Pope Benedict's Letter to Cardinal Ravasi

“The Successor of Peter and his Co-Workers are Called to Bear a Clear Witness of Faith to the Church and to the World”

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To our venerable brother

Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi

President of the Pontifical Council for Culture

I would like with my whole heart, venerable brother, to manifest to you my profound gratitude for the service you rendered to me and the Roman Curia by offering these retreat mediations. At the beginning of Lent, the week of retreat constitutes a time of still more intense silence and prayer, and this year’s theme – precisely the dialogue between God and man in the prayer of the Psalms – has been a special help to us: just having entered, so to speak, into the desert in Jesus’ footsteps, we have been able to draw the purest and most abundant water from the spring of the Word of God, which you guided us in drawing from the Book of Psalms, the biblical locus par excellence in which the Word becomes prayer.

Rich with your knowledge and experience, you proposed a suggestive itinerary through the Psalter, following a twofold movement: ascending and descending. The Psalms, in fact, orient us first of all toward the face of God, toward the mystery in which the human mind is shipwrecked, but that the divine Word itself permits us to see according to the different profiles in which God himself is revealed. And, at the same time, precisely in the light shines forth from the face of God, the prayer of the Psalms brings us to look upon the face of man, truly to recognize his joys and sufferings, his anxieties and his hopes.

In this way, dear lord cardinal, the Word of God, mediated by the ancient and ever new “ars orandi” (art of praying) of the Jewish people and the Church, you permitted us to renew the “ars credendi” (art of believing): a demand solicited by the Year of Faith and made still more necessary by the particular moment that I myself and the Apostolic See are experiencing. The successor of Peter and his co-workers are called to bear a clear witness of faith to the Church and to the world, and this is possible only through a profound and permanent immersion in the dialogue with God. Those whose faces and lives reflect the light of the face of God are able to give an answer to the many people who today ask “Who will make us see the good?” (cf. Psalm 4:7).

The Lord will know, venerable brother, how to repay you for this task that you have so brilliantly carried out. For my part I assure you an always grateful remembrance in prayer for your person and for your ecclesial service, while with affection I renew the apostolic benediction, gladly extending it to those who are dear to you.

From the Vatican, February 23, 2013


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