Monday, August 6, 2012

Feast: the Transfiguration of Jesus - The Joy of Being a (Bavarian) Christian

O God, who in the glorious Transfiguration of your Only Begotten Son confirmed the mysteries of faith by the witness of the Fathers and wonderfully prefigured our full adoption to sonship, grant, we pray, to your servants, that, listening to the voice of your beloved Son, we may merit to become co-heirs with him. Who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

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On Saturday evening, Cardinal Marx of Munich and his predecessor Cardinal Wetter accompanied a large delegation of Bavarian musicians and entertainers who treated the Pope to a Bavarian Nite in honour of his 85th birthday (April 19th).

In his remarks following this treat, the Pope reflected on the reasons Christians are able to rejoice and how this joy of being truly human in a particular place can motivate them to bring help and joy to places and circumstances where it is absent.

At the end of this “Bavarian hour” I can only say “May God reward you” (Vergelt Gott's) from my heart. It has been nice to be here at the center of Lazio, in Castel Gandolfo, and at the same time in Bavaria. I have just been “Dahoam” (at home), and I have to congratulate Cardinal Marx, for being able to pronounce that word so well!

We have been able to perceive that the Bavarian culture is a cheerful one: it is not a rude demonstration, it is not “Raudi” [Bayrisch for “rowdy”], but cheerful, imbued with joy, born from an inner acceptance of the world, from an inner yes to life that is a yes to joy. It is based on the fact that we are in harmony with creation, in harmony with the Creator himself and this is why we know it is good to be human.

We have to admit that God has made this easy for us in Bavaria: he has given us a world, a land so beautiful, that it is easy to recognize that God is good and to be happy. At the same time, however, He has also enabled the men who live in this land – through their “yes” - to give it its full beauty, through the culture of the people, through their faith, their joy, songs, music and art it has become as beautiful as the Creator wanted, but could not have realized alone, only with the help of men.

Now, some might say, is it right to be so happy, while the world is so full of suffering, when there is so much darkness and so much pain? Is it legitimate to be so defiantly joyful? The answer can only be a yes! Because saying 'no' to this joy benefits no one, it only makes the world darker. And those who do not love themselves cannot give to love their fellow man, can not help them, cannot be a messenger of peace.

We know this from our faith, and we see it every day: the world is beautiful and God is good and He became man and entered into us, suffers and lives with us, we know this definitely and concretely : yes, God is good and it is good to be human. We live in this joy, and try to bring this joy to others, to reject evil and to be servants of peace and reconciliation.

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