Quaerite Faciem Eius Semper
But today is the memorial of St. Augustine. And Joseph Ratzinger is nothing if not a committed Augustinian. Noting the commentary of the "Son of Tears" on Psalm 104's exhortation to "Seek always his face," Benedict said, "The discovery of the 'face of God' is inexhaustible. The more we enter into the splendor of divine love, the more beautiful it is to continue forward in seeking it out."
He sounds like the new Tracy Chapman single. I kid you not. But I digress....
The context of this meditation is extremely important. Even though he's been back for a week, the Pope again spoke about the experience of World Youth Day, focusing particularly on his take as to two things: what the young people gathered in Cologne were seeking, and what they need to know.
Not only the young people, but the community and its pastors must always be extremely conscious of a fundamental fact of evangelization: that where God does not take the first place, where he is not recognized and adored as the supreme good, the dignity of man is jeopardized.And speaking of his encounter with the German bishops, he made his own what he felt was the youth's request: "Help us to be disciples and witnesses of Christ."
As if he didn't before, it seems this Pope is focusing in more and more on that magic "A" word -- authenticity. Authenticity of witness, authenticity of message, authenticity of life. It provided the whole context of this morning's meditation. He's not looking for young people (and, for that matter, seminarians) who are going to scream, sing and dance under his window to go home and be unable to remember, let alone embrace, a single substantive thing he said.
We saw the evolution of this from the start of the pontificate, with the emphasis on Petrine ministry as servant of communion, not temporal behemoth. And what a point -- it seems Ratzi's never known anyone who truly found God in a tiara, either.
He knows that what draws people -- draws them substantively as opposed to superficially (big difference there) -- is not trappings, titles and torches, but tangible commitment, joy, human warmth and integrity. Those who sacrifice the latter qualities for the former, so the theory goes, basically hand a double victory to those who seek to discredit the face of the entire enterprise.
By their fruits, not their decibel levels, shall you judge them.
PHOTO: AP/Andrew Medichini