2012-10-13 Vatican Radio
(Vatican Radio) The profile of the elderly pontiff stands out on the evening of 11 October, within the frame of the world’s favourite window, in a deep and moving moment. He knows well that the eyes and hearts of everyone are expecting a word approaching one of the most famous improvised speeches of all times, that speech “of the Moon” of his unforgettable predecessor John XXIII. The appearance and style of the two are very different, but the message is no less intense and profound.
Fifty years ago the young Joseph Ratzinger, with a pure priestly heart and passionate intelligence, was also looking from the Square up to that window, full of idealistic ardour. Now Pope Benedict’s gaze seems to be aimed upwards more than towards the crowd because while he speaks he is probing the mystery of God. God: The first priority of the pontificate, the first reference of that Council that he invites us to make our own in its most profound truth and intention.
God and our history, God and the history of the Church. “The joys and the hopes, the griefs and the anxieties of … men … are [those] of the followers of Christ” This is how the last council document opens. A history to be read in the light of the Gospel parables, like that of the weeds and the wheat. A history of insidious and terrible sin, crystallised in its “structures”, of personal sin that wounds and demeans the experience of every one of us. But also a history of grace that works silently and appears in “small flames of goodness, love, and truth”, like those countless flames which dot and light up the Square on this moonless night. So a simple joy, a humble joy; but a true joy, aware that the presence and of the work of the Spirit of the Lord is with us – despite everything – and is strong and loyal.
Humbly joy, small flames of goodness and truth, that transform and give warmth. Those who thought the Year of Faith had to be seen in a series of triumphal events didn’t get it right. Pope Benedict is aiming in an entirely different direction. And looking back on the faithful in the Square he ends by echoing Pope John: “Go home, give your children a kiss, and tell them that it comes from the Pope”. A simple little kiss full of the love of God. The Year of Faith begins.