List of points

There are 2 points in Friends of God refer to World, the.

As I talk to you, and we make conversation together with God, Our Lord, I am simply voicing aloud my personal prayer. I like to remind myself of this very often. You for your part must also make an effort to nourish your own prayer within your souls, even in situations, such as the one we are in today, when we find ourselves having to deal with a topic which, at first sight, does not seem very conducive to a loving dialogue, which is what our conversation with God should aim to be. I say 'at first sight', because, of course, everything that happens to us, everything that goes on around us, can and indeed should form a theme for our meditation.

I want to talk to you about time, that passes so swiftly. I am not going to repeat to you the well-known phrase about one year more being one year less… Nor am I going to suggest that you ask around what others think of the passage of time. If you were to do so, you would probably hear something like, 'Oh divine treasure of youth that slips away, never more to return…', though I admit you may come across other views with a deeper and more supernatural content.

Nor is it my purpose to dwell nostalgically on the brevity of human life. For us Christians the fleetingness of our journey through life should instead be a spur to help us make better use of our time. It should never be a motive for fearing Our Lord, and much less for looking upon death as a disastrous and final end. It had been said in countless ways, some more poetical than others that, by the grace and mercy of God, each year that ends is a step that takes us nearer to Heaven, our final home.

When I reflect on this, how well I understand St Paul's exclamation when he writes to the Corinthians, tempus breve est. How short indeed is the time of our passing through this world! For the true Christian these words ring deep down in his heart as a reproach to his lack of generosity, and as a constant invitation to be loyal. Brief indeed is our time for loving, for giving, for making atonement. It would be very wrong, therefore, for us to waste it, or to cast this treasure irresponsibly overboard. We mustn't squander this period of the world's history which God has entrusted to each one of us.

As I read today's Epistle, I pictured Daniel there surrounded by hungry lions and, without wishing to be pessimistic, for I cannot say that 'old times were better' since every age has its good and bad aspects, I was thinking that at the present time there are also many lions running loose, and that we have to live in this environment. They are lions looking for someone to devour: tamquam leo rugiens, circuit quaerens quem devoret. What can we do to avoid these wild beasts? Perhaps our lot won't be the same as Daniel's. While I am not one for miraculous solutions, I love the wondrous greatness of God when he performs them, and I realise that it would have been easier for God to allay the prophet's hunger, or to place food in front of him. Yet God did not do it that way. Rather he arranged for another prophet, Habacuc, to be transported miraculously from Judea to bring him food. God did not mind working a great miracle here, because Daniel was in the lions' den not through any fault of his own, but on account of the injustice of the devil's hirelings, because he was a servant of God and a destroyer of idols.

We ourselves are also called to destroy many idols, not by doing anything spectacular but by living with the naturalness of an ordinary Christian, sowing peace and joy around us. In this way we will topple the idols of misunderstanding, of injustice, of ignorance, and of those who claim to be self-sufficient and arrogantly turn their backs on God.

Don't be frightened; don't fear any harm, even though the circumstances in which you work are terrible, worse even than those of Daniel in the pit with all those ferocious beasts. God's hand is as powerful as ever and, if necessary, he will work miracles. Be faithful! With a loving, responsible and cheerful faithfulness to the teaching of Christ. Be convinced that our times are no worse than those of other centuries, and that Our Lord is always the same.

I knew an elderly priest who used to say with a smile: 'As for me, I'm always calm and peaceful.' That is how we should always be, immersed in the world, with hungry lions all around, yet never losing our peace, our calm. Always loving, believing and hoping, and never forgetting that Our Lord will work all the miracles we need, if and when we need them.

References to Holy Scripture
References to Holy Scripture