On the feast of the Assumption, the Pope spoke from the heart — and from St. Augustine, says CNS.
Giving his homily without using a text or notes, the pope said that according to St. Augustine, human history has been driven by a struggle between two kinds of love: love for God in which one “loses oneself and gives oneself” totally to him and loving oneself to “the point of disparaging God and hating others.”
Pope Benedict said this selfish love versus true love can be seen in the two images present in the feast day’s first reading from the Book of Revelation, an account of the encounter between the powerful dragon and the defenseless woman.
The dragon, he said, represents “power without mercy, without love, of absolute selfishness, terror, violence” as well as all “materialistic dictatorships” throughout history, including the Nazi and Stalinist regimes.
“Even today the dragon exists in new and different ways,” he said.
It is present in the form of materialistic ideologies that consider God as something expendable or pointless and that maintain life is all about “consumption, selfishness, amusement” and “taking all there is to get in this brief lifetime,” the pope said.
“Once again it seems absurd, impossible to defy this dominant mentality,” especially with the support it gets in the media, he said.
But, “nonetheless, we know that in the end the defenseless woman won” the battle against the dragon, signaling the victory of God’s love, he said.
The woman clothed with the sun and with the moon under her feet represents the Mary “living totally in God … penetrated by the light of God” and conquering death, said the pope.
“She tells us: ‘Have courage. In the end love wins,'” he said, adding that this love entailed living her life as a servant of God and giving herself totally to God and others.
The feast of the Assumption “is an invitation to have faith in God, to imitate Mary” and “to give our lives, not seize life,” Pope Benedict said.
Love is stronger than hatred, he said, and the seemingly weak God, who came to the world as a baby, is strong. Though faith in God may seem weak against all earthly powers, it “is the true power in the world,” said the pope.