February 23, 2009

The Church and the Forty Days

The Church is being urged ever more loudly and insistently to exchange a distant and unreal redemption by the Word for a more robust redemption by bread and the sure path of politicization. Our experience, then, is of a Church in the wilderness, a Church in her forty-day period. It is one of exposure to emptiness, to a world that seems, religiously speaking, to have become wordless, imageless, soundless; exposure to a world in which the heavens over us are dark and distant and impalpable. And yet for us too and for the Church of our day this time in the wilderness can become a time of grace in which a new love can grow out of suffering induced by God's distance from us.
We often have the oppressive feeling that the manna of our faith will be enough only for the presant day - but God gives us that manna new each day if we allow him to do so. We must live in a world in which in God is seemingly to be found only as One who is dead - but He can strike living water even from dead stones.
A Church in her Lent, in her "forty days" in the wilderness. I believe that during this season of fasting we must hearten ourselves anew to accept our situation in patience and faith and to follow fearlessly after our hidden God. If we journey on in patient faith, then for us too a new day can dawn out of the darkness. And God's bright world, the lost world of images and sounds, will be restored to us again; there will be a new morning in God's good creation.
- Benedictus: Day by Day with Pope Benedict XVI

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