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Pope’s Lenten retreat: cardinal reflects on liturgy, history

Catholic World News - February 20, 2013

Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi, who is leading the annual Lenten retreat for the Pope and leaders of the Roman Curia, preached on the afternoon of February 18 on God’s revelation in the liturgy.

Cardinal Ravasi reflected on “the need for a deeper analysis of the heart, so that worship does not become a merely external rite, as the prophet Isaiah notes when he says that God hates offerings and sacrifices,” according to a Vatican Radio summary of his meditation. “The vertical gaze towards God and the horizontal gaze towards our brethren” are two dimensions of the liturgy that must be kept in balance, the summary added.

The following morning, Cardinal Ravasi, citing Psalms 136 and 117, preached on God’s revelation in history. “History is and should always be our favored place to meet our Lord, our God, although it is a land of scandal, even if it is a land in which we often see maybe even the silence of God or apostasy of men,” he said.

“Through hope, we are certain that we are not at the mercy of fate, an imponderable fate,” he added. “Our God is defined in Exodus 3 with the first person pronoun ‘I’ and the fundamental verb ‘I am.’ So He is a Person who acts, who enters into events and that’s why our relationship with God is a relationship of trust, dialogue, contact. Yes, our hope springs from the belief that history is not a succession of events without meaning.”

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