The forty days of the preparation for Easter, we endeavor to get away from the heathenism that weighs us down, that is always driving us away from God, and we set off toward him once again.
So, too, at the beginning of the Eucharist, in the confession of sin, we are always trying to take up this path again, to set out, to go to the mountain of God's word and God's presence... We must learn that it is only in the silent, barely noticeable things that what is great takes place, that man becomes God's image and the world once more becomes the radiance of God's glory.
Let us ask the Lord to give us a receptivity to his gentle presence; let us ask him to help us not to be so deafened and desensitized by this world's loud outcry that our receptivity fails to register him. Let us ask him that we may hear his quiet voice, go with him, and be of service together with him and in his way, so that his kingdom may become present in this world...
We imitate God, we live by God, like God, by entering into Christ's manner of life. He has climbed down from his divine being and become one of us; he has given himself and does so continually... It is by these little daily virtues, again and again, that we step out of our bitterness, our anger toward others, our refusal to accept the other's otherness; by them, again and again, we open up to each other in forgiveness. This "littleness" is the concrete form of our being like Christ and living like God, imitating God; he has given himself to us so that we can give ourselves to him and to one another.
Pope Benedict XVI. "Forty Days of Preparation." from Many Religions — One Covenant, Israel, the Church and the World (San Francisco, CA: Ignatius Press, 1999).
Reprinted with permission of Ignatius Press.
This excerpt appeared in Benedictus: Day by Day with Pope Benedict XVI.
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 © 1999 Ignatius Press
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