From the March 31 address to the directors and members of an Italian association of artisans:
In the Bible, the authentic meaning of human work is highlighted in various passages. To start with Genesis, we read that the Creator made man in his image and likeness and invited him to cultivate the earth (cf. Genesis 2:5-6).
Work is consequently inherent in man's original condition. Unfortunately, because of our first parents' sin it became an effort and a penalty (cf. Genesis 3:6-8), but in the divine plan its value has remained unchanged.
And the Church, faithful to God's Word, does not cease to recall the principle: "Work is "for man' and not man "for work'" ("Laborem Exercens," No. 6). Thus, she ceaselessly proclaims the primacy of man over the work of his hands and recalls that it must all be oriented to the true progress of the human person and the common good: capital, science, technology, public resources and even private ownership.
This has been felicitously achieved in the craftwork businesses you represent, which are inspired by the Gospel teachings and the principles of the Church's social doctrine....
...Dear friends, continue with tenacity and perseverance to preserve and put to good use the productive craft culture that can give life to important opportunities for balanced financial progress and encounters between men and peoples.
Furthermore, may you as Christians be committed to living and testifying to the "Gospel of work", in the awareness that the Lord calls all the baptized to holiness through their daily occupations. Josemaría Escrivá, a Saint of our times, notes in this regard that since Christ who worked as a craftsman took it into his hands, "work has become for us a redeemed and redemptive reality. Not only is it the background of man's life, it is a means and path of holiness. It is something to be sanctified and something which sanctifies" (Christ Is Passing By, Homily, n. 47).
From the address following the concert offered him for his 80th birthday
Since the language of music is universal, we see people from completely different cultural and religious backgrounds who let themselves be gripped and likewise guided by it and who also interpret it.
Today, this universal aspect of music is given special emphasis, thanks to the electronic and digital instruments of communications. How many people there are in the most diverse countries who are able to take part in this musical performance at home, or experience it later!
I am convinced that music -- and here I am thinking in particular of the great Mozart and this evening, of course, of the marvellous music by Gabrieli and the majestic "New World" by Dvorák -- really is the universal language of beauty which can bring together all people of good will on earth and get them to lift their gaze on high and open themselves to the Absolute Good and Beauty whose ultimate source is God himself.
In looking back over my life, I thank God for placing music beside me, as it were, as a travelling companion that has offered me comfort and joy. I also thank the people who from the very first years of my childhood brought me close to this source of inspiration and serenity.
I thank those who combine music and prayer in harmonious praise of God and his works: they help us glorify the Creator and Redeemer of the world, which is the marvellous work of his hands.
This is my hope: that the greatness and beauty of music will also give you, dear friends, new and continuous inspiration in order to build a world of love, solidarity and peace.
From the address at his birthday luncheon with several cardinals.
I also thank those who did not write, but thought and prayed. The true gift to me today is prayer, which gives me the certainty that I am accepted from within and above all, assisted and sustained in my Petrine ministry, a ministry which I cannot carry out on my own but only in communion with all who help me, also by praying, so that the Lord may be with all of us and also with me.
Today, in the Office of Readings we recited the words of a Psalm which ring especially true and are very precious to me: "In manibus tuis sortes meae" (Ps 31:16); in the Vetus latina the text was: "In manu tua tempora mea"; the Italian translation says: "Nelle tue mani sono i miei giorni"; the Greek text speaks of kairoi mou [the English translation is "my times are in your hands"].
All these versions mirror a single truth: that our time, every day, the events of our life, our destiny and our action are in the good hands of the Lord. This accounts for the great trust with which we go ahead, knowing that these hands of the Lord are sustained by the hands and hearts of so many Cardinals.
From the March 25 homily at the Roman parish of St. Felicity and Her Children
Every person carries within himself a project of God, a personal vocation, a personal idea of God on what he is required to do in history to build his Church, a living Temple of his presence. And the priest's role is above all to reawaken this awareness, to help the individual discover his personal vocation, God's task for each one of us. I see that many here have discovered the project that concerns them, both with regard to professional life in the formation of today's society -- where the presence of Christian consciences is fundamental -- and also with regard to the call to contribute to the Church's growth and life. Both these things are equally important.
A society where Christian conscience is no longer alive loses its bearings; it no longer knows where to go, what it can do, what it cannot do, and ends up in emptiness, it fails. Only if a living awareness of the faith illumines our hearts can we also build a just society. It is not the Magisterium that imposes doctrine. It is the Magisterium that helps enable the conscience itself to hear God's voice, to know what is good, what is the Lord's will. It is only an aid so that personal responsibility, nourished by a lively conscience, may function well and thus contribute to ensuring that justice is truly present in our society: justice within ourselves and universal justice for all our brothers and sisters in the world today. Today, globalization is not only economic: there is also a globalization of responsibilities, this universality, which is why we are all responsible for everyone.
The Church offers us the encounter with Christ, with the living God, with the "Logos" who is Truth and Light, who does not coerce consciences, does not impose a partial doctrine but helps us ourselves to be men and women who are completely fulfilled and thus to live in personal responsibility and in deeper communion with one another, a communion born from communion with God, with the Lord. I see here this living community. I am grateful to the priests, I am grateful to all of you, their collaborators. And I hope that the Lord will help you and enlighten you always.