Speeches 2005-13 385
Saint Peter's Square Saturday, 30 October 2010
A young boy's question: Your Holiness, what does it mean to grow up? What must I do to mature following Jesus? Who can help me?
Dear Friends of Italian Catholic Action!
I am simply delighted to meet you; you are here in great numbers in this beautiful square and I thank you from my heart for your affection! Welcome to you all! In particular I greet the President, Professor Franco Miano, and the General Chaplain, Mons. Domenico Sigalini. I greet Cardinal Angelo Bagnasco, President of the Italian Bishops' Conference, the other Bishops, priests, the educators and parents who wanted to come with you.
I heard the question of the young member of Children's Catholic Action. The best answer to the question about what it means to grow up is on your jerseys, your caps, your signs: “There is more”. This motto of yours, which I did not know before, makes me think. What does a child do to see if he is growing up? He compares his height with his friends' and imagines becoming taller in order to feel more grown up. When I was a boy of your age, I was one of the smallest in my class, and so all the more I wanted to be very tall one day; and not only tall in terms of a measuring stick, but I wanted to do something big, something more in my life, even if I did not know this saying “There is more”. Growing taller implies that “There is more”. You are told this by your heart which wants to have a lot of friends, which is happy when you behave well, when you know how to bring joy to mom and dad, but above all when it meets a friend who is incomparable to others, so good and unique, Jesus.
You know how Jesus loved children and young people! One day, many children like you approached Jesus, because they were very drawn to him and in his eyes they saw God's love reflected. But there were adults too who were bothered by these children. This also happens to you sometimes, when you play, have fun with your friends — the grownups tell you not to bother them.... Well, Jesus rebukes those adults and tells them: leave all these children alone, because they have in their heart the secret of the Kingdom of God. So, Jesus taught the adults that you too are “great” and that adults have to protect this greatness, which is having a heart that loves Jesus. Dear children, dear young people: being “big” means loving Jesus very much, listening to him and talking to him in prayer, meeting him in the sacraments, in Holy Mass, in confession; it means getting to know him more and more and also letting others know about him, it means standing with our friends, the poorest ones too, the sick ones, to grow together.
And Children's Catholic Action is part of that “more”, because you are not alone in loving Jesus. There are many of you, we see that this morning too! But help each other, because you don't want to let any friend be alone, but you want to tell everyone that it is great having Jesus as a friend and it is great being friends with Jesus; and it is great being with him, helped by your parents, priests and leaders! In this way you will truly grow up, not only because your height increases, but because your heart opens to the joy and love that Jesus gives you. And thus you open up to true greatness, living in God's great love, which is always also loving our friends. Let us hope and pray that we grow in this way, to find the “more” and to be truly persons with a big heart, with a great Friend who gives his greatness to us too. Thank you.
A girl's question: Your Holiness, our teachers in Catholic Action tell us that to grow up it is necessary to learn to love; but often we fail and we suffer in our relationships, in our friendships, in our first loves. What does it mean to love completely? How can we learn to really love?
A great question. It is very important, fundamental, I would say, to learn to love, to really love, to learn the art of true love! In adolescence we pause in front of the mirror and we notice ourselves changing. But if you only look at yourself, you never grow up! You grow up when you no longer let the mirror be the only truth of yourselves but when you let your friends tell you the truth. You will grow up if you are able to make your life a gift to others, not to seek yourselves, but to give yourselves to others: this is the school of love. This love, however, must bring you into that “more”, which today you shout to everyone, “There is more!” As I have already said, I too, in my youth wanted something more than what the society and the mentality of the time offered me. I wanted to breathe pure air, above all I wanted a beautiful and good world, like our God, the Father of Jesus, wanted for everyone. And I understood more and more that the world becomes beautiful and good if one knows this Will of God and if the world corresponds to this Will of God, which is the true light, beauty, the love that gives the world meaning.
It is quite true: you cannot and must not adapt yourselves to a love reduced to a commodity, to be consumed without respect for oneself or for others, incapable of chastity and purity. This is not freedom. Much of the “love” that is proposed by the media, on the Internet, is not love but egoism, closure, it gives you a momentary illusion, but it does not make you happy, it does not make you grow up, it binds you like a chain which restrains the more beautiful thoughts and sentiments, the true aspirations of the heart, that irrepressible power that is love and has its maximum expression in Jesus and its strength and fire in the Holy Spirit, who enflames your lives, your thoughts and your affections. Of course it demands sacrifice to live love in the true way — without renunciation one does not find this road — but I am certain that you are not afraid of the toil of a challenging and authentic love. It is the only kind that ultimately gives true joy! There is a test that tells you whether your love is growing in a healthy way: if you do not exclude others from your life, above all your friends who are suffering and alone, people in difficulty, and if you open your heart to the great Friend, Jesus.
Catholic Action also teaches you the roads to take to learn authentic love: participation in the life of the Church, of your Christian community, loving your friends in the Children's Catholic Action group, in Catholic Action, availability to those of your age at school, in the parish or in other environments, the company of the Mother of Jesus, Mary, who knows how to guide your heart and lead you along the way of good. Moreover, in Catholic Action, you have many examples of genuine, beautiful, true love: Bl. Pier Giorgio Frassati, Bl. Alberto Marvelli; love that also leads to the sacrifice of one's life, like Bl. Pierina Morosini and Bl. Antonia Mesina.
Young people of Catholic Action, aspire to great things, because God gives you the strength. "More" is being young people and children who decide to love like Jesus does, to be the protagonists of your own lives, protagonists in the Church, witnesses of the faith to those who are your age. “More” is the human and Christian formation that you experience in Catholic Action, which unites spiritual life, brotherhood, public witness to the faith, ecclesial communion, love for the Church, collaboration with the Bishops and priests, spiritual friendship. “Growing up together” speaks of the importance of being part of a group and a community that helps you to grow, to discover your vocation and to learn true love. Thank you.
A teacher's question: Your Holiness, what does it mean to be an educator today? How should we face the difficulties that we tackle in our service? And how can we do it in such a way that everyone concerns themselves with the present and the future of the new generations? Thank you.
A big question. We see the problem of education in this situation. I would say that being educators means having a joy in your heart and communicating it to all to make life beautiful and good; it means offering reasons and objectives for the journey of life, offering the beauty of the person of Jesus and making others fall in love with him, his way of life, his freedom, his great love full of confidence in God the Father. It means above all always keeping the goal of every existence high oriented to that “more” which comes from God. This demands a personal knowledge of Jesus, a personal, daily, loving contact with him in prayer, in meditation on God's Word, in fidelity to the sacraments, to the Eucharist, to confession; it demands communicating the joy of being in the Church, of having friends to share not only problems but also the beautiful things and surprises of the life of faith.
You know well that you are not the children's owners but servants of their joy in the name of Jesus, guides to him. You have received the mandate from the Church for this task. When you join Catholic Action you say to yourselves and to everyone that you love the Church, that you are ready to share responsibility with the Pastors for her life and her mission in an association that expends itself for the good of people, for their and your journey of holiness, for the life of the Christian community in their daily mission. You are good teachers if you know how to involve everyone for the benefit of the youngest. You cannot be self-sufficient but you must make the urgency of the education of the young generations felt at all levels. Without the presence of the family, for example, you risk building on sand; without the cooperation of the school you cannot form a deep understanding of the faith; without the involvement of the various members of the staff in the young people's free time and communication your patient work risks not being effective, of not impacting daily life. I am certain that Catholic Action is deeply rooted in the region and has the courage to be salt and light. Your presence here this morning tells not only me but everyone that it is possible to educate, that it is difficult but beautiful to give enthusiasm, to young people and to the littlest ones. Have the courage, I would like to say, the audacity, not to allow any context to be without Jesus, his tenderness that you make everyone experience, even the neediest and abandoned, with your mission as educators.
Dear Friends, lastly I thank you for having participated in this meeting. I would like to stay with you a little longer because when I am in the midst of such joy and enthusiasm, I too am full of joy, I feel rejuvenated! Yet unfortunately time passes quickly, others await me. But in my heart I am with you and remain with you! And I invite you, dear friends, to continue on your journey, faithful to the identity and purpose of Catholic Action. The strength of God's love can accomplish great things in you. I assure you of my remembrance in my prayer and I entrust you to the maternal intercession of the Virgin Mary, Mother of the Church, so that like her you can bear witness that “there is more”, the joy of a life full of the Lord's presence. I thank all of you from my heart!
Friday, 5 November 2010
Venerable Brothers in the Episcopate,
“May the God of hope fill you with joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope” (Rm 15,13) so that you may guide your people to the fullness of salvation in Christ.
I warmly greet each and every one of you, beloved Pastors of the South ii Region on your visit ad limina Apostolorum, and I thank your President, Bishop Moacyr, for his words to me expressing the sense of communion which unites you with the Successor of Peter. For all this I am grateful to you. This house is also yours: you are welcome! Within it you can experience the universality of the Church of Christ which extends to the furthest boundaries of the earth.
In their turn, each of your particular Churches, dear Bishops, is the generous point of arrival of a universal mission, the blossoming “here and now” of the universal Church. In this case, the right relationship between the “universal” and the “particular” can be seen not when the universal recedes in the face of the particular, but when the particular opens up to the universal and allows itself to be attracted and appreciated by it. In the divine plan, the Church is one: the Body of Christ, the Bride of the Lamb, the Heavenly Jerusalem, the definitive Church that would be the most profound aim of creation, willed as a place where God’s will is done and earth becomes Heaven. I remind you of these principles, not because you do not know them but because they help us to give consecrated people their right place in the Church. Indeed, within her, not only do unity and plurality not oppose each other but they also mutually enrich each other, insofar as they seek to build up the one Body of Christ, the Church, through the love “which binds everything in perfect harmony” (Col 3,14).
The chosen portion of the People of God, consecrated men and women, remind us today of “a plant with many branches which sinks its roots into the Gospel and brings forth abundant fruit in every season of the Church's life” (Apostolic Exhortation Vita Consecrata VC 5). Since love is the first fruit of the Spirit (cf . Gal Ga 5,22) and the greatest of all charisms (cf 1Co 13,31), the religious community enriches the Church, of which it is a living part, first of all with its love: it loves its particular Church, enriches her with its charisms and opens her to a more universal dimension. The delicate relations between the pastoral requirements of the particular Church and the charismatic specificity of the religious community were addressed by the Document Mutuae Relationes, to which are foreign both the idea of isolation and the independence of the religious community in relation to the particular Church, as well as the idea of its practical absorption into the context of the particular Church. “Just as a religious community cannot act independently of the particular Church, or as an alternative to it, or much less against the directives and pastoral programme of the particular Church, so the particular Church cannot dispose, according to her own pleasure and according to her needs, of a religious community or of any of its members” (Fraternal Life in Community, n. 60).
Before the dwindling of members in many institutes and their aging, evident in certain parts of the world, many are asking if the consecrated life is still an option capable of attracting young men and women. We know well, dear Bishops, that the various religious families — from monastic life to the religious congregations and societies of apostolic life, from secular institutes to the new forms of consecration — have had their origin precisely in history, but consecrated life as such originated with the Lord himself who chose this form of virginal, poor and obedient life for himself. For this reason consecrated life can never be absent or die out in the Church: it was desired by Jesus himself as an irremovable part of his Church. Hence the appeal to general commitment to the pastoral care of vocations: if consecrated life is a good for the whole Church, something that interests everyone, pastoral care that aims to promote vocations to the consecrated life must also be a commitment felt by all: Bishops, priests, the consecrated and lay people.
Therefore, as the conciliar Decree Perfectae Caritatis affirms, “the up-to-date renewal of institutes depends very much on the training of the members” (n. 18). It is a fundamental affirmation for every form of consecrated life. An institute’s ability to form members, both in the initial phase and in the successive phases, is at the heart of the whole process of renewal. “If in fact, consecrated life is in itself ‘a progressive taking on of the attitude of Christ’, it seems evident such a path must endure for a lifetime and involve the whole person… reshaping the person in the likeness of the Son who gives himself to the Father for the good of humanity. Thus understood, formation is no longer only a teaching period in preparation for vows but also represents a theological way of thinking of consecrated life which is in itself a never-ending formation ‘sharing in the work of the Father who, through the Spirit, fashions in the heart the inner attitudes of the Son’” (Instruction Starting Afresh from Christ, n. 15).
In the way you deem most appropriate, venerable Brothers, please convey to your communities of consecrated men and women, independently of the cloistered or apostolic service they carry out, the deep gratitude of the Pope. He remembers each and every one in his prayers, and especially the elderly and the sick, those who are passing through moments of crisis and solitude, those who are suffering and feel bewildered and also the young men and women who knock at the door of their houses today and ask to be able to dedicate themselves to Jesus Christ in the radicalism of the Gospel.
Now, as I invoke the heavenly protection of Mary, the perfect model of consecration to Christ, I once again express to you my fraternal esteem and impart to you a propitiatory Apostolic Blessing, which I extend to all the faithful entrusted to your pastoral solicitude.
Fr. Lombardi: Your Holiness, in Your Message to the recent Second World Congress on Pilgrimages and Shrines that was held in Santiago de Compostela, you said that you were living your Pontificate “with the sentiments of a pilgrim”. And your coat-of-arms also contains the pilgrim's cockle-shell. Would you like to say something about the perspective of this pilgrimage in your personal life and in your spirituality too and about the feelings with which you are going to Santiago as a pilgrim?
The Holy Father: Good morning! I could say that going on pilgrimage is also part of my biography — Marktl, Tittmoning, Aschau, Traunstein, Munich, Freiburg, Bonn, Münster, Tübingen, Regensburg, Munich, Rome — but perhaps this is an external aspect. However, you have made me think of the instability of this life, of being on a journey…. Of course, someone might criticize pilgrimages saying: “God is everywhere, there is no need to go to another place. But it is also true that faith, in accordance with its essence, is 'being a pilgrim'”.
The Letter to the Hebrews shows what faith is in the figure of Abraham who leaves his land and lives his whole life as a pilgrim bound for the future. And this Abrahamic movement is perpetrated in the act of faith, above all it means being a pilgrim inwardly, but it must also be expressed outwardly. Sometimes it means emerging from one's daily routine, from the practical world, from utilitarianism, emerging only to be really on the way towards transcendence; to transcend oneself, to transcend daily life and thus also to find a new freedom, a time of interior rethinking, of self identification, of seeing the Other, God, and thus it is also and always a pilgrimage. It is not only coming out of oneself towards something greater, but is also travelling together. The pilgrimage unites: together we journey towards the other and thus we discover each other. It suffices to say that the ways of St James were an important element in the formation of the spiritual unity of the European Continent. It was here, on pilgrimage, that people found one another, they found their common European identity, and today too this movement is reborn, this need to be spiritually and physically in movement in order to find one another and thus also silence, freedom, renewal and to discover God.
Fr. Lombardi: And now let us shift our gaze to Barcelona. What significance can the consecration of a church like the Sagrada Família have at the beginning of the 21st century? And is there some specific aspect of Gaudí’s vision that has struck you in particular?
The Holy Father: In fact this cathedral itself is also a sign for our time. In Gaudí’s vision moreover I perceive three elements above all.
The first, is this synthesis between continuity and newness, tradition and creativity. Gaudí had the courage to insert himself into the great tradition of cathedrals, to contribute something new in his century — with a totally new vision — to this reality: the cathedral as a place of the encounter between God and man, in great solemnity; and do this with courage in continuity with tradition but with a new creativity, one that renews tradition. Thus he shows the humanity of history and the progress of history, it is a beautiful thing.
Secondly, Gaudí wanted this trinomial: a book of nature, a book of Scripture, a book of the Liturgy. And this synthesis is of great importance precisely today. In the Liturgy, Scripture becomes present, it becomes a reality today. It is no longer a Scripture of 2,000 years ago, but should be celebrated and brought into being, And in the celebration of Scripture creation speaks, creation speaks and finds its true response because, as St Paul tells us, the creature suffers and instead of being destroyed, despised it waits for the children of God, that is, those who see it in God’s light. And so — I think — this synthesis between the sense of creation, Scripture and adoration is actually a very important message for today.
And lastly — the third point — this cathedral was born from the typical devotion of the 19th century: St Joseph, the Holy Family of Nazareth, the mystery of Nazareth. Yet this devotion of the past, one could say, is itself very up to date because the problem of the family, of the renewal of the family as a fundamental cell of society, is the great theme today and points out to us where we can go, in both the construction of society and in the unity between faith and life, between religion and society. Family is the fundamental theme expressed here; it says that God made himself a son in a family and calls us to build the family and experience family life.
Fr. Lombardi: Gaudí and the Sagrada Família effectively represent the dual concept: faith-art. How can faith rediscover its place today in the world of art and culture? Is this one of the important themes of your Pontificate?
The Holy Father: It is like this. You know that I place great emphasis on the relationship between faith and reason, that faith, and Christian faith, has its identity only in openness to reason and that reason becomes itself if it transcends itself towards faith. But the relationship between faith and art is equally important because truth, the aim or goal of reason, is expressed in beauty and in beauty becomes itself, is proven to be truth. Therefore, wherever there is truth beauty must be born, wherever human beings are fulfilled in a correct and good way, they express themselves in beauty. The relationship between truth and beauty is inseparable and therefore we need beauty.
In the Church from the outset and also in the great modesty and poverty of the time of persecution, art, painting, the expression of God’s salvation in earthly images, singing and then building too, are all constitutive for the Church and remains constitutive for ever.
The Church was consequently a mother to art for centuries and centuries: the great treasure of Western art — music, architecture and painting — was born from faith within the Church. Today there is a certain “dissidence” but this is bad for both art and faith. An art that lost the root of transcendence would not be oriented to God: it would be a halved art, it would lose its living root; and a faith that had art only in the past would no longer be faith in the present; and today it must be expressed anew as truth that is always present.
Therefore dialogue or the encounter - I would say both - of art and faith are inscribed in the deepest essence of faith; we must do our utmost to see that today too faith is expressed in authentic art, like Gaudí’s, in continuity and in innovation, and to prevent art from losing its contact with faith.
Fr. Lombardi: In recent months the new Dicastery for the “New Evangelization” was founded. And many People wondered whether Spain, with the development of secularization and the rapid dwindling of religious practice, might be one of the countries you were thinking of as an objective for this new Dicastery, or even whether it might be the principle objective. This is our question.
The Holy Father: With this Dicastery I had in mind the whole world in itself because the newness of thought, the difficulty of thinking in Scriptural or theological concepts is universal; but naturally it has a centre a focal point and this is the Western world with its centralism, its laicity and the continuity of faith that must seek to renew itself in order to be faith today and to respond to the challenge of laicity. In the West all the important countries have their own way of living this problem: for example, consider the Visits to France, to the Czech Republic and to the United Kingdom where the same problem is everywhere present in a specific way for each nation, for each history, and this also applies essentially to Spain. Spain has always been “a native” an original country of faith. Just think that the rebirth of Catholicism in the modern era was brought about above all thanks to Spain; figures such as St Ignatius of Loyola, St Teresa of Avila and St John of Avila are figures who really renewed Catholicism, who formed the features of modern Catholicism. Yet it is likewise true that a laicity, an anticlericalism, a strong and aggressive secularism developed in Spain, as we saw precisely in the 1930s. And this dispute, this clash between faith and modernity — both very intense — has also arisen once again in Spain today: therefore for the future of faith and of encounter, not conflict, but the encounter of faith and laicity also has a central point in Spanish culture itself. In this regard I thought of all the important countries of the West, but especially also of Spain.
Fr. Lombardi: With the journey to Madrid next year for the World Youth Day you will have made three Visits to Spain, something that has not happened for any other country. Why should there be this privilege? Is it a sign of love or of special concern?
The Holy Father: Of course it is a sign of love. It could be said that it is by chance that I should come to Spain three times. The first time it was for the great international meeting of families in Valencia; how could the Pope be absent when the families of the world are meeting? Next year the World Youth Day will take place in Madrid and the Pope cannot miss this occasion. And lastly, we have the Holy Year of St James, we have the consecration of the Cathedral of the Sagrada Família in Barcelona after more than 100 years of work on it, how could the Pope not come? In themselves, therefore, these events are challenges, as it were a need to go there, but the fact that so many occasions are concentrated in Spain itself also shows that it really is a country full of dynamism, full of the power of faith and faith responds to the challenges that are also present in Spain; therefore; let us say chance has caused me to come but this chance shows a far more profound, reality the power of faith and the force of the challenge to faith.
Fr. Lombardi: And now would you like to say anything else to conclude our meeting? Is there a special message that with this Journey you are hoping to bring to Spain and to the contemporary world?
The Holy Father: I would say that this Journey has two themes. It has the theme of pilgrimage, of being on a journey, and its has the theme of beauty, of the expression of truth in beauty, of the continuity between tradition and renewal. To my mind these two themes of the journey are also a message: to be on a journey, not to lose the way of faith, to seek the beauty of faith, the newness and the tradition of faith that can be expressed and meet in modern beauty, with the world of today. Many thanks.
International Airport of Santiago de Compostela Saturday, 6 November 2010
Your Royal Highnesses,
Distinguished national, regional and local authorities,
Your Grace the Archbishop of Santiago de Compostela,
Your Eminence the President of the Spanish Episcopal Conference,
Your Eminences and Excellencies,
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
I thank Your Highness for the respectful words which you have addressed to me in the name of all, words which are a touching echo of the sentiments of affection for the Successor of Peter which mark the sons and daughters of these noble lands.
I cordially greet those present and all who join us through the means of social communication, and I express my gratitude as well to all those who have worked generously, on the part of the Church and civil society, to make this brief yet intense Journey to Santiago de Compostela and Barcelona as fruitful as possible.
In his deepest being, man is always on a journey, ever in search of truth. The Church shares this profound human desire and herself sets out, accompanying humanity in its yearning for complete fulfilment. At the same time, the Church pursues her own interior journey which, through faith, hope and love, leads her to become a transparent sign of Christ for the world. This is her mission and her path: to be among men and women an ever greater presence of Christ “whom God made our wisdom, our righteousness and sanctification and redemption” (1Co 1,30). For this reason, I too have journeyed here, to confirm my brothers and sisters in the faith (cf. Lc 22,32).
I have come as a pilgrim in this Holy Year of Compostela and I bring in my heart the same love of Christ which led the Apostle Paul to embark upon his journeys, with a desire also to come to Spain (cf. Rom Rm 15,22-29). I wish to join the great host of men and women who down the centuries have come to Compostela from every corner of this peninsula, from throughout Europe and indeed the whole world, in order to kneel at the feet of Saint James and be transformed by the witness of his faith. They, at every step and filled with hope, created a pathway of culture, prayer, mercy and conversion, which took shape in churches and hospitals, in inns, bridges and monasteries. In this way, Spain and Europe developed a spiritual physiognomy marked indelibly by the Gospel.
Precisely as a herald and witness of the Gospel, I am also going to Barcelona, in order to nourish the faith of its welcoming and dynamic people. A faith sown already at the dawn of Christianity, one which blossomed and grew in the warmth of countless examples of holiness, giving rise to countless institutions of beneficence, culture and education. A faith which inspired the gifted architect Antoni Gaudí to undertake in that city, with the fervour and cooperation of many people, that marvel which is the church of the Sagrada Familia. It will fall happily to me to dedicate that church, which reflects all the grandeur of the human spirit in its openness to God.
I am very pleased to be once again in Spain, which has given the world a constellation of great saints, founders and poets, like Ignatius of Loyola, Teresa of Jesus, John of the Cross, Francis Xavier, among many others; in the twentieth century it raised up new institutions, groups and communities of Christian life and apostolic activity and, in recent decades, it has advanced in harmony and unity, in freedom and peace, looking to the future with hope and responsibility. Moved by her rich patrimony of human and spiritual values, she seeks likewise to progress amid difficulties and to offer her solidarity to the international community.
These contributions and initiatives which have distinguished your long past, as well as the present, together with the significance of the two beautiful places I will visit on this occasion, lead me to look also to all the peoples of Spain and Europe. Like the Servant of God John Paul II, who from Compostela exhorted the old Continent to give a new impulse to its Christian roots, I too wish to encourage Spain and Europe to build their present and to project their future on the basis of the authentic truth about man, on the basis of the freedom which respects this truth and never harms it, and on the basis of justice for all, beginning with the poorest and the most defenceless. A Spain and a Europe concerned not only with people’s material needs but also with their moral and social, spiritual and religious needs, since all these are genuine requirements of our common humanity and only in this way can work be done effectively, integrally and fruitfully for man’s good.
[In Galician:] Dear friends, I renew my thanks for your kind welcome and for your presence at this airport. I renew my affection and closeness to the beloved sons and daughters of Galicia, Catalonia and the other peoples of Spain. In commending my stay among you to the intercession of the Apostle Saint James, I ask God to bestow his blessings on all of you. Thank you very much.
Speeches 2005-13 385