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Saturday, 17 September 2011


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.


© Copyright 2011 - Libreria Editrice Vaticana


Copyright © Dicastero per la Comunicazione - Libreria Editrice Vaticana