New Insights on the Gospels

March for Life 2012

Evil triumphs when good men do nothing - Edmund Burke

Thursday, August 5, 2010

The human being, 'a pilgrim of the Absolute' - Pope John Paul II

The human being, 'a pilgrim of the Absolute'


Human life on earth is a pilgrimage. We are all aware of being in transit in this world. Our lives begin and end, they start at birth and go on till the moment of death. We are transitory beings. And on life's pilgrimage religion helps us to live in such a way as to reach our true destination. We are constantly kept aware of the transitory nature of this life, which we know to be extremely important as the preparation for life eternal. Our pilgrim faith directs us towards God and guides us in discharging those choices which will help us to win eternal life. So, every moment of our earthly pilgrimage is important - important as to its challenges, as to the choices we make.

In the Revelation of the Old and New Covenants,we who live in the visible world amid temporal things are also deeply aware of God's presence penetrating every aspect of our lives. This living God is in fact our last and absolute bulwark amid all the trials and sufferings of earthly existence. We yearn to possess this God once and for all, the moment we experience his presence. We strive to attain the vision of his face. In the words of the psalmist 'As the heart longs for flowing streams, so my soul longs for you O God.'

While we strive to know God, to see his face and experience his presence, God turns to us to reveal his own life to us. The Second Vatican Council dwelt at length on the importance of God's activities in the world, explaining that 'with the divine revelation God wished to manifest and communicate himself and his will's eternal decrees with regard to the salvation of mankind.'
This notwithstanding, this merciful and loving God who communicates himself through Revelation still remains an inscrutable mystery to us. And we, pilgrims of the Absolute, keep seeking the face of God throughout our lives. But, at the end of the pilgrimage of faith, we reach 'the Father's house', and being in this house' means seeing God face to face' (1 Corinthians 13:12)."

From the very beginning the human race has been called by God 'to subdue the earth and master it' (Genesis 1:28). We have received this earth from the Lord as a gift and as a responsibility. Made in his image and likeness, we have a special dignity. We are master and lord of the good things placed by the Creator in what he has made. We are collaborators with our Creator.

This being so, we for our part must never forget that all the good things that fill the created world are the Creator's gift. For so Holy Scripture advises us: 'Beware of thinking for yourself, "My own strength and the might of my own hand have given me the power to act like this." Remember the Lord your God; he was the one who gave you the strength to acquire riches, so as to keep, as he does today, the covenant which he swore to your ancestors' (Deuteronomy 8:17-18).

How apposite this advice has been in the course of human history! How especially apposite it is at the present day, with our progress in science and technology! For as we contemplate our brilliant achievements, the works of our mind and of our hands, we seem to grow more and more forgetful of him who is the author of all these works and of all the good things which the earth and the created world contain. The more we subdue the earth and master it, the more we seem to forget the Lord who has given us the earth and all the good things it contains.

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