Monday, December 03, 2007

Spe Salvi: the 2nd encyclical of our holy father Benedict

Pope Benedict XVI released his second encyclical, Spe Salvi, on Christian hope, on the feast of St. Andrew, 30 November 2007.

The full text is available in English on the website of the Holy See. Click here to read.

Due to the straits of his life at present, Melancholicus sometimes finds it difficult to keep his sights set on the glory of God, and of the joys which hereafter await those who remain faithful until the end. Sometimes it is tempting to believe that God has forgotten, or does not care, about the travails of His people on earth, particularly when fervent prayers have gone unanswered for so long. Sometimes it seems as though God and His saints are deaf to earthly entreaties, and that Heaven has rolled itself up like a blanket, only to disappear completely.

In these circumstances it is easy to despair, and to seek comfort instead in earthly things, since Heaven is silent. Yet faith tells us that God and His saints have not abandoned us, and that they are with us always, even and especially at those times when Heaven seems most silent and the grace of God most absent.

Melancholicus could here rehearse the familiar parable of the footsteps in the sand, but that would be too cloyingly sentimental for his phlegmatic disposition.

Whence the importance of the virtue of hope, and of fortitude as well. Melancholicus has not yet finished reading the Holy Father’s new encyclical, but he has found it thus far an important and inspiring document, and it will be his staple reading in this season of Advent.

Today is also the feast of St. Francis Xavier, a missionary of extraordinary piety and miracles, and a saint for whom Melancholicus has a special affection. St. Francis was a Jesuit, but let us not hold that against him. Let us instead begin a novena to St. Francis this very evening.

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