At the end of the ceremony today in celebration of Benedict XVI’s 65th anniversary of priesthood, the Emeritus Pope addressed words of gratitude to those present. He spoke without a script, directing himself simply to the Holy Father and his brother cardinals.
Benedict XVI is 89 years old. He was ordained on the Feast of Sts Peter and Paul, June 29, in 1951.
Here is a working ZENIT translation of the full text of his words.
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Holy Father, Dear Brothers,
Sixty-five years ago, a brother ordained with me decided to write on the holy card of remembrance of the first Mass, except for the name and date, only one word in Greek: “Efharistomen,” convinced that with this word, in its many dimensions, all was said that could be said in that moment. “Efharistomen” says a human thank you, thank you to all. Thank you above all to you, Holy Father: from the first moment of your election, your kindness in every moment of my life here strikes me, your kindness really brings me interiorly more than in the Vatican Gardens, with its beauty, to the place where I dwell; I feel protected. Thank you also for the word of gratitude for everything. And let us hope that you can go forward with all of us on this way of Divine Mercy, showing Jesus’ way to Jesus <and> to God.
Thank you also to you, Eminence, for your words that have truly touched my heart: “Cor ad cor loquitur.” You have made present both the hour of my priestly Ordination, and my visit in 2006 to Freising, where I relived this. I can only thus say that with these words you have interpreted the essential of my vision of the priesthood, of my <way> of acting. I am grateful to you for the bond of friendship, which for a long time has continued up to now […]: it is almost present and tangible.
Thank you, Cardinal Muller, for the work you do for the presentation of my texts on the priesthood, in which I also seek to help brothers to enter always again in the mystery that the Lord gives us in our hands. “Efharistomen”: in that moment my friend Berger wished to refer not only to the dimension of human gratitude, but naturally to the more profound word that is hidden, which appears in the Liturgy, in Scripture, in the words: “Gratias agens benedixit fregit deditque.”
“Efharisomen” sends us to that reality of gratitude, to that new dimension that Christ has given. He has transformed the Cross, suffering, all the evil of the world into ‘thanksgiving.’ And thus, He has transformed life and the world fundamentally and has given us and gives us every day the bread of true life, which surpasses the world thanks to the strength of His love.
At the end, we want to insert ourselves in this “thanksgiving” of the Lord and thus really receive the novelty of life and help in the transubstantiation of the world: that it be not a world of death but of life; a world in which love has conquered death.
Thank you to you all. May the Lord bless all of us. Thank you, Holy Father.
(from Vatican Radio)