VATICAN CITY, MARCH 5, 2012 (Zenit.org).- Benedict XVI on Saturday concluded his annual Lenten retreat. This year’s spiritual exercises were preached by Cardinal Laurent Monsengwo Pasinya, archbishop of Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo, who focused on the theme of “the communion of Christians with God.”
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At the end of these days of prayer and listening it is appropriate to say thank you. On behalf of everyone I say thank you, Your Eminence, for the guidance that you gave us in these exercises. You guided us, so to speak, in the great garden of the First Letter of St. John and thus in the whole of Scripture, with great exegetical competence and with spiritual and pastoral experience. You led always with your eyes fixed upon God and, precisely with this look toward God, we learned the love, the faith that creates communion. And you seasoned these mediations of yours with beautiful stories, mostly taken from your dear African land, which gave us joy and helped us.
I was particularly struck by that story in which you spoke of a friend, who, being in a coma, had the feeling of being in a dark tunnel, but at the end saw a little light and above all heard beautiful music. It seems to me that this could be a parable of our lives: we often find ourselves in a dark tunnel in the deepest night, but by faith, at the end we see light and hear beautiful music, we perceive the beauty of God, of heaven and of earth, of God the creator and of the creature; and thus, it is true, “spe sumus salvati” (we are saved in hope) (cf. Romans 8:24).
And you, Your Eminence, have confirmed us in faith, in hope and charity.
Thank you.[Translation by Joseph G. Trabbic]