Turn your face to the sun and the shadows fall behind you.
CALOOCAN CITY, Metro Manila — For as long as Mankind remembers and throughout history, war, sickness, and poverty concerns have been with us since the dawn of time.
The Holy Book tells us that Lucifer, whose name means ‘star of the morning’, rebelled against God. He held a high-ranking position in God’s angelic host and had exquisite beauty and great wisdom. With this great power and influence, Lucifer was also called ‘the guardian cherub’.
God described Lucifer in Ezekiel, Chapter 28 Verse 12: “You were the model of perfection, full of wisdom and perfect in beauty. You were in Eden, the garden of God…You were anointed as a guardian cherub, for so I ordained you. You were on the holy mount of God; you walked among the fiery stones. You were blameless in your ways from the day you were created till wickedness was found in you. Through your widespread trade, you were filled with violence, and you sinned. So I drove you in disgrace from the mount of God, and I expelled you, O guardian cherub, from among the fiery stones. Your heart became proud on account of your beauty, and you corrupted your wisdom because of your splendor. So I threw you to earth; I made a spectacle of you before kings.”
Cherubim are depicted in Scripture as powerful and majestic angelic creatures who surround God’s throne. And Lucifer had once been a guardian cherub. Ironically, after Adam and Eve succumbed to the devil’s temptations, disobeyed God, and were expelled from Eden, God sent cherubim to guard Eden (Genesis 3:24).
Since Lucifer had been the model of perfection, what sort of sin led to his fall? His heart became proud because of his incredible beauty. Lucifer allowed his perfection to be the cause of his corruption.
Parallel to Lucifer’s fall, Man has likewise experienced his own fall.
The fall of man—the fall of Adam, or simply the Fall—is a term used to describe the transition of the first man and woman from a state of innocent obedience to God to a state of guilty disobedience. The doctrine of the Fall comes from a biblical interpretation of Genesis, chapters 1–3. At first, Adam and Eve lived with God in the Garden of Eden, but the serpent tempted them into eating the fruit from the tree of knowledge of good and evil, which God had forbidden. After doing so, they became ashamed of their nakedness and God expelled them from the Garden to prevent them from eating from the tree of life and becoming immortal.
In mainstream Christianity, the doctrine of the Fall is closely related to that of original or ancestral sin. It is believed that the Fall brought sin into the world, corrupting the entire natural world, including human nature, causing all humans to be born into original sin, a state from which they cannot attain eternal life without the grace of God.
In this regard, we can consider that the problems we now face in our modern world are due to Man’s fall and his disobedience to God. We suffer, until today, this attitude not only to the Divine Will but also to all things around us, including nature and our environment and even our relationship with our own kind.
This is why Pope Francis is urging people across the globe to unite towards a change in humanity’s course by working together for the common good and tackling ongoing global problems such as war, pandemics, and poverty.
Francis enthused: “Only by discovering what unites us, brothers and sisters, will we find the way out of the crisis we are going through, which did not begin today . . .”
The pope stressed it is a time to “change course” and all are challenged to do so.
“Today is a time of trial, a time of choice . . . It is time to reset the course,” he said.
What the world actually needs is sustainable and integral development and new ways of understanding that in order for Mankind to survive and avoid extinction, economy and progress must be achieved through God’s guidance, as well as debt-relief for developing countries and the need to put an end to the exploitation of the earth, the arms race and the exploitation of people, especially children.
Pope Francis warned that people need to be “creativity directed” for the “common good” to effectively respond to crises. He singled out justice and forgiveness as the pillars of true success in a world plagued by wars.
In reference to the ongoing war in Ukraine, it is sad to note that until now, we “measured our success by war.” Right after the 9/11 terror attack, Pope John Paul II reacted: “The shattered order cannot be fully restored until justice and forgiveness are combined.
“The pillars of true peace are justice and forgiveness, which is a particular form of love. There is a time for everything. Before forgiveness comes the condemnation of evil. It is essential, however, not to cultivate war, but to prepare peace, to sow peace.”
John Paul also insisted that ecological commitment must be a priority in the world today, specifically mentioning the Italian territory known as Terra dei Fuochi (land of fires) between Naples and Caserta regions that are filled with abusive landfills and waste is dumped to dispose of, recycle and burn. The toxic fires and fumes here have been blamed as part of global environmental degradation.
The pontiff also pointed out the recent devastating floods in the Italian region of Marche following heavy rain, which left at least nine dead.
He repeated once that “everything is connected,” and urged that we must “start again” from this awareness.
“Today, it is indispensable that every single person and the entire international community assume as a priority the ecological commitment to collegial, solidarity-based, and far-sighted actions,” John Paul stated as a grave reminder.
In conclusion, the pope disclosed that politics must be considered “the highest form of charity” and he particularly pointed out organized crime as a “scourge” and insisted that the world should think in terms of solidarity and set its mind toward having a genuine relationship with time, history and the land.
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