Wednesday, July 27, 2011

From the Vatican Infomation Service

At Mass the other day the reading was about Solomon.  It struck me that if we all prayed the same prayer as King Solomon, desiring true wisdom and an understanding heart, then most of the difficulties in our world would be solved.  Is it not true, that conversion must begin in the hearts of each one of us?  I was delighted to find in my ebox Pope Benedict's Angelus address speaking about this topic.  I thought you all would enjoy reading it.

MORAL RESPONSIBILITY OF THOSE IN GOVERNMENT

VATICAN CITY, 24 JUL 2011 (VIS) -  In his remarks before praying the Angelus this morning, Benedict XVI  commented on the first reading from today's liturgy, a passage from the Book  of Kings in which Solomon, ascending the throne, asks God for an  understanding heart to serve His people with justice and to distinguish  between good and evil.

Addressing the faithful  gathered in the inner courtyard of the Apostolic Palace  at Castelgandolfo, the Pope explained the meaning of Solomon's prayer. "We  know that 'heart' in the Bible indicates not just a part of the body but the  core of the individual, the seat of his intentions and judgments; in other  words, his conscience. An 'understanding heart' means, then, a conscience  capable of listening, sensitive to the voice of truth and thus able to  distinguish good from evil. In Solomon's case the request is motivated by his  responsibility for guiding a nation, Israel, the people whom God chose  to reveal His plan of salvation to the world. The king of Israel must,  then, seek constant harmony with God and listen to His Word, in order to  guide the people along the ways of the Lord, the way of justice and peace.
"However", the  Holy Father added, "the example of Solomon applies to us all. Each of us  has a conscience which makes us, in a certain sense, 'king'; in other words,  which enables us to exercise the supreme human dignity of acting according to  right conscience, doing good and avoiding evil. Moral conscience presupposes  a capacity to listen to the voice of truth, humbly to follow its guidance. People  called to play a role in government naturally have a further responsibility  and, as Solomon teaches, have even greater need of God's help.

"But everyone has  their part to play in their own particular situation. An erroneous mentality  suggests that we should ask God for favours or favourable conditions. Yet the  truth is that the real quality of our lives, and of social life in general,  depends on the sound conscience of each individual, on the capacity of each  person to recognise what is good, distinguish it from evil and patiently seek  to put it into effect".

Pope Benedict concluded:  "May the Virgin Mary help us, with God's grace, to make out own  consciences open to truth and sensitive to justice, in order to serve the Kingdom of God".

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