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Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Edification from il Papa

One can be materially poor but have a heart full of anxiety for wealth and power, which comes from wealth. The fact that one lives in envy and avarice shows that, in one's heart, one is part of the rich. One wishes to reverse the distribution of goods, but only so that oneself will be in the situation that the rich occupied before. Poverty in Jesus' sense -- in the prophets' sense -- presupposes above all interior freedom from avarice and the will to power.

It is about a much greater reality than a different distribution of goods, which would be limited to the material realm, and which make hearts even harder. Above all, it is about the purification of the heart, thanks to which one recognizes that possession is responsibility before others which, in the sight of God, allows itself to be guided by Jesus who, being rich, became poor for us (cf. 2 Corinthians 8:9).

Interior freedom presupposes the surmounting of corruption and avarice which at this point devastate the world; this freedom may be found only if God becomes our wealth, it may be found only in the patience of daily renunciations, in which it develops as authentic freedom. On Palm Sunday we acclaim Jesus, the king who points out to us the way to this goal, and we ask him to take us with him on his path.

I am puzzled by two translations of one word, sguardo. In one place this is translated 'look': che diventò anche per i suoi discepoli la chiave per la comprensione dell'evento quando, dopo la Pasqua, ripercorsero con uno sguardo nuovo quelle giornate tumultuose, 'which became for his disciples the key to understand that event when, after Easter, they recalled those tumultuous days with a new look.' This makes it sound to me as if the disciples have just had a wardrobe makeover. And at another point, it is translated 'glance': Penetrando con lo sguardo le nubi della storia che separavano il profeta da Gesù,, 'Penetrating with a glance the clouds of history' (the second part ['which separate the prophet from Jesus'?] is absent in the English). Again this seems odd - glances are not penetrating, surely? (Unless the idea is that, precisely by looking quickly from one to the other, one sees the connection more surely than if one took the intervening centuries into account and got lost in the mists of time?)

In no way do I wish to criticise Zenit's tireless translators, especially as I don't understand Italian. It just so happened that these two sentences in the English struck me as odd, and when I looked at the Italian they turned out to involve the same word. Now in my (wee Collins) dictionary, 'look' and 'glance' were the translations suggested; yet in neither case do these words seem quite appropriate. Something like, 'they recalled these tumultuous days with new eyes', in the first case, and 'gazing through the clouds of history', perhaps? Or are those making unacceptably free with a simple wee word? Can anyone out there comment usefully?

Anyway. More importantly:

The new weapon Jesus puts in our hands is the cross, sign of reconciliation, of love that is stronger than death. Every time we make the sign of the cross, we must remember not to respond to an injustice with more injustice, to violence with more violence; we must remember that we can only overcome evil with good, without returning evil for evil.