Pope Says Germany Trip Was a Feast of Faith

Notes Highlights at Today’s General Audience

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VATICAN CITY, SEPT. 28, 2011 (Zenit.org).- It is God who gives life meaning, and only he can give us a future, says Benedict XVI.

The Pope affirmed this today at the general audience in St. Peter’s Square, in which he reflected on his trip last week to Germany. He called his Thursday-Sunday voyage «intense and splendid days passed in my homeland.»

«This visit, carried out under the motto ‘Where God is, there is a future,’ was truly a great feast of faith,» the Holy Father stated. He said it was a «precious gift that allowed us to perceive anew that it is God who gives our lives their deepest meaning, true fullness; indeed, that only he gives to us — gives to all — a future.»

As is customary after his apostolic trips, the Pontiff highlighted some of the main elements of his journey.

He spoke of the invitation to go to the Bundestag as «certainly among the most significant moments of my journey.»

«For the first time, a Pope delivered an address before the members of the German Parliament,» he explained. «On this occasion, I wished to expound upon the foundations of law and of a free state of law; that is, upon the measure of every law, inscribed by the Creator into the very being of his creation.»

He also noted the ecumenical tone of the visit, saying he «greatly desired to experience a moment of ecumenism at Erfurt, since it was there that Martin Luther entered the Augustinian community, and there that he was ordained a priest.»

Referring to the ecumenical events there, Benedict XVI reflected: «We saw once again how important our common witness of faith in Jesus Christ is in today’s world, which often ignores God and takes no interest in him. Our common effort is needed along the path toward full unity, but we are always well aware that we can neither ‘make’ faith nor the unity we so desire. A faith that we ourselves create is of no value; true unity is rather a gift from the Lord, who prayed and who always prays for the unity of his disciples.

«Only Christ can give us this unity, and we ourselves will be ever more united in the measure that we turn to him and allow ourselves to be transformed by him.»

Faithful through the centuries

Benedict XVI revealed that a «particularly moving event for me was the celebration of Marian Vespers before the sanctuary of Etzelsbach.»

He explained, «Ever since my youth I have heard so much about Eichsfeld — a strip of land that has always remained Catholic throughout the various vicissitudes of history — and [I have also heard much] about its inhabitants who courageously opposed the dictatorships of Nazism and of Communism. Thus, I was very happy to visit this Eichsfeld and its people on a pilgrimage to the miraculous image of the Sorrowful Virgin of Etzelsbach, where for centuries the faithful have entrusted to Mary their requests, concerns and sufferings, and have received comfort, grace and blessing.»

The Pontiff also noted his encounter with Monsignor Hermann Scheipers, the last living German priest to have survived the concentration camp of Dachau; and with a group of victims of sexual abuse by religious.

Speaking of his prayer vigil with youth, the Holy Father said he was «happy to see that the faith in my German homeland has a youthful face; that is it alive and has a future.»

«Once again, I told them that the Pope is trusting in the active collaboration of young people,» he said. «With the grace of Christ, they are capable of carrying the fire of God’s love to the world.»

«Dear brothers and sisters, this apostolic journey to Germany offered me the propitious occasion to meet the faithful of my German homeland, to confirm them in faith, in hope and in love, and to share with them the joy of being Catholic,» the Pontiff concluded. «But my message was addressed to the whole German people, in order to invite everyone to look to the future with faith. It is true, ‘Where God is, there is a future.'»

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Full text: www.zenit.org/article-33553?l=english

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