Pope Francis: God’s Providence Is Not Abstract
Reflects on the Nature of Divine Providence During Angelus Address
VATICAN CITY, March 03, 2014 (Zenit.org) – Pope Francis reflected on what he described as “one of the most comforting truths: divine providence.” The Holy Father addressed thousands of pilgrims gathered in St. Peter’s Square for his Sunday Angelus address.
Reflecting on the first reading from Isaiah, the Pope remarked on the beauty of God’s love. “God does not forget us, each one of us! He does not forget about each of us with a first and last name. He loves us and does not forget us. What a beautiful thought!” he said.
The Holy Father drew a parallel from Isaiah’s reading to the Gospel of St. Matthew, in which Christ makes the invitation to trust in God. Look at the birds in the sky, they do not sow or reap, they gather nothing into barns, yet your heavenly Father feeds them,” Christ says in the Gospel.
“But considering the many people who live in precarious conditions, or in a misery that offends their dignity, these words of Jesus might seem abstract, if not illusory,” the Pope said. “But in reality they are more actual than ever!”
Speaking on Jesus’ reminder of not serving 2 masters, God and money, the Holy Father said that one must understand that if “everyone is out to get whatever he can for himself, there will never be justice.” By trusting in God’s providence, all can have the possibility to live in dignity.
“A heart that is preoccupied with the desire to possess is a heart that is full of this desire to possess, but it lacks God,” he explained. “For this reason Jesus often admonished the rich, because the temptation to place their trust in the goods of this world is strong, and security, true security, is in God. In a heart possessed by riches, there is no longer much room for faith: everything is concerned with riches, there is no room for faith.”
The Holy Father went on to say that in placing God first, His love will lead all to share our riches with those in need. God’s generosity will manifest itself when one places their wealth at the service of others.
“If, however,” he warned, “someone acquires things only for himself, what will happen to him when he is called by God? He cannot bring his riches with him, because, as you know, there are no pockets in the burial shroud! It is better to share because we only bring to heaven what we shared with others.”
Before reciting the Angelus prayer, Pope Francis said that while this perspective seems unrealistic given today’s economic climate, it “leads us to the right hierarchy of values.”
“To ensure that no one lacks bread, water, clothing, housing, work, health we need to recognize each other as children of the heavenly Father and so as brothers to each other, and conduct ourselves accordingly,” he concluded. (J.A.E.)