “uses distinctive imagery that in its complexity calls to mind the mysterious reality of redemption, in which the gift received and yet still to be awaited, life and death, joys dreamed of and painful tears, are interwoven.”
The Holy Father explained the psalm’s references to agriculture, the difficult moment of sowing, and the subsequent unbridled joy of the harvest: “It is a sowing in tears, since one casts to the ground what could still become bread, exposing it to a time of waiting that is full of uncertainty: The farmer works, he prepares the earth, he scatters the seed, but as the parable of the Sower illustrates well, one never knows where the seed will fall — if the birds will eat it, if it will take root, if it will become an ear of grain.
“To scatter the seed is an act of trust and of hope; man’s industriousness is needed, but then one must enter into a powerless time of waiting, well aware that many deciding factors will determine the success of the harvest, and that the risk of failure is always lurking.
“And yet, year after year, the farmer repeats his gesture and scatters the seed. And when it becomes an ear of grain, and the fields fill with crops, this is the joy of he who stands before an extraordinary marvel.”
In this regard, the Pope affirmed how “when divine help is manifested in all its fullness, it has an overflowing dimension, like the watercourses of the Negeb and like the grain of the fields.”
Personal history of salvation
Continuing with the verses later in the psalm, Benedict XVI encouraged praying “open to hope, and firm in our faith in God.”
“Our personal history — even if often marked by suffering, uncertainty and moments of crisis — is a history of salvation and of the ‘restoring of fortunes,'” he reflected. “In Jesus our every exile ends and every tear is wiped away in the mystery of his cross, of death transformed into life.”
The Pope said that in the dark nights, we mustn’t forget that “the light is there, that God is already in the midst of our lives and that we can sow with the great trust in the fact that God’s ‘yes’ is stronger than us all.”
“It is important not to lose the memory of God’s presence in our lives,” he said, “this profound joy that God has entered into our lives, thus freeing us: It is gratitude for the discovery of Jesus Christ, who has come among us. And this gratitude is transformed into hope; it is a star of hope that gives us trust; it is light, since the very pains of sowing are the beginning of new life, of the great and definitive joy of God.”