The Holy See message

Press Meeting

Benedict XVI: “Bear witness in our time that the great things that the human heart yearns are in God”

Your Excellency,
with joy I am pleased to convey the cordial greetings of the Holy Father to Your Excellency, to the organizers and all participants at the Meeting for Friendship Among Peoples held in Rimini.
This year the title of your important event – “That nature that drives us to desire great things is the heart” – reminds us that the bottom of the nature of every man is an irrepressible anxiety that drives him to find something that meets that his yearning. Every man realizes that in carrying out their deepest desires of his heart may be the opportunity for achievement, fulfilment, to become truly himself.
The man knows he cannot meet its own needs. As the illusion of self-sufficiency, he experiences that cannot self-sufficient. He needs to open up to others, to something or someone that can give him what he misses. Must, so to speak,
out of himself to what he is able to fill the width of his desire.
As the title of the meeting highlights, not everything is the ultimate goal of the human heart, but only the “great things”. People are often tempted to stop at the little things, those that give satisfaction and pleasure “cheap” to those that satisfy for a moment, things so easy to obtain, as ultimately illusory. The gospel story of the temptations of Jesus (Mt. 4, 1-4), the Devil insinuates that “bread”, the material satisfaction to be able to satisfy man. This is a dangerous lie, because it contains only a partial truth. The man, in fact, also lives in bread but not bread alone. Jesus’ answer reveals the falsity of this last position: “I do not live by bread alone man, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God” (Mt. 4,4). God alone suffices. He alone satisfies the deepest hunger of man. Anyone who has found God, found everything. Finite things can give glimmers of joy or satisfaction, but only the Infinite can fill the heart
man: “inquietum est cor nostrum, donec requiescat in Te – our hearts are restless until they rest in you” (Sant ‘Agostino, Confessions, I, 1.). The man, after all, needs only one thing that contains everything, but first he must learn to recognize, even through his desires and longings surface what they really need, what you really want, what is meet the capacity of his heart.
God came into the world to awake in us the thirst for “great things”. It is also evident in the Gospel passage of inexhaustible wealth, which tells of Jesus with the Samaritan woman (Jn 4.5 to 42), of which Sant ‘Agostino has left us a bright comment. The Samaritan woman was living the existential dissatisfaction of those who have not yet found what he seeks: he had “five husbands” and at that moment
lived with another man. That woman, as she habitually went to draw water at Jacob’s well and found Jesus, sitting, tired of travel, in the heat of midday. After being asked to drink, Jesus offers the water, and not any, but “living water” and can quench his thirst. And so he made space “gradually […] in her heart” (Sant ‘Agostino, Commentary on the Gospel of John, XV, 12), highlighting the desire for something deeper than the mere need of quench thirst material. Sant ‘Agostino said: “He who asked to drink, thirst was the desire of the woman” (ibid., XV, 11). God thirsts for our thirst for Him. The Holy Spirit, symbolized by the ‘living water “of which Jesus speaks, it is vital that power that quenches the deepest thirst of man and gives him the total life, the life that he search and wait without knowing. The Samaritan woman then left the jug on the ground “that no longer needed the most, and indeed had become a burden: he was now eager to drink only of that ‘water’ (ibid., XV, 30).
Even the disciples of Emmaus living before Jesus the same experience. It is still the Lord who is “burn their hearts” as they walked to the two “looking sad.” (Lk 24,13-35). While not recognize the risen Jesus on the way done with him, they felt the heart burn in the chest, resume life, so that you get home, “insisted” that he should remain with them. “Stay with us, Lord” is an expression of desire that throbs in the heart of every human being. This desire for “great things” must be transformed into prayer. The Fathers believed that praying is just yearning to change in the Lord. In a beautiful passage Sant ‘Agostino defines prayer as an expression of desire and affirms that God responds to Him our hearts, “God […] instilling in us the desire, expands our souls, and extending our hearts , enables him to accept it “(Commentary on the First Letter of John, IV, 6). And we should purify our desires and our hopes to accommodate the sweetness of God “This – continues Sant ‘Agostino – is our life: the desire to practice” (ibid.). Praying to God is a journey, a scale is a process of purification of our thoughts, our desires. To God we can ask anything. Everything is good. The goodness and power of God does not know a boundary between large and small things, between things material and spiritual, between earthly and heavenly. In dialogue with him, carrying our whole life in front of his eyes, we learn to desire the good things to be desired in the end, God himself. It is said that one of its moments of prayer, St. Thomas Aquinas felt the Crucified Lord tell him: “You have written well of me Thomas; what you want?”. “Just You” was the reply of the Holy Doctor. “Nothing but you”. Learning to pray is to learn to be desired and thus learn to live.
Five years after the death of Monsignor Luigi Giussani, His Holiness joined spiritually to members of the Movement of Communion and Liberation. How he was able to recall at the hearing in St. Peter’s Square March 24, 2007, “Giussani […] undertook to awake in youth the love of Christ,” the Way, Truth and Life “, repeating that only he is the path towards the realization of the deepest desires of the human heart. ”
In entrusting these reflections to the participants in the meeting, hoping to be helpful to recognize, meet and love the Lord more and more and witness in our time that “great things” to which the human heart longs are in God, His Holiness Benedict XVI assures prayer and willingly submit to your Excellency, to the leaders and organizers and all those present apostolic blessing.
Cordially join my wish and I take this opportunity to assure you of distinct treat.
Your Excellency’s
devout in the Lord