"...far away from God, man is unsettled..." Pope Benedict XVI

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

In the USA, we celebrate “Thanksgiving Day”. Perhaps for Catholic Christians, every day anywhere in the world can be a Day to Give Thanks to God for everything He has done, is doing, and will do in our lives – for He is Love and He works all things unto good for those who love Him and are called according to His Purpose (cf Rom 8:28). May we truly give thanks to Him first!

Pope Benedict XVI’s encyclical “Charity in Truth” is among the many gifts I am grateful for today. We are coming very close to its conclusion but in today’s excerpt below, I continue to marvel at the insights, God has given the Church and the world through this Pope. He saw clearly the dangers we are facing in greater numbers today, “man’s interiority” is being emptied of its meaning…

  1. One aspect of the contemporary technological mindset is the tendency to consider the problems and emotions of the interior life from a purely psychological point of view, even to the point of neurological reductionism. In this way man’s interiority is emptied of its meaning and gradually our awareness of the human soul’s ontological depths, as probed by the saints, is lost. The question of development is closely bound up with our understanding of the human soul, insofar as we often reduce the self to the psyche and confuse the soul’s health with emotional well-being. These over-simplifications stem from a profound failure to understand the spiritual life, and they obscure the fact that the development of individuals and peoples depends partly on the resolution of problems of a spiritual nature. Development must include not just material growth but also spiritual growth, since the human person is a “unity of body and soul”, born of God’s creative love and destined for eternal life. The human being develops when he grows in the spirit, when his soul comes to know itself and the truths that God has implanted deep within, when he enters into dialogue with himself and his Creator. When he is far away from God, man is unsettled and ill at ease. Social and psychological alienation and the many neuroses that afflict affluent societies are attributable in part to spiritual factors. A prosperous society, highly developed in material terms but weighing heavily on the soul, is not of itself conducive to authentic development. The new forms of slavery to drugs and the lack of hope into which so many people fall can be explained not only in sociological and psychological terms but also in essentially spiritual terms. The emptiness in which the soul feels abandoned, despite the availability of countless therapies for body and psyche, leads to suffering. There cannot be holistic development and universal common good unless people’s spiritual and moral welfare is taken into account, considered in their totality as body and soul.

As we give thanks today, let us not forget to pray for all those who are suffering in the Church and in the world. Let us offer reparation for our owns sins and for the sins of all those in most need of God’s Mercy. Let us ask God to turn us back to Him from all the ways in which we may have wandered and deliver us from evil, Amen.

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