I’ve heard it said that God never makes a mistake and that He always provides.
Over the years I would hear about Pope Benedict XVI, and I prayed for him yet I never followed him closely or delved into his writings. Often upon hearing of someone’s death we suddenly have an interest in that person, wishing we had spent more time with them and got to know them better.
Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI was a man of faith, a humble and holy contemplative and a gifted spiritual intellect with a passion for the Truth of Christ.
He evangelized by the way he lived his life and through his service to others. God knew we needed a spiritual leader who exemplified holiness, one who had a deep insight into the life of Jesus.
Among his prolific writings are three encyclicals that he wrote during his papacy. They are on Charity and Truth, Christian Hope and Christian Love.
Here are excerpts from each encyclical that I hope will lead you to want to read more.
Caritas In Veritate
“Charity in truth, to which Jesus Christ bore witness by his earthly life…Love — caritas — is an extraordinary force which leads people to opt for courageous and generous engagement in the field of justice and peace. It is a force that has its origin in God, Eternal Love and Absolute Truth. Each person finds his good by adherence to God’s plan for him, in order to realize it fully: in this plan, he finds his truth, and through adherence to this truth he becomes free (cf. Jn 8:32).”
“In hope we were saved, says Saint Paul to the Romans, and likewise to us (Rom 8:24). According to the Christian faith, ‘redemption’ — salvation — is not simply a given. Redemption is offered to us in the sense that we have been given hope, trustworthy hope, by virtue of which we can face our present: the present,
even if it is arduous, can be lived and accepted if it leads towards a goal, if we can be sure of this goal, and if this goal is great enough to justify the effort of the journey. Now the question immediately arises: what sort of hope could ever justify the statement that, on the basis of that hope and simply because it exists, we are redeemed? And what sort of certainty is involved here?”
Deus Caritas Est
“God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him’ (1 Jn 4:16). These words from the “First Letter of John” express with remarkable clarity the heart of the Christian faith: the Christian image of God and the resulting image of mankind and its destiny. In the same verse, Saint John also offers a kind of summary of the Christian life: “We have come to know and to believe in the love God has for us.”
Throughout his life we saw Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI live out these encyclicals by his witness of faith, hope and love. In his last spiritual testament dated Aug. 29, 2006, Pope Benedict said, “When, at this late hour of my life, I look back on the decades I have wandered through, I see first of all how much reason I have to give thanks.
Above all, I thank God Himself, the giver of all good gifts, who has given me life and guided me through all kinds of confusion; who has always picked me up when I began to slip, who has always given me anew the light of his countenance.”
Pope Benedict died as he lived saying “Lord, I love You!” May we follow his example.
Danielle Tayabas is a local Catholic artist and iconographer who is originally from Hawaii. She loves the Lord, enjoys contemplative prayer and sharing her faith with others. Her artwork can be found at Christ Cathedral Gift Shop.