Message to Communion-and-Liberation Meeting

God “Loves Us Inasmuch as We Are Free”

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RIMINI, Italy, AUG. 22, 2005 (Zenit.org).- Here is a translation of Benedict XVI’s message, sent by Cardinal Angelo Sodano, Vatican secretary of state, to the “Meeting for Friendship Among Peoples,” being held here since Sunday by the Communion and Liberation movement.

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To His Excellency Monsignor Mariano de Cicolo
Bishop of Rimini

Most Reverend Excellency,

It is with great joy that the Holy Father makes himself present spiritually, through this message, in the 26th edition of the Rimini Meeting entitled “Freedom Is the Most Precious Gift that the Heavens Have Given Men.”

This year’s theme is of extraordinary importance at a historic and cultural time in which nothing is so misunderstood as the term freedom. In fact it is true: God has our freedom very much at heart. He wants us to be free, he loves us inasmuch as we are free, to the point that he accepts the risk that we have of distancing ourselves from him in order to safeguard in us the possibility of acknowledging him without inner constrictions.

But why does God love our freedom? Because he sees in us the image of his incarnate Son, who has always adhered freely to the Father’s plan, who freely accepted a body and freely abased himself to the point of death on the cross, in that sacrificial oblation which the sacrament of the Eucharist actualizes every day on the altar. We can also have the experience of being truly free only when, adhering without reservations to Christ’s plan, we also participate in freedom.

Genuine freedom therefore is the fruit of a personal encounter with Jesus. In him, God gives us and restores to us that freedom that we had otherwise lost for ever because of the sin of our forbears. To each of us happens what happened to the Samaritan woman of whom St. John speaks in his Gospel (see 4:5-43). She felt reborn interiorly and had the perception of being truly free again when meeting the “man” who told her everything she had done and showed her her true face and her destiny.

The rich youth, on the contrary (see Matthew 19:16-22), did recognize in the Lord the possibility of human fulfillment, but did not have the courage to follow him all the way because, as the Gospel says, he had too many riches. He believed mistakenly that true freedom, which he ardently desired, was [the] absence of links, of ties, and of any obedience. And so, although he remained apparently free to act according to his own autonomous choices, he went away sad. We can undoubtedly try to build our life without Christ, but with the one consequence of remaining always alone and disconsolate.

The message that the Holy Father sent to all participants in the Meeting is that Jesus alone makes us free! One cannot think of freedom without thinking of the term liberation, which forms part of the name of your movement. Jesus is for us liberation! — liberation from sin, from our false desires, and, ultimately from ourselves. “Ubi fides ibi et libertas”: these words, pronounced on the occasion of the funeral of deceased Monsignor Giussani, His Holiness now repeats, confirming that liberation is the most beautiful existential reverberation that faith can elicit in our life.

With these sentiments the Holy Father sends his best wishes for good work to the participants in the Meeting, and imparts to all his blessing, propitiator of copious heavenly favors.

In wishing the organizers of the initiative complete success, I confirm my sentiments of fraternal respects.

Cardinal Angelo Sodano
Secretary of State

[Translation by ZENIT]

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