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On All Saints' Day

"Everything Passes, Only God Does Not Change"

VATICAN CITY, NOV. 6, 2006 (Zenit) - Here is a translation of the address Benedict XVI delivered Wednesday from the window of his study, to the crowds gathered in St. Peter's Square to recite the midday Angelus on the solemnity of All Saints.

* * *

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

Today we celebrate the solemnity of All Saints, and tomorrow we commemorate the faithful departed.

These two deeply felt liturgical observances offer us a singular opportunity to meditate on eternal life. Does modern man still look for this eternal life or does he think that it belongs to a mythology that we have moved beyond?

In this our time, more so than in the past, we are so absorbed by earthly things that it is hard for us to think of God as a protagonist in history and in our own lives. Human existence, however, by its very nature, is directed toward something greater, which transcends it. The yearning in human beings for the fullness of justice, truth and happiness is irrepressible.

Faced with the enigma of death, there is alive in many the desire and the hope to find their loved ones again up above. Just as powerful is the belief in a final judgment which will re-establish justice, the expectation of a definitive confrontation in which each will be allotted what he deserves.

"Eternal life," however, does not mean for us Christians simply a life that lasts forever, but rather a new quality of existence fully immersed in the God's love, which frees us from evil and death and which puts us in everlasting communion with all the brothers and sisters who share in the same love.

Consequently, eternal life can already be present in the center of earthly and temporal life when, through grace, the soul is joined to God, its ultimate foundation. Everything passes, only God does not change. A Psalm says: "My flesh and my heart diminish; but the rock of my heart is God, God is my lot forever" (Psalm 72[73]:26).

All Christians, called to sanctity, are men and women who live anchored solidly in this "rock"; they have their feet on the earth but their heart is already in heaven, definitively dwelling with the friends of God.

Dear brothers and sisters, we meditate on this reality with our soul turned toward our final and definitive destiny, which gives meaning to the circumstances of our daily lives. Let us revive the joyous sentiment of the communion of saints and allow ourselves to be drawn by them to the goal of our existence: the face-to-face encounter with God.

Let us pray that this be the inheritance of all the faithful departed, not only of our own loved ones but also of all souls, especially those most forgotten and most in need of divine mercy. May the Virgin Mary, queen of all saints, guide us to choose eternal life in every moment -- the "life of the world to come," as we say in the Creed; a world already inaugurated by the resurrection of Christ and whose coming we can hasten with our sincere conversion and works of charity.

[Translation by ZENIT]

[At the end of the Angelus the Pope greeted pilgrims in several languages. In English, he said:]

I offer a warm welcome to all the English-speaking visitors gathered for this Angelus prayer.

Today's solemnity of All Saints invites us to rejoice in the fellowship of the saints, to imitate their example and to strive to share in their eternal reward. Through their prayers, may all of us be strengthened in our fidelity to the Gospel and its promises. God bless you all!

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