Monday, October 3, 2011

Benedict XVI in Germany, My Take: "Where God is, There is a Future"

Pope Benedict XVI told folks in Germany that where there is God, there is hope. Works for me.

This is the seventh of seven posts:
  1. "Benedict XVI in Germany, My Take: Hope, Confidence, and Looking Forward"
    (September 27, 2011)
  2. "Benedict XVI in Germany, My Take: Liberation, Transformation, and Getting Personal"
    (September 27, 2011)
  3. "Benedict XVI in Germany, My Take: Scandal, Abuse, and the Cross"
    (September 28, 2011)
  4. "Benedict XVI in Germany, My Take: Harlots and Pharisees, Agnostics and Routine Believers"
    (September 29, 2011)
  5. "Benedict XVI in Germany, My Take: Dissent, Conversion, and Knowledge"
    (September 30, 2011)
  6. "Benedict XVI in Germany, My Take: We're Not About 'Joyless Saints' "
    (October 1, 2011)
  7. "Benedict XVI in Germany, My Take: 'Where God is, There is a Future' "
    (October 3, 2011)
Now, about the Pope, God, and the future:

"Where God is, There is a Future"

"...After praying the Angelus in the cathedral, the Pope then emerged to greet local people gathered in the town's Cathedral Square. He began by reminding them of the motto for his visit: 'Where God is, there is a future.'

" 'As the Successor of Saint Peter, who was commissioned by the Lord to strengthen his brethren, I too have come willingly to you, in order to pray together with you, to proclaim the word of God and to celebrate the Eucharist,' said the Pope...."
(CNA (September 24, 2011))
I could be a nitpicker and point out that since God continually upholds and sustains creation,1 where God is absent - never mind the future, there isn't a present for someone to be in. That'd be silly, though.

Benedict XVI was, I gather, reminding the folks in Germany - and us - about the basics of God. Some of them, anyway:
"...He said he hoped the events of the next 24-hours will help the people of the city 'become aware once more how much God loves us and how good he is, so that we may trustingly place ourselves and all our cares and concerns into his hands.'

" 'In him our future is assured,' said the Pope. He added that Jesus 'gives meaning to our lives and can bring them to fulfillment.'..."
(CNA (September 24, 2011))
Partly because I like organizing information, I took some of what the Catholic Church says about Jesus and what our lives mean, and broke it out into bite-sized chunks:
  • The big picture
    • Jesus died for our sins
      (1 John 2:1-2)
    • Nobody will be forced into heaven
      (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1033-1037)
    • After the Last Judgment comes the Kingdom of God
      (Catechism, 1042-1050)
  • Meanwhile, we have work to do
    • Making society better
      (Catechism, 1928-1942)
    • It's everybody's job
      • Children
      • Pupils
      • Employees
      • Subordinates
      • Citizens
        • We're obliged to get involved in public life
          (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1915)
      • Those who administer or govern countries
      • Parents
      • Instructors
      • Teachers
      • Leaders
      • "All who exercise authority over others or over a community of persons"
        (Catechism, 2199)
I could have a shot at making that look like a huge burden, or unreasonable demands: but that wouldn't make sense, either. Not in my opinion.

"Jesus loves me, this I know..." is a simple idea, one that most folks learned in childhood 'back in my day.' There's more to being a Christian than that: but I think it's a good idea to remember basic, simple truths like that now and then.

Changing the World

Joseph Ratzinger/Pope Benedict XVI was born in 1927, experienced Nazi Germany as a young man, became a priest in 1951, and was President of the Commission for the Preparation of the Catechism of the Catholic Church.2 Quite a lot has happened during his life. His homeland was cut in two after World War II, with the east half getting a double whammy of dealing with the mess left by Germany's grand social engineering project - while being a workers' paradise. After decades of workers trying to escape to the west, Germany was reunified.

There's a 'good news/bad news' gag lurking in there somewhere, but never mind.

Benedict XVI had a special meeting before leaving his home country:
"...Chancellor Kohl, now aged 81 and in a wheelchair, oversaw the reunification of East and West Germany in 1990. Pope Benedict himself specially requested the meeting."
(CNA (September 24, 2011))
That's a nice little bit of human interest: and a reminder that:
  • Change happens
  • People can make change happen
    • Change can be
      • Bad
      • Good
The trick, I think, is to figure out which changes are best - and how to make them happen.

More posts in this series:Other related posts:
In the news:

1 Sometimes it feels like God's nowhere around. But that's just a subjective experience. And, in my case, the result of glitchy brain chemistry. and that's another topic. (March 4, 2010)
"With creation, God does not abandon his creatures to themselves. He not only gives them being and existence, but also, and at every moment, upholds and sustains them in being, enables them to act and brings them to their final end. Recognizing this utter dependence with respect to the Creator is a source of wisdom and freedom, of joy and confidence:
"For you love all things that exist, and detest none of the things that you have made; for you would not have made anything if you had hated it. How would anything have endured, if you had not willed it? Or how would anything not called forth by you have been preserved? You spare all things, for they are yours, O Lord, you who love the living.160..."
(Catechism of the Catholic Church, 301)
I've told why I had to give up the 'clockwork universe idea:
2 More about Joseph Ratzinger:
  • "RATZINGER Card. Joseph"
    College of Cardinals Biographical notes, Holy See Press Office (Updated March 20, 2005)

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