Thirtieth National Convocation of the Groups and Community of Renewed in the Spirit
Rimini, 30 April 2007
1. "I am coming that they may have life, and that they may have it in abundance." Beloved brothers and sisters, this is the great promise made to mankind, the promise of life. In fact, what does man desire more than life? And death is the greatest enemy of man. Jesus says of Himself of "being come" – that is, of being sent from the Father; of not having considered His equality with the Father a jealous treasure – that man "may have life, and have it in abundance."
But what is life? What does it mean to have life in abundance? Concerning the plan of physical life we know how to respond easily. However, man is instinctively aware that his life cannot be reduced to that physical thing. Rather, we venerate the martyrs for "having life in abundance," having need to renounce physical life. On what does man truly life? Where are the sources of life?
Let us look for the response to these questions in the responsorial Psalm which we have just sung. We have prayed: "send Your truth and Your light; let these guide me; let them bring me to Your holy mountain and to Your dwelling." First of all, man lives on truth and light. But not only nor principally on fragmentary truths reached laboriously with the use of his own reason; he lives on truth, on light which God Himself gives him: "send Your truth and Your light: let these guide me."
Having life is that which the heart of man desires most profoundly, "he has need of God, of the God who brings Himself to him and explains to him the significance of life, indicating to him thus the way to life. Certainly man has need of bread, of bodily nutrition, but more profoundly he has need above all of the Word, of Love, of God Himself" (J. Ratzinger – Benedict XVI, Gesù de Nazareth, Rizzoli ed., Milano 2007, p. 323).
"Let these guide me; let them bring me to Your holy mountain and to Your dwelling." See, here are the sources of life: on the holy mountain. See, here it is possible to sustain oneself on the food which gives life in abundance: in the dwelling of God. The desire for life in his most intimate nature is the desire to see the face of God and be with Him: "when shall I go and see the face of God?"
Beloved brothers and sisters, Jesus can say, "I am coming that they may have life and have it in abundance," because he can say of Himself: "I am the light of the world. He who follows me shall not walk in darkness but shall have the light of life" (John 8:12). To the invocation of man – "send Your truth and Your light" – God has responded in a way that man had never been able to dream of. He has sent His own Word, Light from Light, who made Himself flesh, becoming the Truth in the world, traveling there that arrives at life. He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. And the Holy Spirit is given to us to introduce us into that Truth and thus is the Spirit Who guides us to the font of Life, Christ Jesus. The Spirit comes to dwell in yearning heart of man, which is felt as a pilgrim and is thirty and which sighs for the font of life. In his heart, he is begging for truth. And the Spirit leads him to Christ, the Eucharistic bread of life.
2. Beloved brothers and sisters, in this afternoon session you have desired to praise and give thanks to the Lord for the gifts of marriage and the family. You have rejoiced in hearing the testimony of His truth, of His bounty, of His beauty.
There is a profound connection between the family and life. The Servant of God, John Paul II, described this connection in the following manner. The family is truly "the sanctuary of life…the place in which life, a gift of God, can be adequately welcomed and protected against the multiple attacks to which it is exposed, and it can be developed according to the requirements of an authentic human growth" (Centessimus Annus, 39).
There exists a natural, profound friendship between the Christian faith and the family, since the Christian faith is the encounter with the Life which was made visible. The Church is not able to not place herself as the caretaker of the family, since she knows that she is the measure of its preciousness, the same preciousness of life. No one can impede the Church from saying with the loudest voice her "Yes" to the family and therefore her "No" to all that one sets as a risk to unrepeatable unicity, since no one shall be able to stop the Church from loving mankind, from desiring that he have lift and have it in abundance, from fighting against all the germs of corruption which produce death for man.
Beloved brothers and sisters, Peter says with humble and strong simplicity, "Who was I to place an impediment before God?" If God has sent His Only-begotten that man may have life and have it in abundance, who is he to put an impediment in the way of the completion of this divine design? Today, we celebrate the joy of not having placed an impediment to the gift of God: the joy of having received – also for non-believers – the Holy Spirit, "who is Lord and gives life."
La traduzione, non rivista dal Card. Caffarra, è di Ryan Hilderbrand.