Vatican City, Nov 18, 2007 (CNA) - Before starting the Angelus prayer today in St. Peter's Square, Pope Benedict XVI expressed his closeness with the people of Bangladesh, who were devastated by Cyclone Sidr this past Thursday, and implored the international community to provide assistance to those who are suffering from the consequences of this calamity.
Government sources report that Sidr has taken the lives of 2,217 people, although local media estimate that the death toll could reach three thousand when the counting is finished in the more remote areas. The Holy Father reminded those suffering that they should turn to Jesus who promised to meet our everyday needs and that they should live "trusting in his loving providence."
The Pontiff expressed his closeness to those who are suffering and launched an appeal for international solidarity, which has already acted to address the immediate need. "
"I encourage every effort to be put into action to provide relief to those brothers who are being severely tested," said the Pope.
Vatican City, Nov 18, 2007 (CNA) - With thousands of faithful gathered in St. Peter's Square for the Angelus prayer today, Pope Benedict XVI rejected the "recurring messianisms" that are continually announcing the imminent end the world. He explained that "history is ongoing, and involves human tragedies and natural calamities."
Reflecting on the Gospel reading for this Sunday, the Holy Father recalled that, since its inception, the Church "prayerfully lives in the care of its Lord, scrutinizing the signs of the times and keeping the faithful on guard against the calls of messianisms, which from time to time announce the imminent end of the world ".
"Actually, the Pontiff said, history must take its course, which also involves human tragedies and natural calamities. As time develops, the design of salvation that Christ has already taken effect in his incarnation, death and resurrection [becomes clearer]. This mystery is continually announced by the Church and actualized in her preaching, with the celebration of the sacraments and the testimony of charity. "
Faced with the problems of life, "do not be afraid for the future," said the pope, who urged parishioners to accept "the invitation of Christ to face everyday events trusting his love."
Antidote against nihilism: faith and charity
Finally, Benedict XVI highlighted the example of charity of consecrated persons, especially those who "have withdrawn into contemplation enclosed in monasteries".
“Monasteries”, he said, are a "spiritual oasis" which indicate that God and his love are the ultimate reason worth living for.
"Faith that operates in charity is the true antidote to the nihilistic mentality, which in our time is always expanding its influence in the world," the Holy Father stressed.