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  • » 11/02/2008, 00.00

    VATICAN

    Pope: Evangelizing the reality of death, freeing it from superstition, syncretism, mythology



    On the day for commemorating all of the deceased, Benedict XVI asks the faithful "not to be sad," but to live their faith in the dead and risen Christ. In the world, there is an "irrepressible" anticipation of eternal life, to which Christ responds with his love. Today, the pope visits the Vatican crypt to pray for all of the deceased popes.

    Vatican City (AsiaNews) - On the day on which the Church commemorates all of the faithful departed, Benedict XVI has asked Christians to "evangelize the reality of death and of eternal life, a reality particularly subject to superstitious beliefs and syncretism, so that Christian truth does not risk being blended with mythologies of various kinds." Speaking before the prayer of the Angelus, to the pilgrims gathered in St. Peter's Square, he said that "it is very important that we Christians live a relationship with the departed in the truth of the faith, and that we look at death and the next world in the light of Revelation." In support of this, he cited the words of St. Paul, who said "not to be sad like those who have no hope," and "if in fact we believe that Jesus has died and risen, so also God, through Jesus, will gather with him all those who have died" (1 Thes. 4:13-14).

    The pontiff recalled that eternal life was one of the themes of his encyclical "Spe Salvi." "I asked: is the Christian faith also for the men of today a hope that transforms and upholds their life (cf. no. 10)? And more radically: do the men and women of our age still desire eternal life? Or has earthly existence become their only horizon? In reality, as St. Augustine observed, we all want 'the blessed life', happiness. We do not know very well what this is, but we feel drawn to it. This is a universal hope, common to the men of all times and places. The expression 'eternal life' is intended to give a name to this irrepressible expectation: not an endless succession, but immersion in the ocean of infinite love, in which time, before and after, no longer exist. A fullness of life and joy: this is what we hope for and anticipate from our being with Christ (cf. no. 12)."

    Before the Marian prayer, the pontiff exhorted all to renew their "hope in eternal life, solidly founded in the death and resurrection of Christ. 'I am risen, and now I am always with you', the Lord tells us, 'and my hand upholds you. Wherever you might fall, you will fall into my hands, and I will be present even at the gate of death. Where no one can accompany you any longer, and where you can bring nothing, there I will wait for you to transform your darkness into light'."

    "Christian hope," the pope concluded, "is not, however, an individual hope, it is always hope for others as well. Our existence is profoundly connected to that of one another, and the good and evil that each one does always affects the others. Thus the prayer of a pilgrim soul in the world can help another soul that is being purified after death. This is why the Church calls upon us to pray for our deceased loved ones, and to visit their graves. May Mary, the Star of Hope, make our hope in eternal life stronger and more authentic, and support our prayers for our departed brethren."

    At 6:30 this evening, the pope will visit the crypt of the Vatican basilica for a moment of prayer in private, on behalf of the Supreme Pontiffs buried there, and of all the departed. Tomorrow, he will celebrate a Mass for all of the cardinals and bishops who died this year.

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    See also

    29/06/2008 VATICAN
    Pope: Rome, unity and mission to all peoples at feast of Peter and Paul
    Benedict XVI emphasises the mission of the two apostles, and that of the see of Rome, to emphasise the unity and universality of the Catholic faith. Also present Bartholomew I, patriarch of Constantinople, in Rome for the beginning of the Pauline Year. The pontiff gave 40 archbishops the pallium, sign of Christ's "care" for humanity and of collegial communion with the pope.

    14/12/2008 VATICAN
    Pope: closeness of God is not physical or temporal, but "of love"
    Benedict XVI blesses the "infants" for Nativity scenes brought by the children of Rome, and offers the prayer: Open our hearts / that we may receive Jesus in joy / always do what he asks / and see him in all those / who are in need of our love.

    16/11/2008 VATICAN
    Pope: the "talents" that Christ has given us are multiplied when given away
    Benedict XVI urges the faithful not to forget the gift of the faith, and not to be afraid of God, but to offer and share the gift given to us by Christ, which is He himself. Acknowledgment of religious who live in cloistered contemplative prayer. All are called to support them in their material needs. Their presence in the world is "indispensable."

    17/02/2008 VATICAN - LEBANON
    Pope: The Transfiguration and the way of the Cross. An appeal for Lebanon
    Benedict XVI asks politicians of the Lebanese nation to find the ways of reconciliation, and choose a head of state. At the reflection before the Angelus, he emphasises the Transfiguration, as an anticipation of the resurrection, which presupposes following Jesus on the way of the Cross.

    23/11/2008 VATICAN
    Pope: if it rejects the kingdom of God, the world cannot help but go to ruin
    At the recitation of the Angelus, Benedict XVI returns to speaking of charity as the "criterion" of the last judgment. A mention of the beatification, tomorrow in Nagasaki, of 188 Japanese martyrs, and the commemoration of the "great famine" that 75 years ago cost Ukraine millions of dead.



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