VATICAN – Ave Maria by Mgr. Luciano Alimandi –
Vatican City (Agenzia Fides) – “A Roman oration, connected with the text of the Book of Wisdom, says: ‘In forgiveness and mercy you show your almighty power, o Lord’. The apex of God’s power is mercy, forgiveness. In our present day worldly idea of power, we think of someone who owns properties, in economics has something to say, who has large capital at his disposal with which to influence the world market. We think of someone with military power, someone who can threaten. Stalin’s question: ‘How many divisions does the Pope have?’ still characterises the average idea of power. A powerful person is one who can be dangerous, who can threaten, destroy, who has many worldly things in his hands. However Revelation tells us: ‘This is not true; real power, is the power of grace and mercy. In mercy, God shows real power ” (Benedict XVI, homily Aosta, 25 July 2009).
The Holy Father, Benedict XVI with these words spoken off the cuff, during his recent homily at Vespers in the Cathedral of Aosta, opens a “window” on the wondrous truth of divine mercy, which, he says, is the “real power” of God!
Our times would appear to be in great need of divine mercy in terms of “power”, since every epoch is marked by an uncontrollable race for power, involving both individuals and communities.
Since the moment of original sin, power has always exercised an irresistible influence on the heart of man, on the hearts of those who willingly let themselves be attracted, gripped by a desire not for ‘littleness’ but for greatness. Greatness to be reached with any means and at any cost.
God created man for great things, giving him extraordinary dignity, but at the same time he planned for him a path to glory which passes through humility in order to make room for God. Instead the world “preaches” human greatness to reach by means of “power”, power which “swells” playing on pride which “crushes” the weak.
The Gospel announces, as the Holy Father recalls, a “power” which draws its energy not from below, from the things of this earth, but from above, from God, who sent his Son Jesus to us to teach us and to give us mercy!
If man wishes to encounter God, if he wishes to find out where God lives and how he acts, then there is only one road and this road is Jesus, because Jesus is the mercy of the Father who made himself visible to man: from his birth in Bethlehem to his death and resurrection in Jerusalem!
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The whole life of Jesus is revelation of this infinite love of God, who allowed himself be crucified in order to defeat the greatest of all earthly powers, the power of the Evil One, whom Jesus calls the “prince of this world” (Jn 12, 31).
In this regard we do well to return to the words of the Holy Father in the above mentioned homily: “the event of the Cross: from that moment onwards, against the ocean of evil, there exists a river which is infinite and therefore far greater than the greatest injustices in the world, a river of goodness, truth, love. God forgives by transforming the world and by entering our world so that there can exist a power, a river of goodness greater than all the evil which could ever exist. God call us to be on his side, to abandon the ocean of evil, hatred, violence, selfishness to enter and to identify ourselves with the river of his love ” (Benedict XVI, 25 July 2009).
Mercy is love which accepts to be wounded by man’s sin in order to heal him, it is God’s infinite capacity for forgiving the rebellion of his creatures because he loves them with a Love which is stronger than all evil, all death.
God wishes to give to us this "power of grace and mercy” through authentic communion of life with his Son Jesus. In Him we too become “powerful”, we are “raised” above the power of evil and the accomplices of this evil whom the Lord calls, referring to the darnel present in the world, “ the subjects of the Evil One ” (cfr. Mt 13, 38). With the power of his grace Jesus frees us from the web tirelessly woven by evil and wraps us in his mercy which protects us from our selfishness. Jesus exercises this power, especially though the sacraments, particularly the Eucharist and Reconciliation. We can draw continually from these two inexhaustible sources of grace which lie at the heart of the Church and are always open. The Prophet Isaiah foretold that which has been accomplished in Jesus Christ: “ All you who thirst, come you to the waters, and he who has no money come you, buy, and eat; yes, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price. Why do you spend money for that which is not bread? and your labor for that which doesn’t satisfy? listen diligently to me, and eat you that which is good, and let your soul delight itself in fatness. Turn your ear, and come to me; hear, and your soul shall live. ” (Is 55, 1-3)
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The Blessed Virgin Mary reminds us that there exists a power of grace and mercy which is freely given to every believer in Christ. We need only to go to Him with confidence of heart, the same confidence which Our Lady, more than anyone else, can and desires to teach us. She lived this confidence perfectly and God allows her to lavish it on his children. The confidence that Our Mother wishes to give us opens wide the doors of mercy, because it is confidence which is humble, simple, confidence learned at the best school! (Agenzia Fides 29/7/2009)