Thursday, July 26, 2007
Loving the Human and the Divine
Pope Benedict XVI delivers his message during his visit to Santa Giustina church in Auronzo, near Belluno, Italy, Tuesday, July 24, 2007. Benedict plans to stay in Lorenzago, near Italy's border with Austria, until July 27, when he moves to the papal summer retreat at Castel Gandolfo, in the hills south Rome. (AP Photo/Antonio Calanni)
Benedict XVI says the beauty of Christianity is in relishing both the human and the divine.
The Pope said this Tuesday during a question-and-answer session with 400 priests of the dioceses of Belluno-Feltre and Treviso, in the Church of St. Justina Martyr in Auronzo di Cadore, near Lorenzago di Cadore, where he is vacationing.
One of the priests asked the Holy Father about enjoying human things, such as recreation. "I liked playing soccer more than going to Eucharistic adoration," the priest said, explaining that his superiors in the seminary scolded him for this.
"Doesn't bringing man close to God, and God to man, happen in our humanity, even for us priests?" he asked the Pontiff.
"I would be against choosing whether to play soccer or to study sacred Scripture or canon law. Let us do both," Benedict XVI responded. "We cannot always live in high meditation; maybe a saint at the highest levels of his earthly existence can do that, but normally we live with our feet on the ground and our eyes fixed on heaven.
"Both are given to us by the Lord and therefore loving human things, loving the beauty of this earth, is not just very human, but also very Christian and quite Catholic."
The Pope said that a "healthy and truly Catholic pastoral care" includes living in what he called the "et-et," Latin for "and-and."
He explained that this should prompt us "to live humanity and the humanism of mankind, all the gifts that the Lord has given us, which we have developed and, at the same time, not to forget God, because in the end the great light comes from God and only from him comes the light that gives joy to the realities of the things that exist."
"Therefore," the Holy Father said, "I would like to work for this great Catholic synthesis, for this 'et-et'; to be truly man -- that everyone according to their own gifts and their own charism loves the earth and the beautiful things the Lord has given us, but to also be grateful for the light of God that shines on the earth, that gives splendor and beauty to everything else."
"Let us live in this Catholicity joyously. This would be my answer," Benedict XVI concluded, prompting applause from the priests present.