Pontiff Affirms Search for God on Earth Never Ends

Commemorates Anniversary of St. Anselm’s Death

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VATICAN CITY, APRIL 21, 2009 (Zenit.org).- Benedict XVI is affirming the continually relevant message of St. Anselm, directed particularly to theologians and Europeans, that the journey in search of God on earth will never end.

The Pope stated this in a message he sent through Cardinal Giacomo Biffi, retired archbishop of Bologna, on the occasion of the ninth centenary of the death of St. Anselm. The message was read today at a solemn Mass in the Aosta cathedral in honor of the philosopher and theologian, on his feast day.

The Pontiff recalled the life of the monk, who was born in the Aosta mountains and died in Canterbury in 1109.

The Holy Father noted that the writings of Anselm reveal a God who is bigger than anyone can imagine.

«In fact,» he said, the writings show a growing realization «that God is found at an unreachable height, far beyond the goals that man can reach, because God is far beyond what is thinkable.»

«For this reason,» Benedict XVI added, «the journey in search of God, at least on this earth, will never end, but will always be turned into thought and desire, into a rigorous intellectual exercise and a imploring petition of the heart.»

The Pope recalled the words of St. Anselm in the first chapter of his «Proslogion,» acknowledging that this can be a program for all theological research: «I do not try, Lord, to penetrate your depths, because in no way can I compare it with my own intelligence; but I desire to understand your truth, albeit imperfectly, the truth that my heart believes and loves.»

The saint, named doctor of the Church by Pope Clement XI, added, «Because I do not seek to understand in order to believe, but rather I believe in order to understand.»

The Pontiff affirmed that Anselm still has «great relevance and intense fascination.» For this reason he lauded the initiative of revising the saint’s works again, and he recommended reading them, as they present faith and reason «admirably united.»

The Holy Father also sent a message to Father Notker Wolf, abbot primate of the Confederated Benedictines, on the occasion of the centennial.

In the letter, written in Latin, the Pope states: «Recalling with a devoted heart the figure of this saint, we wish to exalt and illustrate the treasure of his wisdom so that the people of our time, especially Europeans, may draw close to him and receive his sound and abundant doctrine.»

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