As this Dec. 7th, the 68th anniversary of the Pearl Harbor attack, causes us to reflect on war and suffering, the Church has us read:
Isaiah 35: 1-10
The desert and the parched land will exult;
the steppe will rejoice and bloom.
They will bloom with abundant flowers,
and rejoice with joyful song.
The glory of Lebanon will be given to them,
the splendor of Carmel and Sharon;
They will see the glory of the LORD,
the splendor of our God.
Strengthen the hands that are feeble,
make firm the knees that are weak,
Say to those whose hearts are frightened:
Be strong, fear not!
Here is your God,
he comes with vindication;
With divine recompense
he comes to save you.
Then will the eyes of the blind be opened,
the ears of the deaf be cleared;
Then will the lame leap like a stag,
then the tongue of the mute will sing.
Streams will burst forth in the desert,
and rivers in the steppe.
The burning sands will become pools,
and the thirsty ground, springs of water;
The abode where jackals lurk
will be a marsh for the reed and papyrus.
A highway will be there,
called the holy way;
No one unclean may pass over it,
nor fools go astray on it.
No lion will be there,
nor beast of prey go up to be met upon it.
It is for those with a journey to make,
and on it the redeemed will walk.
Those whom the LORD has ransomed will return
and enter Zion singing,
crowned with everlasting joy;
They will meet with joy and gladness, sorrow and mourning will flee.
Isaiah sees each man’s part, “Strengthen the hands that are feeble, make firm the knees that are weak. Say to those whose hearts are frightened, ‘Be strong, fear not! Here is your God’ ” With Isaiah, Pope Benedict XVI sees every man’s participation in this coming of peace, this becoming of each and every man and woman. Benedict sees the vocation of all as integral in their fulfillment and God’s destiny for His people.
St. Augustin wrote:
The garden of the Lord, brethren, includes - yes, it truly includes - includes not only the roses of martyrs but also the lilies of virgins, and the ivy of married people, and the violets of widows. There is absolutely no kind of human beings, my dearly beloved, who need to despair of their vocation; Christ suffered for all. It was very truly written about him: who wishes all men to be saved, and to come to the acknowledgement of the truth.
In Caritas in Veritate, Pope Benedict quotes Pope Paul V in Populorum Progressio:
“ Progress, in its origin and essence, is first and foremost a vocation: “in the design of God, every man is called upon to develop and fulfill himself, for every life is a vocation.” This is what gives legitimacy to the Church’s involvement in the whole question of development. If development were concerned with merely technical aspects of human life, and not with the meaning of man’s pilgrimage through history in company with his fellow human beings, nor with identifying the goal of that journey, then the Church would not be entitled to speak on it.”
Further, Pope Benedict challenges every woman/man, every generation,
“Love in truth — caritas in veritate — is a great challenge for the Church in a world that is becoming progressively and pervasively globalized. The risk for our time is that the de facto interdependence of people and nations is not matched by ethical interaction of consciences and minds that would give rise to truly human development. Only in charity, illumined by the light of reason and faith, is it possible to pursue development goals that possess a more humane and humanizing value.
Benedict goes on to say:
“Fidelity to man requires fidelity to the truth, which alone is the guarantee of freedom (Jn 8:32) and of the possibility of integral human development. For this reason the Church searches for truth, proclaims it tirelessly and recognizes it wherever it is manifested. This mission of truth is something that the Church can never renounce.”
Benedict with Isaiah calls us to a journey and a service to truth which sets us free, despite the constantly changing life-patterns of the society of peoples and nations.