In an address Pope Benedict XVI recently gave to a Congress taking place in the Diocese of Rome, he spoke about the danger of “putting God in parentheses” in our lives. Pope Benedict lamented how “our civilization and our culture too often tend to place God in parentheses, to organize personal and social life without him, to maintain that nothing can be known of God, even to deny his existence. But when God is laid aside, all our hopes, great and small, rest on nothing” (Address at Saint John Lateran, 10 June 2008). Similarly, at the Inauguration of his Pontificate, Pope Benedict reminded us that we should not be afraid to give God His proper place in our lives, as if He will deprive us of freedom or of joy. He said, also echoing the words of Pope John Paul II at the beginning of his own Pontificate: “Are we not perhaps all afraid in some way? If we let Christ enter fully into our lives, if we open ourselves totally to Him, are we not afraid that He might take something away from us? Are we not perhaps afraid to give up something significant, something unique, something that makes life so beautiful? Do we not then risk ending up diminished and deprived of our freedom? No! If we let Christ into our lives, we lose nothing, nothing, absolutely nothing of what makes life free, beautiful and great. No! Only in this friendship are the doors of life opened wide. Only in this friendship is the great potential of human existence truly revealed. Only in this friendship do we experience beauty and liberation” (Homily, 24 April 2005).
It is curious to note that as societies and individuals exclude God from their lives and from the marketplace, statistics do not show that there is a greater joy accompanying this trend. In fact, the opposite is shown to be true. When we think that everything depends on us and we treat God as an intruder, the result is not peace and contentment but a never-ending search for an ever-elusive joy, often sought apart from God.
From the article:
"With God on Vacation"
by Cardinal Justin Rigali