Sunday, April 02, 2006

The Pope Speaks

Forgive me -- I spoke too soon about a "wrap."

The Holy See has just released the text of the Benedict XVI's remarks from the close of the anniversary Vigil marking a year since the death of Pope John Paul II...

The Whispers translation:
Dear Brothers and Sisters!

We find each other here tonight, on the first anniversary of the passing of the beloved John Paul II, for this Marian vigil organized by the diocese of Rome. I greet with affection all of you here present in St Peter's Square, at the initiative of Cardinal Camillo Ruini and of the auxiliary bishops, with a special thought for the Cardinals, bishops, priests, religious men and women and all the lay faithful, particularly the young. Truly, it is the entire city of Rome which has been symbolically called to this emotional moment of reflection and of prayer. I especially greet Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz, Metropolitan Archbishop of Krakow and for many years the faithful collaborator of the late Pontiff. A year has now passed since the death of the Servant of God John Paull II, which came at this same moment -- 9.37pm -- but his memory continues to remain alive, as testified to by the many events manifested in these days, in each part of the world. He continues to be present in our mind and in our heart; he continues to communicate to his his love for God and love for man; he continues to bring about in all, especially in the young, an enthusiasm for the good and the courage to follow Jesus and his teachings.

How do we summarize the life and evangelical testimony of this great Pontiff? We'll be able to try and use two words: "fidelity" and "dedication," total fidelity to God and dedication without reservation to his own mission as Pastor of the Universal Church. Faithfulness and dedication which appeared ever more fervent and moving in his final months, when he made incarnate in himself that which he wrote in 1984 in the Apostolic Letter Salvifici doloris: "Suffering is present in the world to emit love, to make born works of love for our neighbor, to transform all of human civilization into 'a civilization of love'" (30). His illness confronted with courage brought much attention to human suffering, to suffering both physical and spiritual; it gave to the suffering dignity and worth, testifying that man's worth is not in his efficiency, nor his appearance, but for himself, created and loved by God. With words and actions the dear John Paul II did not tire of pointing out to the world that if man leaves himself to the embrace of Christ, it doesn't kill the richness of his humanity; if to Him we adhere with all our hearts, we will not lack for anything. To the contrary, the encounter with Christ makes our life more passionate. Because he was always closer and closer to God in prayer, in contemplation, in love for Truth and Beauty, our beloved Pope made himself able to be a companion on the journey for each of us and spoke with authority as well to those far from the Christian faith.

On the first anniversary of his return to the Father's House, we're invited tonight to welcome in a new way the spiritual inheritance which he has left us; among other things, let us be renewed to live in searching untiringly for the Truth which alone satisfies our hearts. Let us be encouraged to not be afraid to follow Christ, to bring to all the proclamation of the Gospel, which flourishes in a humanity more fraternal and unified. From heaven, may John Paul II help us to continue along our path, remaining docile disciples of Jesus to be, as he often repeated to the young, "sentinels of the morning" in this beginning of the third Christian millennium. For this, we call upon Mary, Mother of the Redeemer, toward whom he always kept a tender devotion.

PHOTO: AP/Alessandra Tarantino