Tuesday, November 07, 2006

The Unrepentant Exclude Themselves From the Kingdom of LIfe

At midday Sunday, in his remarks prior to the Angelus prayer, Benedict XVI told the thousands of pilgrims gathered in St. Peter's Square that these days following the recent commemoration of All Souls represent "a good occasion to recall our loved ones in prayer, and to reflect upon the reality of death."

A reality, the Pope went on, that wealthy societies "often seek to remove from people's consciences, which are entirely occupied with the concerns of daily life." However, "despite all the distractions, the loss of a loved one causes us to rediscover 'the problem,' making us feel death as a real presence, radically hostile and contrary to our natural vocation to life and happiness.

"Jesus revolutionized the meaning of death," the Holy Father added. "He did so with His teachings, but above all by facing death Himself. ... With the Spirit that cannot die - one of the Church Fathers writes - Christ killed death that kills man. In this way, the Son of God wished to share our human condition, ... and reopen it to hope."

"Since then, death is not the same, it has been deprived, so to say, of its 'poison.' The love of God, working in Jesus, has, in fact given a new meaning to man's entire existence, also transforming death. ... Those who undertake to live like Him are freed from the fear of death, which no longer laughs scornfully like an enemy but, as St. Francis writes in his Canticle of Creatures, shows the friendly face of a sister."

"Faith reminds us that there is no cause to be afraid of the death of the body, because it is a sleep from which we will one day be woken. True death, which we should fear, is the death of the soul, which the Apocalypse calls 'second death.' Indeed, those who die in mortal sin, unrepentant and closed in the proud refusal of God's love, exclude themselves from the kingdom of life."

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