Gravitational fields in the spiritual life 

POPE BENEDICT XVI

The Fathers of the Church maintained that human beings stand at the point of intersection between two gravitational fields.

First, there is the force of gravity which pulls us down — towards selfishness, falsehood and evil; the gravity which diminishes us and distances us from the heights of God. On the other hand there is the gravitational force of God's love: the fact that we are loved by God and respond in love attracts us upwards. Man finds himself betwixt this twofold gravitational force; everything depends on our escaping the gravitational field of evil and becoming free to be attracted completely by the gravitational force of God, which makes us authentic, elevates us, and grants us true freedom ...

Of ourselves, we are too weak to lift up our hearts to the heights of God. We cannot do it. The very pride of thinking that we are able to do it on our own drags us down and estranges from God. God himself must draw us up, and this is what Christ began to do on the cross. He descended to the depths of our human existence in order to draw us up to himself, to the living God. He humbled himself ... Only in this way could our pride be vanquished: God's humility is the extreme form of his love, and this humble love draws us upwards...

All these means of "ascent" are effective only if we humbly acknowledge that we need to be lifted up; if we abandon the pride of wanting to become God. We need God: he draws us upwards; letting ourselves be upheld by his hands by faith, in other words sets us aright and gives us the inner strength that raises us on high. We need the humility of a faith which seeks the face of God and trusts in the truth of his love.

 

 



ACKNOWLEDGEMENT

Pope Benedict XVI. "Gravitational fields in the spiritual life." from a homily for Palm Sunday (April 17, 2011).

Reprinted with permission of Liberia Editrice Vaticana.

All publication rights to this material belong to Liberia Editrice Vaticana and may not be reproduced without written permission from them.

THE AUTHOR

Pope Benedict XVI is the author of Jesus of Nazareth, Vol II, Jesus of Nazareth, Vol I, Caritas in Veritate: Charity in Truth, Saved in Hope: Spe Salvi, God Is Love: Deus Caritas Est, The End of Time?: The Provocation of Talking about God, Truth and Tolerance: Christian Belief and World Religions, Without Roots: The West, Relativism, Christianity, Islam, Salt of the Earth: An Exclusive Interview on the State of the Church at the End of the Millennium, God and the World: Believing and Living in Our Time, In the Beginning: A Catholic Understanding of the Story of Creation and the Fall, The Spirit of the Liturgy, The Ratzinger Report: An Exclusive Interview on the State of the Church, Introduction to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, Introduction to Christianity, Called to Communion: Understanding the Church Today, Milestones: Memoirs 1927-1977, Behold the Pierced One, and God Is Near Us: The Eucharist, the Heart of Life.

Copyright © 2012 Liberia Editrice Vaticana




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