By Kathleen Naab
CASTEL GANDOLFO, Italy, AUG. 6, 2012 (Zenit.org).- Benedict XVI responded to a birthday present from his homeland with a reflection on the beauty of life and the greatness of joy.
The Pope on Friday evening welcomed nearly 1,000 Bavarian pilgrims who took a train from the Holy Father’s homeland of Bavaria to Castel Gandolfo, as a birthday gift for Benedict’s 85th, which he celebrated April 16.
The group, which included traditional bands and dancers, all in traditional costume, was led by the archbishop of Munich and Freising, Cardinal Reinhard Marx.
In the Holy Father’s words of gratitude at the end of the event, he reflected on the Bavarian culture as one “of gladness.”
“It is not simply a matter of entertainment, but of a culture of gladness, imbued with joy; it is born of an interior acceptance of the world, of an interior ‘yes’ to life that is a ‘yes’ to joy,” he said. “It is founded upon the fact that we are in harmony with creation, in harmony with the Creator himself, and for this reason we know that it is good to be a person.”
The Pope said that in Bavaria, it is “easy to recognize that God is good and be glad about it” since the region is so beautiful. At the same time, the Pontiff continued, God has made the region beautiful with the collaboration of the local people. “[T]he men who live in this land, precisely from their ‘yes,’ knew how to give it its complete beauty; it became so beautiful only through the culture of persons, through their faith, their joy, songs, music and art. The Creator did not wish to do this alone but only with the help of men.”
Ever the teacher, Benedict XVI went on to note that “someone could ask whether it is right to be so happy when the world is so full of suffering, when there exists so much darkness and evil? Is it right to be so high spirited and joyful?”
“The answer can only be ‘yes!'” he affirmed. “Because saying ‘no’ to joy we do nothing of use to anyone, we only make the world darker. […]
“From our faith we know and every day we see that the world is beautiful and God is good. And because of the fact that he became man and dwelled among us we know it definitively and concretely: yes, God is good and it is good to be a person. We live in this joy, and from this joy we try to bring joy to others, to reject evil and to be servants of peace and reconciliation.”
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Full text: www.zenit.org/article-35316?l=english