Pope: "do everything possible" for Syria, "because one day it may be too late"
Appeal of Benedict XVI announcing the presence, in Lebanon as of today of Card. Sarah to express the Holy See's solidarity with the people and coordinate the activities of charitable institutions. The "desire for God", even in the secularized world, at the heart of the catechesis.

Vatican City (AsiaNews) - "We must do everything possible" for Syria, "because one day it may be too late." This is the heartfelt appeal launched today by Pope Benedict XVI who, at the end of the general audience announced that from today to November 10,  Cardinal Robert Sarah, President of the Pontifical Council Cor Unum is in Lebanon on a mission ordered by Pope.

He "will visit a number of refugees from that country and will chair a meeting of Catholic charitable agencies to coordinate efforts, as the Holy See has urgently requested, to provide assistance to the Syrian people, within and outside the country".

Card. Sarah's mission replaces that of sending a Synod delegation which "a variety of circumstances and developments" has rendered impossible in a country " where the fighting has not ceased and each day the toll of victims rises, accompanied by the untold suffering of many civilians, especially those who have been forced to abandon their homes".

"As I make my prayer to God, - concluded the Pope -  I renew my invitation to the parties in conflict, and to all those who have the good of Syria at heart, to spare no effort in the search for peace and to pursue through dialogue the path to a just coexistence, in view of a suitable political solution of the conflict. It is never too late to work for peace!".

Previously speaking to the 30 thousand present in St Peter's Square, Benedict XVI spoke of the "desire for God", the "spark which still exists in our time" which "for large sectors of society " "God is no longer desired, expected, but rather a reality that leaves some indifferent and not even worth wasting one's breath over".

The Pope began with the "meaningful" affirmation of the Catechism of the Catholic Church  "the desire for God is written in the human heart, because man is created by God and for God; and God never ceases to draw man to himself. Only in God will he find the truth and happiness he never stops searching for". "Such a statement, which even today in many cultural contexts seems quite acceptable, almost obvious, might instead appear as a provocation in the sphere of secularized Western culture. Many of our contemporaries could, in fact, argue that they do not feel such a desire for God at all", but, in reality, makes us "fellow travellers" even with those who doe not believe, but is searching for the truth and the good.

In reality, "desire for God has not completely disappeared and still today, in many ways, appears in the heart of man. Human desire always tends towards certain tangible assets, which are often far from spiritual, and yet it is still faced with the question of what "the" good really is and as a result confront itself with something other than itself, something that man cannot create, but is called upon to recognize".

The question of "what really satisfies man's desire" was discussed, as the Pope recalled, in Deus caritas est, where he examines desire starting from the experience of human love. "Through love, men and women experience in a new way, thanks to one another, the grandeur and beauty of life and of reality. If what I experience is not a mere illusion, if I really want the good of the other as a path towards my own good, then I must be willing to de-centralize myself, to put myself at the service of the other to the point of surrendering myself. The answer to the question about the meaning of the experience of love thus passes through the cleansing and healing of the will, which is required by the very good we want for the other. We have to practise, train and even correct ourselves so that that good may be truly wanted. The initial ecstasy translates thus becomes a pilgrimage, ".

But "not even your loved one, in fact, is able to satiate the desire that dwells in the human heart, indeed, the more authentic the love for each other is, the more the question of its origin, its destiny and its chances of lasting forever emerges. Therefore, the human experience of love has a dynamism that draws us beyond ourselves, it is an experience of a good that leads us beyond ourselves faces us with the mystery that surrounds all existence".

Similar considerations can be made for each good that man experiences "every wish of the human heart is echoed by a fundamental desire that is never fully satisfied."

"We therefore must believe that even in our era, seemingly reluctant to the transcendent dimension, that it is possible to open a path toward an authentic religious meaning of life, showing how the gift of faith is not absurd, it is not irrational".

In that regard, he proposed the "great benefit" of "a type of pedagogy of desire, both for the journey of those who still do not believe and for those who have already received the gift of faith. A pedagogy that includes at least two aspects. First, learning or relearning an authentic taste for the joys of life" like " family, friendship, solidarity with those who suffer, renouncing of oneself to serve others, love for knowledge, for art, for the beauty of nature "-and" leaving aside or rejecting all that while seemingly attractive, turns out to be rather tasteless, a source of addiction, not freedom. And this fosters that desire of God that we're talking about".

The second aspect "is never settling for what has been achieved. The truest joys are able to free in us that healthy restlessness that leads us to be more demanding - to want a higher, deeper good - and also to perceive with increasing clarity that nothing finite can ever fill our hearts. In this way we will learn to reach out, unarmed, towards that good that we cannot build or provide ourselves with by our strengths; to not be discouraged by fatigue or by obstacles born of our sins".

Because "even in the abyss of sin that spark is still alive in human hearts that enables man to recognize the true good, to savour it, and set out again on the upward climb, on which God, with the gift of His grace, never fails to help. All of us need to tread a path of purification and healing of desire. We are pilgrims on the journey toward our Heavenly homeland, towards that full, eternal good, that nothing can every take from us. It is not a question of suffocating the desire that is in the human heart, but of freeing it, so that it can reach its true height. When desire is open to God, this is already a sign of the presence of faith in the soul, faith that is a grace of God".