Liturgical Prayer

Have nothing, yet possess all

The following are excerpts from the Vatican II document Gaudium et spes, Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World. It is a part of the Office of Readings for Saturday of the Fourth Week of Lent.

All human activity is to find its purification in the paschal mystery.

Sacred Scripture teaches the human family what the experience of the ages confirms: that while human progress is a great advantage, it brings with it a strong temptation. When the order of values is jumbled and bad is mixed with the good, individuals and groups consider only their own interests and not those of others. Thus it happens that the world ceases to be a place of true kinship.

A monumental struggle against the powers of darkness pervades the whole of human history. In our own day, the magnified power of humanity threatens to destroy the race itself. If anyone wants to know how this unhappy situation can be overcome, Christians will tell them that all human activity, constantly imperiled by pride and inordinate self-love, must be purified and perfected by the power of Christ's cross and resurrection.

Redeemed by Christ and made anew in the Holy Spirit, humankind is able to love the things themselves created by God, and ought to do so. We can receive them from God and respect and reverence them as flowing constantly from the hand of God. Using and enjoying them in detachment and liberty of spirit, we are led forward into a true possession of them: as having nothing, yet possessing all.

All are yours, and you are Christ's, and Christ is God's.

For God's Word, through whom all things were made, was made flesh and dwelt on earth. Perfect, Jesus entered the world's history and revealed to us that God is love.

To those who believe in divine love there is assurance that the way of love lies open to all, and that the effort to establish universal kinship is not a hopeless one. Love is not to be sought after only in great things but also, above all, in the ordinary circumstances of life.

Undergoing death for you and me, Jesus taught us that we too must shoulder that cross which the world and the flesh inflict upon those who search after peace and justice.

The gifts of the Spirit are many. While some are called to give clear witness to the desire for a heavenly home and to keep that desire green among the human family, others are summoned to dedicate themselves to the earthly service of others and to make ready the material of the celestial realm.

We are all free. By putting aside love of self and bringing all earthly resources into the service of human life, we can devote ourselves to that future when humanity itself will become an offering acceptable to God.

Let nothing be preferred to the Work of God – Rule of Benedict 43:3

Gaudium et spes, nn. 37-38