Thursday, August 18, 2005

The Holy Father's Address From the Banks of the Rhine River

One key diffence for me between John Paul II and Benedict XVI: While the former pope inspired us to look for God's dwelling places, this pope shows us how to get to them. The former pope was a mystic, the current pope is a guide.

John Paul II made the greatest impact on me through his gestures. I tend to space out when I read the late pope's words. God forgive me, I simply do not have the wisdom or intelligence to follow much of what he said and wrote.

Benedict XVI's speeches are compelling and you do not have to be especially bright or wise to get into him. His words are simple yet profound.

The offical transcript of the Holy Father's address to pilgrims is a perfect example. Just take a look at this passage:

"It is true that today we are no longer looking for a king, but we are concerned for the state of the world and we are asking: “Where do I find standards to live by, what are the criteria that govern responsible co-operation in building the present and the future of our world? On whom can I rely? To whom shall I entrust myself? Where is the One who can offer me the response capable of satisfying my heart’s deepest desires?” The fact that we ask questions like these means that we realize our journey is not over until we meet the One who has the power to establish that universal Kingdom of justice and peace to which all people aspire but which they are unable to build by themselves. Asking such questions also means searching for Someone who can neither deceive nor be deceived, and who therefore can offer a certainty so solid that we can live for it and, if need be, even die for it."

This paragraph perfectly describe the ongoing pilgrimage of a Christian life. Every word here rings with the clearness of Truth. You can practically hear the Holy Spirit shaking the doors of the Upper Room.

How blessed we are to have such teachers in the two popes presiding over World Youth Day. One who best catechized with gestures, and the other whose words are understood by even the least of his flock. By me even.