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Pope Reflects on Finding Faith in a Secular World

At his weekly general audience, the Holy Father says human hearts continue to yearn for God’s love

 

In The Year of Faith. The desire for God.

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

Continuing our catechesis for the Year of Faith, we now consider the mysterious desire for God which lies deep in the human heart. God has created us for himself and, in the words of Saint Augustine, our hearts are restless until they find their rest in him. Even in today’s secularized society, this desire for God continues to make itself felt, above all in the experience of love. In love, which seeks the good of the other, we find ourselves by giving ourselves away, in a process involving the purification and healing of our hearts. So too in friendship, in the experience of beauty and the thirst for truth and goodness: we sense that we are caught up in a process which points us beyond ourselves to a mystery in which we dimly perceive the promise of complete fulfilment. Thanks to this innate religious sense, we can open our hearts to the gift of faith which draws us ever closer to God, the source of all good and the fulfilment of our deepest desire. During this Year of Faith, let us pray for our contemporaries who seek the truth with a sincere heart, that they may come to know the joy and freedom born of faith.

Pope Benedict XVI

GENERAL AUDIENCE : Saint Peter's Square, Wednesday, 7 November 2012 [ READ MORE ]

VATICAN CITY ( by Matthew A. Rarey/CNA 11/08/2012 ) 

Pope Benedict XVI continued his series of teachings on faith by observing that although secularism is on the rise, everyone has a desire for God, and this can be seen in the experience of love.

 

“Even in today’s secularized society, this desire for God continues to make itself felt, above all in the experience of love,” he told thousands of pilgrims assembled in St. Peter’s Square for the Nov. 7 general audience.

 

The Pope quoted St. Augustine’s famous words about hearts remaining restless until they rest in God. And love, he noted, is the way to begin satisfying that longing, which finds its fulfillment in faith in God.

 

Love by its very nature means encountering another, the Holy Father said, noting that this can be in another person or in God himself.

 

The essence of love is “seeking the good of the other,” he noted, and by loving we “find ourselves by giving ourselves away.”

 

Pope Benedict explained that when people go beyond themselves, it nurtures their built-in sense of a greater reality beyond them, even beyond fellow human beings.

 

“Thanks to this innate religious sense, we can open our hearts to the gift of faith which draws us ever closer to God, the source of all good and the fulfillment of our deepest desire,” the Pope said toward the end of his remarks.

 

Noting that this is the Year of Faith, he invited Catholics to pray for all sincere seekers of the truth, “that they may come to know the joy and freedom born of faith.”

 

After acknowledging groups of pilgrims from different countries in their native tongues, with huge delegations of flag-waving Poles and Croats enthusiastically responding to his words, the Pope sung the Our Father in Latin.

 

A group of 34 pilgrims from St. Mary’s Church in Nutley, N.J., lingered a while afterward, holding bags of blessed rosaries, crucifixes and holy medals.

 

“It’s just truly amazing to be here, even though I only caught some of what the Pope said in English,” said Lily Tremari. “My niece is receiving her confirmation next Tuesday, and I’ll be giving her a crucifix blessed by the Pope.” 

 

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