Speeches 2005-13 9091



Your Excellency,

I am pleased to welcome you and to accept the Letters accrediting you as Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland to the Holy See. I am grateful for the warm greetings which you bring from Her Majesty The Queen and I ask you to convey my prayerful good wishes for Her health and prosperity. I am also pleased to send my cordial greetings to Her Majesty’s Government and to all the British people.

The Holy See and the United Kingdom have enjoyed excellent relations in the thirty years that have passed since full diplomatic relations were established. The close bond between us was further strengthened last year during my Visit to your country, a unique occasion in the course of the shared history of the Holy See and the countries which today compose the United Kingdom. I would therefore like to begin my remarks by reiterating my gratitude to the British people for the warm welcome which I received during my stay. Her Majesty and His Royal Highness the Duke of Edinburgh received me most graciously and I was pleased to meet the leaders of the three main political parties and to discuss with them matters of common concern. As you know, a particular motive for my Visit was the Beatification of John Henry Cardinal Newman, a great Englishman whom I have admired for many years and whose raising to the altars was a personal wish fulfilled. I remain convinced of the relevance of Newman’s insights regarding society, as the United Kingdom, Europe and the West in general today face challenges that he identified with remarkable prophetic clarity. It is my hope that a fresh awareness of his writings will bear new fruit among those searching for solutions to the political, economic and social questions of our age.

As you rightly remarked in your address, Mr Ambassador, the Holy See and the United Kingdom continue to share a common concern for peace among nations, the integral development of peoples throughout the world, especially the poorest and weakest, and the spread of authentic human rights, especially through the rule of law and fair participative government, with a special care for the needy and those whose natural rights are denied. On the subject of peace, I was very pleased to note the success of Her Majesty’s recent Visit to the Republic of Ireland, an important milestone in the process of reconciliation that is happily becoming ever more firmly established in Northern Ireland, despite the unrest that occurred there during this past summer. I take this opportunity once again to encourage all who would resort to violence to put aside their grievances, and to seek instead a dialogue with their neighbours for the peace and prosperity of the whole community.

As you pointed out in your speech, your Government wishes to employ policies that are based on enduring values that cannot be simply expressed in legal terms. This is especially important in the light of events in England this summer. When policies do not presume or promote objective values, the resulting moral relativism, instead of leading to a society that is free, fair, just and compassionate, tends instead to produce frustration, despair, selfishness and a disregard for the life and liberty of others. Policy makers are therefore right to look urgently for ways to uphold excellence in education, to promote social opportunity and economic mobility, to examine ways to favour long-term employment and to spread wealth much more fairly and broadly throughout society. Moreover, the active fostering of the essential values of a healthy society, through the defence of life and of the family, the sound moral education of the young, and a fraternal regard for the poor and the weak, will surely help to rebuild a positive sense of one’s duty, in charity, towards friends and strangers alike in the local community. Be assured that the Catholic Church in your country is eager to continue offering her substantial contribution to the common good through her offices and agencies, in accordance with her own principles and in the light of the Christian vision of the rights and dignity of the human person.

Looking further afield, Your Excellency has mentioned several areas where the Holy See and the United Kingdom have already agreed and worked together, including initiatives for debt relief and financing for development. The sustainable development of the world’s poorer peoples through well-targeted assistance remains a worthy goal, since the peoples of developing countries are our brothers and sisters, of equal dignity and worth and deserving of our respect in every way, and such assistance should always aim to improve their lives and their economic prospects. As you know, development is also of benefit to donor countries, not only through the creation of economic markets, but also through the fostering of mutual respect, solidarity, and above all peace through prosperity for all the world’s peoples. Promoting models of development which employ modern knowledge to husband natural resources will also have the benefit of better protecting the environment for emerging and developed countries alike. This is why I remarked in Westminster Hall last year that integral human development, and all that it entails, is an enterprise truly worthy of the world’s attention and one that is too big to be allowed to fail. The Holy See therefore welcomes Prime Minister Cameron’s recent announcement of his intention to ring-fence Great Britain’s aid budget. I would also invite you, during your mandate, to explore ways of furthering development cooperation between your Government and the Church’s charity and development agencies, especially those based here in Rome and in your country.

Finally, Mr Ambassador, in offering you my prayerful good wishes for the success of your mission, allow me to assure you that all the departments of the Roman Curia stand ready to support you in your duties. Upon you, your family and all the British people, I cordially invoke God’s abundant blessings.


MEETING WITH FAMILIES AND PRIESTS Cathedral of Saint Cyriac, Ancona Sunday, 11 September 2011


Dear Priests and Dear Married Couples,

The hill on which this cathedral is built gives us a very beautiful view of the city and of the sea, but in passing through its majestic portal the mind is fascinated by the harmony of the Romanesque style, enriched by an interweaving of Byzantine with Gothic elements

In your presence too — priests and married couples from different Italian dioceses — we perceive the beauty of the harmony and complementarity of your different vocations. In sharing the same faith, your mutual knowledge and esteem lead to an appreciation of each other’s charism and to recognizing that we are in the one “spiritual house” (
1P 2,5) which, with Jesus Christ himself as cornerstone, develops in a well-ordered way to become a holy temple in the Lord (cf. Ep 2,20-21). So I thank you for this meeting: and I thank dear Archbishop Edoardo Menichelli — also for the words with which he has introduced it — and each one of you.

I would like to reflect briefly on the need to lead Sacred Orders and Matrimony back to the one Eucharistic source. Indeed, both these states of life share the same root in the love of Christ who gives himself for humanity’s salvation. They are called to a common mission: to witness to and make present this love at the service of the community in order to build up the People of God (cf. Catechism of the Catholic Church CEC 1534).

First of all, this perspective makes it possible to overcome a reductive vision of the family, which sees it merely as the object of pastoral action. It is true that in these difficult times families require special attention. This is not a reason for the family’s identity to be diminished or for its specific responsibility to be humiliated. The family is a source of wealth for married couples, an irreplaceable good for children, an indispensable foundation of society and a vital community for the journey of the Church.

At the ecclesial level appreciating the family means recognizing its importance in pastoral action. The ministry that is born from the Sacrament of Matrimony is important for the life of the Church: the family is the privileged place of human and Christian education and remains, for this end, as the closest ally of the priestly ministry. It is a precious gift for the edification of the community.

The priest’s closeness to the family helps it in its turn to become aware of its own profound reality and its own mission, fostering the development of a strong ecclesial sensitivity. No vocation is a private matter, and even less so is the vocation to marriage, because its horizon is the entire Church. Thus an effort should be made in pastoral action to integrate and harmonize the priestly ministry with “the authentic Gospel of marriage and of the family” (cf. Direttorio di pastorale familiare, Italian Episcopal Conference, 25 July 1993, n. 8) for an effective and fraternal communion. And the Eucharist is the centre and source of this unity that enlivens the whole of the Church’s action.

Dear priests, because of the gift you have received in Ordination, you are called to serve as Pastors the ecclesial community, which is the “family of families”, and therefore to love each one with a paternal heart, with genuine detachment from yourselves, with full, continuous and faithful dedication. You are a living sign that refers to Jesus Christ, the one Good Shepherd. Conform yourselves to him, to his style of life, with that total and exclusive service of which celibacy is an expression.

The priest also has a spousal dimension: to identify himself with the heart of Christ the Bridegroom, who gives his life for the Church his Bride (cf. Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation, Sacramentum Caritatis, n. 24). Cultivate deep familiarity with the Word of God, a light on your way.

May the daily and faithful celebration of the Eucharist be the place in which to find the strength to give yourselves in the ministry every day and to live constantly in God’s presence. He is your dwelling place and your heritage. You must be witnesses of this to the family and to every person whom the Lord sets on your path, even in the most difficult circumstances (cf. ibid., nn. 79-80).

Encourage married couples, share their educational responsibilities, help them to renew continually the grace of their marriage. Make the family play the lead in pastoral action. Be welcoming and compassionate also to those who find it harder to fulfil the commitments taken on with the bond of marriage, and to all those who, unfortunately, have failed in it.

Dear married couples, your marriage is rooted in the belief that “God is love” (1Jn 4,8), and that following Christ means “abiding in love” (cf. Jn 15,9-10). Your union — as the Apostle St Paul teaches — is a sacramental sign of the love of Christ for the Church (cf. Ep 5,32), a love that culminates in the Cross and is “signified and made present in the Eucharist” (Sacramentum Caritatis, n. 29).

May the Eucharistic mystery have an ever deeper effect on your daily life; draw inspiration and strength from this sacrament for your conjugal relationship and for the educational mission to which you are called. Build your families in unity, a gift that comes from on high and nourishes your commitment in the Church and in promoting a just and fraternal world. Love your priests, tell them of your appreciation of the generous service they carry out. May you also be able to be supportive despite their limitations, without ever giving up asking them to be exemplary ministers among you who speak to you of God and lead you to God. Your brotherliness is a precious spiritual help to them and a support in the trials of life.

Dear priests and dear married couples, may you always be able to find in Holy Mass the strength to live belonging to Christ and to his Church in forgiveness, in the gift of yourselves and in gratitude. May the origin and centre of your daily activity be sacramental communion so that all things may be done for the glory of God.

In this way Christ’s sacrifice of love will transform you, until it makes you in him “one body and one spirit” (cf. Ep 4,4-6). Educating the new generations in the faith also passes through your consistent witness. Bear witness to them of the demanding beauty of Christian life with the trust and patience of those who know the potential of the seed scattered on the ground.

As in the Gospel episode that we heard (Mc 5,21-24,35), may you be to all those entrusted to your responsibility a sign of Jesus’ kindness and tenderness. In him it was visible that the God who loves life is not foreign or remote from human affairs but is the Friend who never abandons us. And in moments when the temptation creeps in to consider every educational commitment vain, draw from the Eucharist the light to reinforce your faith, in the certainty that the grace and power of Jesus Christ can reach the human being in every situation, even the most difficult.

Dear friends, I entrust you all to the protection of Mary, venerated in this cathedral by the title: “Queen of all the Saints”. Tradition links this to the image of the ex voto given by a sailor in thanksgiving to her for saving his son, who emerged unharmed from a storm at sea. May the motherly gaze of Mary also accompany your steps in holiness on the way towards a landing-place of peace. Many thanks.

MEETING WITH YOUNG COUPLES Piazza del Plebiscito, Ancona Sunday, 11 September 2011

Dear Engaged Couples,

I am pleased to end this intense day, the culmination of the National Eucharistic Congress by meeting you, almost as if I wanted to entrust to your young lives the legacy of this event of grace. Moreover, the Eucharist, Christ’s gift for the salvation of the world, indicates and contains the truest horizon of the experience you are living: Christ’s love as the fulfilment of human love. I thank Archbishop Edoardo Menichelli of Ancona-Osimo for his cordial and profound greeting and all of you for this lively participation; I also thank you for the questions you have put to me and which I welcome, trusting in the presence among us of the Lord Jesus. He alone has the words of eternal life, words of life for you and for your future!

The questions you are asking acquire even greater importance in the present social context. I would like to offer you just a few guidelines by way of an answer. In certain ways our times are far from easy, especially for you, the young. The table is laden with so many delectable things, but it seems, as in the Gospel episode of the wedding at Cana, that the wine of the celebration has run out. Above all the difficulty of finding a steady job veils the future with uncertainty. This condition contributes to postponing definitive decisions and has a negative influence on the growth of society, which fails to fully appreciate the wealth of energy, competence and creativity of your generation.

A culture that tends to ignore clear moral criteria also lacks the festive wine: in the confusion everyone is urged to act in an individual, autonomous manner, often solely on the perimeter of the present. The fragmentation of the community fabric is reflected in a relativism that corrodes essential values; the harmony of feelings, of spiritual states and emotions seems more important than sharing a plan for life. Even basic decisions then become fragile, exposed as they are to the possibility of revocation that is often considered an expression of freedom, whereas in fact it points to the lack of it. The exaltation of the body, which in reality banalizes sexuality and tends to make it live outside the communal context of life and love, also belongs to this culture which also lacks the wine of the feast.

Dear young people, do not fear to face these challenges! Never lose hope. Be brave, even in difficulties, remaining steadfast in your faith. You may be certain that in every circumstance you are cherished and protected by the love of God, who is our strength. God is good. For this reason it is important that the encounter with God, especially in personal and community prayer, should be constant and faithful, as is the development of your love: loving God and feeling that he loves me. Nothing can separate us from God’s love!

Rest assured, therefore, that the Church too is close to you, supports you and never ceases to look at you with great trust. She knows that you are thirsting for values, true values on which it is worthwhile to build your home! They are the values of faith, of the person, of the family, of human relations and of justice.

Do not lose heart in the face of these shortages that seem to extinguish the joy on the table of life. When there was no more wine at the wedding in Cana Mary told the servants to turn to Jesus and gave them a precise order: “Do whatever he tells you” (
Jn 2,5). Treasure these words, the last to be spoken by Mary as recorded in the Gospels, as it were, a spiritual testament of hers, and you will always have the joy of the celebration: Jesus is the wine of the feast!

As engaged couples, you find yourselves living a unique season that opens you to the wonder of the encounter and enables you to discover the beauty of existence and of being precious to someone, of being able to say to each other: you are important to me. Live this journey intensely, gradually and truthfully. Do not give up following a high ideal of love, a reflection and testimony of God’s love! But how should you live this stage of your life and bear witness to love in the community? I would like to tell you first of all to avoid shutting yourselves into intimist, falsely reassuring relationships; rather, endeavour to make your relationship become a leaven of active and responsible presence in the community.

Then do not forget that if it is to be genuine, love too requires a process of maturation: from the initial attraction and from that “feeling good” with the other, learn to “love” the other and “to want the best” for the other. Love lives by giving freely, by self-sacrifice, by forgiveness and by respect for the other.

Dear friends, all human love is a sign of the eternal Love that created us and whose grace sanctifies the decision made by a man and a woman to give each other reciprocal life in marriage. Live the period of your engagement in the trusting expectation of this gift, which should be received while following a path of knowledge, respect and care, which you should never lose: only on this condition will the language of love remain significant, despite the passage of time. Consequently educate yourselves from this moment in the freedom of fidelity that leads you to look after each other, to the point of living for each other.

Prepare yourselves to choose with conviction the “for ever” which connotes love; indissolubility, before being a condition, is a gift to be desired, asked for and lived out, over and above any other changeable human situation. And do not imagine, in accordance with a widespread idea, that coexistence is a guarantee for the future.

Precipitating matters ends by “missing out” on love, which instead needs to respect timing and to be gradual in its expression; it needs to make room for Christ, who can make human love faithful, happy and indissoluble. The fidelity and continuity of your love for each other will also enable you to be open to life, to be parents: the permanence of your union in the sacrament of Matrimony will allow the children God bestows upon you to grow up trusting in the goodness of life. Fidelity, indissolubility and the transmission of life are the pillars of every family, the true common good, a precious patrimony of society as a whole. From now on found your journey towards marriage on these pillars and witness to this among your peers, too: such a service is precious! Be grateful to those who guide you in your formation with commitment, competence and availability: they are a sign of the Christian community’s attention and care for you. You are not alone: be the first to seek and welcome the Church's company!

I would like to go back over an essential point: the experience of love contains the quest for God. True love promises the Infinite! Therefore make this period of your preparation for marriage an itinerary of faith: rediscover for your life as a couple the centrality of Jesus Christ and of walking with the Church.

Mary teaches us that the good of each one depends on listening with docility to her Son’s words. In those who trust in him, the water of everyday life is changed into the wine of love that makes life good, beautiful and fruitful. Indeed, Cana is the announcement and anticipation of the gift of the new wine of the Eucharist, the sacrifice and banquet in which the Lord comes to us and renews and transforms us. And do not underestimate the vital importance of this meeting: may the Sunday liturgical assembly find you fully participating: the Christian meaning of existence and a new way of life flows from the Eucharist (cf. Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation Sacramentum Caritatis, nn. 72-73).

You will then have no fear in assuming the demanding responsibility of deciding to marry; you will not fear to enter into this “great mystery” in which “two shall become one” (cf. Ep 5,31-32).

Dear young people, I entrust you to the protection of St Joseph and Mary Most Holy; by following the Virgin Mother’s invitation – “Do whatever he tells you” – you will certainly enjoy the real feast and will know how to offer the best “wine”, the wine Christ gives for the Church and for the world. I would like to say that I too am close to you and to all those who, like you, are living this marvellous journey of love. I bless you with all my heart!



Dear Brothers in the Episcopate,

As Cardinal Ouellet mentioned, for 10 years now the recently appointed Bishops have gathered in Rome to make a pilgrimage to the Tomb of St Peter and to reflect on the main commitments of the episcopal ministry. This meeting, organized by the Congregation for Bishops and the Congregation for Eastern Churches, fits into the project for permanent formation desired by the Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation Pastores Gregis, n. 24. Shortly after your episcopal consecration, you too are thus invited to renew the profession of your faith at the Tomb of the Prince of the Apostles, and your trusting adherence to Jesus Christ with the impetus of love of this same Apostle, intensifying your bonds of communion with the Successor of Peter and with your brother bishops.

This inner aspect of the initiative is combined with a powerful experience of affective collegiality. The bishop, as you well know, is not a man on his own but is integrated into that corpus episcoporum [body of bishops] which is handed down from the apostolic stock to our day, back to Jesus, “Pastor and Bishop of our souls” (Roman Missal, Preface after the Ascension). May the episcopal brotherhood that you are experiencing in these days imbue the daily feeling and acting of your service, helping you always to work in communion with the Pope and with your brothers in the episcopate, ever seeking to cultivate friendship with them and with your priests.

In this spirit of communion and friendship I welcome you with deep affection, Bishops of the Latin Rite and of the Eastern Rite, greeting in each one of you the Churches entrusted to your pastoral care, with a special thought for those experiencing suffering, especially in the Middle East. I thank Cardinal Marc Ouellet, Prefect of the Congregation for Bishops, for his words on your behalf and for the book, as well as Cardinal Leonardo Sandri, Prefect of the Congregation for Eastern Churches.

The annual meeting with the bishops appointed during the year has given me the opportunity to emphasize several aspects of the episcopal ministry. Today I would like to reflect briefly with you on the importance of the acceptance on the part of the bishop of the charisms that the Spirit calls into being for the edification of the Church. Episcopal consecration has conferred upon you the fullness of the sacrament of Orders which, in the ecclesial community, is placed at the service of the common priesthood of the faithful, of their spiritual growth and of their holiness.

The purpose and mission of ministerial priesthood, in fact, as you know, is to enliven the priesthood of the faithful, who, by virtue of Baptism, share in their own way in the one priesthood of Christ, as the Conciliar Constitution Lumen Gentium says: “The common priesthood of the faithful and the ministerial or hierarchical priesthood are none the less ordered one to another; each in its own proper way shares in the one priesthood of Christ” (n. 10). For this reason it is the task of bishops to watch over the baptized and work to enable them to develop in grace and in accordance with the charisms that the Holy Spirit awakens in their hearts and in their communities. The Second Vatican Council recalled that while the Holy Spirit unifies “the Church in communion and in the works of ministry, he bestows upon her varied hierarchic and charismatic gifts... and adorns her with his fruits” (cf. ibid., n. 4).

The recent World Youth Day in Madrid has shown once again the fruitfulness of the wealth of charisms in the Church in this very time, and the ecclesial unity of all the faithful gathered around the Pope and the Bishops. It is a vitality that reinforces the work of evangelization and the Church’s presence in the world. And we see, we can almost feel tangibly, that the Holy Spirit is also present in the Church today, creating charisms and creating unity.

The fundamental gift that you are called to nurture in the faithful entrusted to your pastoral care is first and foremost that of divine filiation, which is the participation of each person in Trinitarian communion. The essential is that we truly become sons and daughters in the Son. Baptism which makes human beings “sons in the Son” and members of the Church, is the root and source of all the other charismatic gifts. With your ministry of sanctification you teach the faithful to participate ever more intensely in the prophetic and royal office of Christ, helping them to build the Church in accordance with the gifts received from God, in an active and co-responsible way. In fact, we must always bear in mind that the gifts of the Spirit, whether they are extraordinary or simple and humble, are always given freely for the edification of all. The Bishop, as a visible sign of the unity of his particular Church (cf. ibid., n. 23), has the task of unifying and harmonizing charismatic diversity in the unity of the Church, encouraging reciprocity between the hierarchical priesthood and the baptismal priesthood.

Therefore accept charisms with gratitude for the sanctification of the Church and the vitality of the apostolate! And this welcome and gratitude to the Holy Spirit, who is also active among us today, are inseparable from discernment, which is proper to the bishop’s mission, as was reasserted by the Second Vatican Council which entrusted to the pastoral ministry the judgement of the genuineness and proper use of these gifts, not to extinguish the Spirit, but to test all things and to hold fast to what is good (cf. ibid. n. 12). This seems to me important: on the one hand not to extinguish, but on the other to distinguish, to test and to hold fast through examination.

For this reason it must always be clear that no charism dispenses with reference and submission to the pastors of the Church (cf. Apostolic Exhortation Christifideles Laici
CL 24). By receiving, judging and testing the various gifts and charisms the bishop renders a great and precious service to the priesthood of the faithful and to the vitality of the Church, which will shine out as the Bride of the Lord, clothed in the holiness of her children.

This articulated and delicate ministry demands that the bishop nurture his own spiritual life with care. Only in this way does the gift of discernment develop. As the Apostolic Exhortation Pastores Gregis affirms, the bishop becomes a “father” for the very reason that he is fully a “son” of the Church (n. 10). On the other hand, by virtue of the fullness of the sacrament of Orders, he is a teacher, sanctifier and pastor, who acts in the name and in the Person of Christ. These two inseparable aspects call him to grow as a son and as a pastor in the following of Christ, so that his personal holiness will express the objective holiness received with episcopal consecration, since the objective holiness of the sacrament and the personal holiness of the bishop go hand in hand.

I therefore urge you, dear brothers, always to remain in the presence of the Good Shepherd and to assimilate his sentiments and his human and priestly virtues increasingly, through personal prayer which must accompany the apostolic challenges of your days. In intimacy with the Lord you will find comfort and support for your demanding ministry. Do not be afraid to entrust your every concern to the Heart of Jesus Christ, certain that he takes care of you, as the Apostle Peter already recommended (cf. 1P 5,6). Let prayer always be nourished by meditation on the word of God, by personal study, by recollection and by sufficient rest so that you may serenely be able to listen and understand “what the Spirit says to the Churches” (Ap 2,11), and to lead all to the unity of faith and love. With the holiness of your life and pastoral charity may you be an example and a help to priests, your first and indispensable collaborators. Let it be your concern to make them develop in coresponsibility as wise guides of the faithful, who are called with you to build the community with their gifts, their charisms and the testimony of their life, so that in the unanimity of communion the Church may bear witness to Jesus Christ, so that the world may believe. And this closeness to priests, this very day, with all the problems, is of very great importance.

As I entrust your ministry to Mary, Mother of the Church, who shines before the People of God, full of the gifts of the Holy Spirit, I impart with affection to each one of you, to your dioceses and particularly to your priests, the Apostolic Blessing. Many thanks.



Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen,
Dear Compatriots,

In a few days I shall be leaving for my journey to Germany, and I am very happy about this. I look forward to Berlin, where there will be many meetings, and to the discourse that I will give to the Bundestag and to the great Mass which we will celebrate in the Olympic Stadium.

A high point of the Visit will be Erfurt: in that Augustinian monastery, in that Augustinian church from which Luther started out. There I shall be able to meet with representatives of the Evangelical Church of Germany. There, together, we will pray and listen to the word of God, together we will reflect and converse. We are not expecting anything sensational. In fact, the true greatness of the event consists in this very fact; that in this place we can think, listen to the word of God and pray together, and so we shall be in harmony and a true ecumenism will be expressed.

The meeting with the people of Eichsfeld will be special for me. This tiny strip of land remained Catholic even after passing through all the vicissitudes of history; and then the meeting in the South-West of Germany, in Freiburg, the great city in which there will be numerous meetings, especially the youth vigil and the great Mass that will conclude my Visit.

None of this is religious tourism nor, even less, a “show”. The motto of these days explains them: “Where God is, there is a future”. This should mean that God must return to our horizon, this God who is often totally absent but for whom we have a great need.

Perhaps you will ask me: “But does God exist? And if he exists, does he really look after us? Can we ourselves reach him?”. Certainly, it is true: we cannot put God on the table, we cannot touch him like an instrument or take him in our hand as any kind of object. We must once again develop our ability to perceive God who is within us. In the greatness of the cosmos we have an intuition of part of God's greatness. We can utilize the world technically, because it is built rationally. In the great rationality of the world we can perceive something of the Creator Spirit from which it derives, and in the beauty of creation we can consequently grasp something of the beauty, the greatness and the goodness of God.

In the word of Sacred Scripture we can listen to words of eternal life, which are not simply from men and women but come from God and we hear his voice in them. Lastly, in the people we meet who have been touched by him, we almost see God. I am not only thinking of the great ones: from St Paul to St Francis of Assisi, to Mother Teresa; rather I am thinking of all the many simple people whom no one mentions. And yet, when we meet them they shine with goodness, sincerity, joy and we realize that God is there and that he is touching us, too.

In these days, therefore, let us strive to commit ourselves to seeing God again so that we ourselves may become people who diffuse a light of hope in the world, the light that comes from God and helps us to live.

Speeches 2005-13 9091