Speeches 2005-13 160



Major Seminary of Bressanone Monday, 11 August 2008
Dear Friends, Mr Mayor, Dear Citizens of Bressanone,

To which I now belong as an honorary citizen! All good things come to an end and so, unfortunately, has my holiday in Bressanone. But I can tell you: it was absolutely wonderful! And even if these days are in fact over, a treasure of memories endures which I am taking with me and through which I will be able to continue to be with you. And most of all I wish to remain with you by way of the bridge of prayer. Thus we will be united and thanks to the Lord we will be in touch and together rejoice and seek to do what is right for today and for the future.

Dear friends, thank you for everything! These days are over, but I am taking a treasure of memories with me; we will always be united, above all by the bridge of prayer. My very best wishes to you all, may the Lord bless you always!

I warmly impart to all of you the Blessing of the Lord, and may my prayers go with you. I can conclude with the Blessing:

Sit nomen Domini benedictum!...

Thank you very much! Auf Wiedersehen! Arrivederci!


Wednesday, 13 August 2008
Dear Mr Mandlig,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

This was not merely a film, it was a pilgrimage. The Bayerischer Rundfunk has brought us on pilgrimage with many people to Our Lady: young and old, men and women, all the generations, and thus the diverse facets of our country have become evident to us. What brought us all together, however, was the fact of our being on the path toward Mary and [the fact] of our trust in the Mother of the Lord that preserves and guides all people on their journey.

We were able to feel the faith of those who witnessed in the simplicity of their thoughts and being and, for this very reason, with the credibility of someone who does not pretend but rather is natural. And through faith we saw Mary herself, the Mother of God; in her God's goodness is reflected. For this gift I thank you, dear Mr Mandlig, all your collaborators and the Bayerischer Rundfunk. I desire and hope that a great many people, in seeing this film, may be involved personally in the pilgrimage to our Mother and to our Lord.

But I do not want to forget to say a cordial "Vergelt's Gott" to the citizens of Oberaudorf, who previously gave me a splendid greeting in Munich with the "Gott grüße Dich" and who have now come to us and made us feel anew the beauty of Bavarian folk music. May God reward you!

Dear friends, this was not merely a film, it was a pilgrimage. The Bavarian Radio has involved us in a pilgrimage to Our Lady: there were young people, the elderly, the simple and the cultured, all on the way towards Our Lady. And in their pilgrimage we too felt their faith - faith which radiates from the face of Our Lady and in which God's goodness emanates.

We are grateful to the Bavarian Radio for this and hope that the film may involve many people in the pilgrimage to Our Lady and guide them on the path of faith. Thank you. Near the Feast of the Assumption this is a special gift! I wish you all a good feast day! Thank you.




Castel Gandolfo Thursday, 21 August 2008

Your Eminences,
Your Excellences,
Dear Friends,

For me this is a cause for profound joy, that my brother now belongs to the renowned body of honorary citizens of this beautiful city. With this, Castel Gandolfo - if it is possible - becomes even dearer, nearer to my heart. Therefore thank you for this gesture, on my part as well.

From the beginning of my life my brother has always been for me not only a companion, but also a trustworthy guide. For me he has been a point of orientation and of reference with the clarity and determination of his decisions. He has always shown me the path to take, even in difficult situations.

You, Mr Mayor, with your beautiful words, have made me think back to years spent in Regensburg, where I listened to truly beautiful music in the cathedral, Sunday after Sunday; for me it was a comfort, a consolation, an intimate joy that reflected the beauty of God.

My brother has pointed out that since then, we have arrived at the last stage of our lives, at old age. The days left to live progressively diminish. But also in this stage my brother helps me to accept with serenity, with humility and with courage the weight of each day. I thank him.

I thank the city of Castel Gandolfo for this gesture, which is truly gratifying also for me. Let us conclude this beautiful ceremony with a Blessing.



Hall of the Swiss, Papal Summer Residence, Castel Gandolfo Sunday, 24 August 2008
Your Eminences
Venerable Brothers in the Episcopate and in the Priesthood,
Dear Friends,

We have had a beautiful evening during which we have been granted to hear once again certain famous pieces of music that awakened within us emotion and profound spiritual images. I address my greeting with sentiments of warm cordiality to all of you who are gathered here and I express deep gratitude to those who sponsored and organized this musical event. In conveying my grateful and admiring appreciation to Miss Yvonne Timoianu and Mr Christoph Cornaro who played, respectively, the cello and the piano with praiseworthy talent, I am certain that I am expressing the common sentiments. Thanks to their masterful performance we have been able to enjoy the multiform riches of the language of music that characterizes the passages offered to us.I am pleased to recall that my acquaintance with Mr Cornaro dates back to the time when he was Ambassador of Austria to the Holy See. I am delighted to meet him here once again today as pianist.

This concert has given us the opportunity to see the felicitous pairing of Wilhelm Müller's poetry with Franz Schubert's music in a melodic genre that was dear to him. In fact Schubert left us more than 600 lieder. The great composer, not always understood by his contemporaries, was, as is well known, the "Prince of Lied". As his epitaph says, "he made poetry resound and music speak". We have just been able to savour Schubert's lieder masterpieces: Die Winterreise (Winter Journey). This cycle includes 24 lieder composed on lyrics by Wilhelm Müller, in which Schubert expresses an intense atmosphere of sad loneliness which he felt particularly, given his mental state, caused by his long illness and a string of emotional and professional disappointments. It is a wholly inner journey, which the famous Austrian composer wrote in 1827, just a year before his premature death when he was only 31 years old.

When Schubert introduces a poetical text into his universe of sound, he interprets it through a melodic weave that penetrates the soul with sweetness, bringing listeners too to feel the same anguishing lament as the musician, the same reminder of those truths of the heart that go beyond all reasoning. Thus a fresco comes into being that speaks of ordinary daily life, of nostalgia, of introspection, of the future. Everything resurfaces in the process: the snow, the countryside, objects, people, events in a heartrending flow of memories. It was a new and beautiful experience for me to hear this work in the version offered to us, that is, with the cello instead of the human voice. We did not hear the poem's words but their reflection and the sentiments contained in them rippled through the cello's almost human "voice".

In presenting the Winter Journey to his friends, Schubert said: "I shall sing you a cycle of lieder which have involved me more than I have ever been involved before. I like them better than all the others, and you will like them too". These are words with which we can agree as well, having heard them in the light of the hope of our faith. The young Schubert, spontaneous and exuberant, has succeeded in communicating also to us this evening what he himself lived and experienced. The recognition universally attributed to this distinguished musical genius who honours the European civilization and the great culture and spirituality of Christian and Catholic Austria is therefore well deserved.

Inwardly comforted by this evening's splendid musical experience, let us renew our thanks to those who sponsored it and who performed it magnificently. I therefore offer my cordial greeting to everyone who is present here and impart my Blessing to you all with affection.


Dear Brothers and Sisters,

In today's Reading St Paul tells us that in order to recognize God's will we need a renewal of the spirit. We are unable to bring about this renewal ourselves; it is not something we can do on our own, we have to be renewed. This renewal is death and resurrection. It can only happen in the newness brought by God himself, by losing ourselves in Christ who attracts us to himself in the Holy Eucharist and who, through Baptism, made us sharers in his death and Resurrection. Thus, starting from Paul's text, what the Lord says in the Gospel today, in other words, that we can only take up our cross and follow him, also becomes comprehensible. This is not a matter of a limited form of asceticism but rather concerns a newness that we can receive only in communion with his death and his Resurrection. At the beginning of this Holy Mass, let us pray the Lord that he may take from us all that is old, and that he may shatter our former withdrawal into self as well as our self-sufficiency in order to make us new.

September 2008

TO BISHOPS OF NICARAGUA ON THEIR "AD LIMINA" VISIT Papal Summer Residence, Castel Gandolfo Saturday, 6 September 2008

Dear Brothers in the Episcopate,

To receive you all together as Pastors of the Church in Nicaragua during your visit ad limina Apostolorum gives me great pleasure and affords me the opportunity to express my interest in your apostolic concerns and the aspirations and anxieties of the Nicaraguan people, which in these days you have vividly set before me. I am grateful for the kind words on behalf of all of Archbishop Leopoldo José Brenes Solórzano of Managua, President of the Bishops' Conference, expressing your intention to develop an increasingly close bond of unity, charity and peace with the Successor of Peter (cf. Lumen Gentium LG 22), as well as communion among yourselves in your "apostolic office as witnesses of Christ to all men" (Christus Dominus CD 11).

I know of your efforts to spread the message of the Gospel in every context of Nicaragua, with the self-sacrificing collaboration of your priests and the religious institutes that are present in Nicaragua. You also receive frequent and precious help from catechists and delegates of the Word, who are a channel through which the gift of faith develops in children and illumines the various stages of life in faraway places where it is virtually impossible to guarantee the permanent presence of a priest to guide the community. The Church is deeply indebted to these people who present the Good News and Christian teaching in a fraternal spirit, personally, delivering it day after day, as is right for a message that once it is deeply absorbed is destined to become new life in those who receive it. It is therefore indispensable that these generous servants and collaborators in the mission as evangelizers of the Church receive their Pastor's encouragement, possess a profound and continuous religious formation and maintain irreproachable fidelity to the doctrine of the Church. They must be in a very special way outstanding "disciples" who are authentic teachers, who teach with the authority of Christ (cf. Lumen Gentium LG 25), and imbue in those who hear them a longing for the Teacher and his ministers, who make him truly present through the sacraments, most especially the Eucharist, to build, thereby, a true and full Christian community united around the Lord and presided over by one of his priests (cf. Sacramentum Caritatis, n. 75). The need for clergy with a good spiritual, intellectual and human formation recently prompted you to review the network of seminaries in the country, in the hope of thus being able to offer the seminarians of your dioceses a better formation which is always so necessary and requires closeness and painstaking attention on the part of each Bishop, never slackening in the careful discernment of candidates or the rigorous requirements that are essential in order to become exemplary priests overflowing with love for Christ and his Church. In this way it will be possible to nourish new hopes of being able to offer adequate pastoral care in important sectors such as the systematic, incisive and well-organized catechesis for children and young people, for whom you have drafted a specific catechism for Confirmation and promoted the "missionary childhood". It is to be hoped that the proper religious assistance in hospitals, prisons and other institutions may also improve.

In this regard, it should never be forgotten that the seed of the Gospel must be sown anew every time, in every epoch, in every generation, if it is to sprout and grow vigorously and if its flower is not to wither. Popular piety, so deeply rooted in your people and a great treasure for them, must also be something more than a simple tradition passively received. It should be continuously revitalized with pastoral action that makes the depth of the gestures and signs shine, pointing to the unfathomable mystery of salvation and hope to which they refer and in which God has made us sharers, enlightening our minds, filling our hearts and involving our lives. One of the great challenges that you face is precisely the sound religious formation of your faithful, ensuring that the Gospel is deeply engraved on their minds, their lives and their work, in such a way that they are leaven of the Kingdom of God, witnessing to him in the various social milieus and helping to ensure that temporal issues are ordered in accordance with justice and adapted to man's integral vocation here on earth (cf. Apostolicam Actuositatem AA 7).

This is particularly important in a situation in which, especially in recent years, social inequalities and political radicalization have been added to poverty and migration. I note with satisfaction that as Pastors you share in the vicissitudes of your people and, scrupulously respecting the autonomy of civil management, strive to create a relaxed atmosphere of dialogue, without giving up defending fundamental human rights, reporting situations of injustice and fostering a conception of politics which, rather than ambition for power and control, is a generous and humble service to the common good. I encourage you in this process, while at the same time I urge you to promote and accompany numerous initiatives of charity and solidarity with the neediest people who exist in your Churches, so that there is no lack of help for families in difficulty or of that generous spirit in so many lay people who, on certain occasions strive anonymously to obtain daily bread for their poorer brothers and sisters.

In this as in many other areas, the dynamism, devotion and creativity of men and women religious is a treasure for the life of the Church in Nicaragua. They witness to the fact that "the more one lives in Christ, the better one can serve him in others, going even to the furthest missionary outposts and facing the greatest dangers" (Vita Consecrata VC 76). May they not lack the gratitude of their Bishops or their encouragement to remain faithful to their own charism and specific mission in the Church.

The educational institutions deserve special mention, in particular the Catholic schools that are attended by the majority of Nicaraguan students. These schools carry out an essential mission of the Church and an invaluable service to society amid great difficulties and in the absence of proper assistance. The service of educators who, at times with great sacrifice, are dedicated to an integral formation that opens doors to a promising future for youth is praiseworthy. A country that seeks development and a Church that desires to be more dynamic must focus its efforts on these educators, without hiding from them the importance of the transcendent and religious dimension for the human being. Thus, I urge you to encourage teachers and strive to uphold the right of parents to educate their children in accordance with their own convictions and beliefs.

At the end of this meeting, I would like to reiterate my gratitude and appreciation for your demanding work as Pastors, encouraging the missionary spirit in your particular Churches. Please convey my greeting to Cardinal Miguel Obando Bravo, to the Bishops emeritus, to the priests and seminarians, to the numerous religious communities and, in a special way, to the contemplative Sisters in your country, to the catechists and to all who constantly help you to spread the Gospel in Nicaragua. As I entrust your task to the Virgin Mary, Nuestra Seńora de la Purísima Concepción [Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception], I impart a heartfelt Apostolic Blessing to you all.



Dear Brothers in the Priesthood,
Dear Seminarians and
Theology Students,
Dear Brothers and Sisters,

In my mind's eye, I keep alive an evocative image of this morning's Solemn Eucharistic celebration at the Basilica of Our Lady of Bonaria. Near Mary, special Patroness of all of Sardinia, an appointment was made for the parochial communities of the entire region. And now, almost as a prolongation of that spiritual encounter, I have the joy of meeting with you, dear priests, seminarians, students and teachers of the Pontifical Theological Faculty of Sardinia, in this Cathedral, it too dedicated to the holy Virgin Mary. In this ancient temple, renovated and embellished over the course of the years by the care of zealous Pastors, everything speaks of faith: a living faith, witnessed to by the devout safeguarding of the relics of the Martyrs of Cagliari, among which I am happy to note are the Saint Bishops Siricius Martin, Ninian, Hillary, Fabricius and Juvenal.

I wholeheartedly thank Archbishop Giuseppe Mani for the renewed greeting that he has addressed to me in the name of all the Bishops and priests of Cagliari and of the region. Meeting with you, dear priests here present, I think with affection and gratitude of your brethren who work on the Island, on a terrain ploughed and cultivated with apostolic ardour by those who have preceded you. Yes! Sardinia has known priests who, as authentic teachers of the faith, have left wonderful examples of loyalty to Christ and to the Church. The same inestimable treasure of faith, of spirituality and of culture is entrusted to you today. It is placed in your hands so that you may be attentive and wise administrators of it. Take care of it and guard it with Gospel joy and passion!

Now I affectionately address the community of seminarians and of the Theological Faculty, where many of you have been able to carry out doctrinal and pastoral formation, and where currently many young people go to prepare for their future ministerial priesthood. I am anxious to thank the teachers and professors who dedicate themselves daily to such an important apostolic work. To accompany candidates for the priestly mission on their formative journey means above all to help them conform themselves to Christ. In this duty, you, dear educators and professors, are called to play an irreplaceable role, since it is truly during these years that one lays the foundations of their future priestly ministry. This is why, as on different occasions I have been able to emphasize, it is necessary to guide seminarians to a personal experience of God through personal and communal daily prayer, and above all through the Eucharist, celebrated and experienced as the centre of their very existence. In the Post-Synodal Exhortation Pastores Dabo Vobis John Paul II wrote: "Intellectual formation in theology and formation in the spiritual life, in particular the life of prayer, meet and strengthen each other, without detracting in any way from the soundness of research or from the spiritual tenor of prayer" (n. 53).

Dear seminarians and students of the Theological Faculty, you know that theological formation - as my Venerable Predecessor recalled further in the cited Apostolic Exhortation - is very complex and demanding work. It must lead you to possess a "complete and unified" vision of revealed truths and of their acceptance into the faith experience of the Church. From this pours forth the double demand of knowing the entirety of Christian truth and knowing those truths not as truths separated one from the other, but in an organic way, as a union, as the one truth of faith in God, building "a synthesis which will be the result of the contributions of the different theological disciplines, the specific nature of which acquires genuine value only in their profound coordination" (ibid., n. 54). This [synthesis] demonstrates to us the unity of truth, the unity of our faith. Besides, in these years, each activity and initiative must dispose you to administer the charity of Christ the Good Shepherd. To him you are called to be tomorrow's ministers and witnesses: ministers of his grace and witnesses of his love. Next to study and pastoral and apostolic experience from which you can draw, do not forget, however, to put the constant quest for intimate communion with Christ in the first place. Here, only here, rests the secret of your true apostolic success.

Dear priests, dear aspirants to the priesthood and to consecrated life, God wants you for himself and calls you to be workers in his vineyard, just as he did many men and women throughout the Christian history of your beautiful Island. They knew to respond with a generous "yes" to his call. I am thinking of, for example, the evangelizing work carried out by the religious: from the Franciscan to the Mercenaries, from the Dominicans to the Jesuits, from the Benedictines to the Vincentians, from the Salesians to the Scolipians, from the Christian School Brothers to the Josephine Fathers, to the Orioni Fathers and so many others still. And how could the great flowering of female religious vocations, for which Sardinia has been a true and proper garden, be forgotten? In many Orders and Congregations Sardinian women are present, especially in cloistered monasteries. Without this great "cloud of witnesses", (cf.
He 12,1) it certainly would have been much more difficult to spread the love of Christ in the towns, families, schools, hospitals, prisons and workplaces. What a heritage of good has come, accumulating grace by their dedication! Without the seed of Christianity Sardinia would be more fragile and poor. Together with you I thank God who never lets the witnesses of saints fail to guide his people!

Dear brothers and sisters, it is now up to you to carry on the work of good accomplished by those who have gone before you. To you, in particular, dear priests - and I address with affection all the priests of Sardinia - I assure my spiritual nearness, so that you may respond to the Lord's call with total loyalty as, even recently, some of your brothers have done. I recall Fr Graziano Muntoni, a priest of the Diocese of Nuoro, killed on Christmas Eve of 1998, while he was going to celebrate Mass, and Fr Battore Carzedda of the P.I.M.E., who gave his life so that believers of all religions would open to sincere dialogue sustained by love. Do not be frightened, do not be discouraged by difficulties: the grain and the weeds, as we know, will grow together until the end of the world (cf. Mt 13,30). It is important to be seeds of good grain which, fallen to earth, bear fruit. Deepen the awareness of your identity: the priest, for the Church and in the Church, is a humble but real sign of the one, eternal Priest who is Jesus. He must proclaim his word authoritatively, renew his acts of pardon and offering and exercise loving concern in the service of his flock, in communion with the Pastors and faithfully docile to the teaching of the Magisterium. Therefore, rekindle the charism you have received with the imposition of hands (cf. 2Tm 1,6) each day, identifying with Jesus Christ in his triple function of sanctifying, teaching and shepherding the flock. May Mary Most Holy, Mother of the Church, protect you and accompany you. On my behalf I bless all of you, with a special remembrance for the elderly and sick priests, and for all the people entrusted to your pastoral care.
Thank you for this meeting and best wishes for your ministry.

MEETING WITH THE YOUNG PEOPLE OF SARDINIA Yenne Square, Cagliari Sunday, 7 September 2008

Dear Young People,

Before I address you, dear youth of Cagliari and Sardinia, I have the obligation and pleasure to address a special greeting to the President of the Region of Sardinia, Hon. Renato Soru, and also to all the regional authorities, who with their generous contribution and support have permitted the success of this Pastoral Visit of mine. Thank you, Mr President. The young people present here will remember this day, they who are the future of this land, to which you administer with your competence.

And now to you, dear young people. It is a great joy for me to meet you at the end of this brief but intense visit to your beautiful island. I greet you affectionately and thank you for this warm welcome.
In particular I thank those who, in your name, have expressed the fervent sentiments that inspire you. I know that some of you have participated in World Youth Day in Sydney and I am sure that you have benefited from such an extraordinary ecclesial experience. As I have seen for myself, World Youth Day constitutes a unique pastoral occasion for allowing youth of the entire world to know each other better, to share together faith and love for Christ and his Church, to confirm the common commitment to strive towards building a future of justice and peace. We have today not a world day, but a Sardinian day, of youth. And we are experiencing the beauty of being together.

And so, truly, I greet you dear young men and women affectionately: you are the future of hope in this region, notwithstanding the difficulties that we all know. I know your enthusiasm, the desires that fuel you, and the commitment you make to accomplish them. And I do not ignore the difficulties and problems you encounter. I am thinking, for example - and we have heard of this - of the wound of unemployment and of the precarious work situation that put your projects at risk. I am thinking of emigration, of the exodus of the most fresh and enterprising energies, with the associated uprooting from one's environment that sometimes brings with it psychological and moral damage, even prior to its social damage. What can be said of the fact that, in the current consumers' society, profit and success have become the new idols before which so many prostrate themselves? The consequence is that it has brought us to give value solely to whom, as is often said, "is lucky" and has "fame", certainly not those whom must laboriously battle with life each day. Possession of material goods and applause of the masses have replaced the work on oneself that serves to temper the spirit and form an authentic personality. One risks being superficial, taking dangerous short-cuts in the search for success, thus consigning life to experiences that give immediate satisfaction, but are in themselves precarious and misleading. The tendency toward individualism is growing, and when one is concentrated only on oneself, one inevitably becomes fragile; the capacity to listen is weakened, which is an indispensable stage in understanding others and working together.

On 20 October 1985, John Paul II, meeting here in Cagliari young people from all over Sardinia, proposed three important values to build a society of fraternity and solidarity. They are suggestions that are still timely even today, which I willingly repeat, emphasizing in the first place the value of the family, to safeguard as an "ancient and sacred inheritance", the Pope said. You all have experienced the importance of family, as sons and daughters and as siblings; but the capacity to form a new one cannot be taken for granted. You must prepare yourselves for it. In the past traditional society helped to form and safeguard the family more. Today it is no longer so, or rather it is "on paper", but in actuality a different mentality dominates. Other forms of living together are permitted. Sometimes the term "family" is used for unions that, in reality, are not a family. Above all, in our context, the capacity for couples to defend the unity of the family nucleus is very reduced and at the cost of great sacrifice. Dear youth, recover the value of the family. Love it, not only as a tradition, but as a mature and conscious choice. Love the family in which you were born and prepare yourselves to love also those that with God's help you yourselves will make. I say "prepare yourselves", because real love does not happen suddenly. Beyond sentiment, love is made of responsibility, constancy and a sense of duty. One learns all of this through the prolonged practice of the Christian virtues of trust, purity, abandonment to Providence and prayer. In this commitment of growth toward a mature love the Christian community will always support you, because in it the family finds its highest dignity. The Second Vatican Council calls it a "little church" because Matrimony is a Sacrament, that is, a holy and efficacious sign of the love that God gives us in Christ through the Church.

Strictly connected to this first value I mentioned is the other value I wish to emphasize: serious intellectual and moral formation, indispensable in planning and building your future and that of society. The person who offers you a "discount" on this is not concerned for your good. In fact, how could one seriously plan a future if the natural desire that is in you to understand and to compare yourselves is neglected? The crisis of a society begins when it no longer knows how to hand down its cultural patrimony and its fundamental values to the new generations. I am not referring only and simply to the scholastic system. The issue is broader. There is, as we know, an educational emergency, which in order to be faced requires parents and teachers capable of sharing all the goodness and truth that they have experienced deeply first-hand. It requires young people who are open to their internal lives, curious to learn and to bring everything back to the fundamental needs and yearnings of the heart. You are truly free - in other words, impassioned for the truth. The Lord Jesus said: "the truth will set you free" (
Jn 8,32). Modern nihilism instead preaches the opposite, that it is instead freedom which will make you true. Indeed, there are those who hold that no truth exists, thus opening the path to the disposal of the concepts of good and evil and even making them interchangeable. I was told that in the Sardinian culture there is this proverb: "It is better to want for bread than for justice". Man can indeed withstand and overcome the pangs of hunger, but he cannot live where justice and truth are banished. Material bread is not enough, it is not sufficient to live in a fully human way; another food for which to always hunger is necessary, food which nourishes one's personal growth and that of the family and of society.

This food, and it is the third great value, is a sincere and deep faith, which becomes the substance of your life. When the sense of the presence of God is lost, everything is "tasteless" and reduces to a single dimension. All the rest is "crushed" on the material level. When each thing is considered only for its usefulness, the essence of that which surrounds us is no longer perceived, and above all of the persons whom we meet. With the disappearance of the mystery of God the mystery of all that exists disappears too; things and people interest me in so much as they satisfy my needs, not for what they are. All of this constitutes a cultural fact that one breathes from birth and that produces permanent interior effects. Faith, in this sense, before being a religious belief, is a way of seeing reality, a way of thinking, an interior sensitivity that enriches the human person as such. Well, dear friends, Christ is also the Teacher of this, because he has completely shared in our humanity and is contemporaneous with man of every epoch. This typically Christian reality is a stupendous grace! Being with Jesus, visiting him like a friend in the Gospel and in the Sacraments, you can all learn, in a new way, what society often is not able to give you, that is, a religious sense. And precisely because it is something new, discovering it is wonderful.

Dear friends, like the young St Augustine, with all his problems on his difficult path, each one of you, every creature, hears the symbolic call from above; every beautiful creature is attracted back to the beauty of the Creator, who is effectively concentrated in the Face of Jesus Christ. When the soul experiences this, it exclaims, "Late have I loved you, o beauty ever ancient ever new, late have I loved you!" (Conf. X, 27.38). May each one of you rediscover God as the sense and foundation of every creature, light of truth, flame of charity, bond of unity, like the hymn of the Agorŕ of the Italian youth. May you be docile to the power of the Spirit! He, the Holy Spirit, the Protagonist of the World Youth Day at Sydney; he makes you witnesses of Christ. Not in word but in deed, with a new type of life. You will not be afraid any longer to lose your freedom, because you will live it fully by giving it away in love. You will no longer be attached to material goods, because you will feel within you the joy of sharing them. You will cease to be sad with the sadness of the world, but you will feel sorrow at evil and rejoice at goodness, especially for mercy and forgiveness. And if this happens, if you will have truly discovered God in the Face of Christ, you will no longer think of the Church as an institution external to you, but as your spiritual family, as we are living now, at this moment. This is the faith that your forefathers have handed down to you. This is the faith you are called to live today, in very different times.

Family, formation and faith. Here, dear young people of Cagliari and of the whole of Sardinia, I too, like Pope John Paul II, leave to you these three words, three values to make your own with the light and the strength of the Spirit of Christ. May Our Lady of Bonaria, First Patroness and sweet Queen of the Sardinian people, guide you, protect you and accompany you always! With affection I bless you, assuring you of a daily remembrance in prayer.

Speeches 2005-13 160