Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Pope Benedict XVI

11/8/2012 (2 years ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Learning or relearning an authentic taste for the joys of life

The desire for God is written in the human heart, because man is created by God and for God; and God never ceases to draw man to himself. Only in God will he find the truth and happiness he never stops searching for

Pope Benedict XVI

Pope Benedict XVI

Highlights

By Pope Benedict XVI

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

11/8/2012 (2 years ago)

Published in Europe

Keywords: Year of Faith, new Evangelization, general audience, prayer, desire, search for God, spirituality, Pope Benedict XVI


VATICAN CITY (Catholic Online) - We offer below the full text of Pope Benedict XVI's Wedneday General Audience on Finding Joy and Man's Desire for God:

*****

Dear brothers and sisters,

The journey of reflection that we are making together this Year of Faith leads us to meditate today on a fascinating aspect of the Human and Christian experience: man carries within himself a mysterious desire for God. In a very significant way, the Catechism of the Catholic Church opens with the following consideration: "The desire for God is written in the human heart, because man is created by God and for God; and God never ceases to draw man to himself. Only in God will he find the truth and happiness he never stops searching for"(No. 27).

Such a statement, which even today in many cultural contexts seems quite acceptable, almost obvious, might instead appear as a provocation in the sphere of secularized Western culture. Many of our contemporaries could, in fact, argue that they do not feel such a desire for God at all. For large sectors of society He is no longer desired, expected, but rather a reality that leaves some indifferent and not even worth wasting one's breath over.

Actually, what we have defined as "desire for God" has not completely disappeared and still today, in many ways, appears in the heart of man. Human desire always tends towards certain tangible assets, which are often far from spiritual, and yet it is still faced with the question of what "the" good really is and as a result confront itself with something other than itself, something that man cannot create, but is called upon to recognize. What can really satisfy man's desire?

In my first encyclical, Deus caritas est, I tried to analyze how such dynamism is experienced in human love, an experience which in our era is more easily perceived as a moment of ecstasy, of going beyond oneself, as a place where man senses that he is being filled with a desire that is beyond him. Through love, men and women experience in a new way, thanks to one another, the grandeur and beauty of life and of reality.

If what I experience is not a mere illusion, if I really want the good of the other as a path towards my own good, then I must be willing to de-centralize myself, to put myself at the service of the other to the point of surrendering myself. The answer to the question about the meaning of the experience of love thus passes through the cleansing and healing of the will, which is required by the very good we want for the other. We have to practise, train and even correct ourselves so that that good may be truly wanted.

The initial ecstasy translates thus becomes a pilgrimage, "an ongoing exodus out of the closed inward-looking self towards its liberation through self-giving, and thus towards authentic self-discovery and indeed the discovery of God" (Enc. Deus caritas est, 6). Through this journey man will gradually deepen his knowledge of that love which he initially experienced.

And the mystery which it represents will increasingly come to the fore: not even the beloved, in fact, is able to satiate the desire that dwells in the human heart, indeed, the more authentic the love for each other is, the more the question of its origin, its destiny and its chances of lasting forever emerges. Therefore, the human experience of love has a dynamism that draws us beyond ourselves, it is an experience of a good that leads us beyond ourselves faces us with the mystery that surrounds all existence.

Similar considerations also could also be made about other human experiences, such as friendship, the experience of beauty, love of knowledge: all that is good and experienced by man is projected toward the mystery that surrounds man himself; every wish that arises in the human heart is echoed by a fundamental desire that is never fully satisfied. Certainly from that deep desire, which also hides something enigmatic, one cannot arrive straight to faith. Man, after all, knows what does not satisfy, but can't imagine or define that which would make him experience the happiness that his heart longs for. One cannot know God, beginning simply with man's desire.

From this point of view the mystery remains: the man seeks the Absolute, in small and uncertain steps. And yet, the experience of desire, of the ' restless heart ' as St. Augustine termed it, is very significant. It proves that man is, deep down, a religious being (cf. Catechism of the Catholic Church, 28), a "beggar of God". We can say with the words of Pascal: "man infinitely surpasses man" (Thoughts,. Chevalier 438; ed. Brunschvicg 434). The eyes recognize objects when they are illuminated by light. Hence the desire to know the light itself, which makes the things of the world shine and thus illuminate the sense of beauty.

We therefore must believe that even in our era, seemingly reluctant to the transcendent dimension, that it is possible to open a path toward an authentic religious meaning of life, showing how the gift of faith is not absurd, it is not irrational. It would be of great use, for that purpose, to promote a pedagogy of desire, both for the journey of those who still do not believe and for those who have already received the gift of faith. A pedagogy that includes at least two aspects.

First, learning or relearning an authentic taste for the joys of life.

Not every satisfactions produces the same effect in us: some leave a positive trace, are able to pacify the soul, make us more active and generous. Others, after an initial light, seem to disappoint the expectations that they had aroused and sometimes leave behind bitterness, dissatisfaction or a sense of emptiness.
Educating people from their childhood to savour the true joys, in all spheres of life - family, friendship, solidarity with those who suffer, renouncing of oneself to serve others, love for knowledge, for art, for the beauty of nature - this means exercising the inner taste and producing effective antibodies against today's widespread trivialization and banalization. Adults also need to rediscover these joys, to desire authentic realities, purifying themselves of the mediocrity which may have become involved in.

In this way it becomes then easier to leave aside or reject all that while seemingly attractive, turns out to be rather tasteless, a source of addiction, not freedom. And this fosters that desire of God that we're talking about.

A second aspect, which goes hand in hand with the former, is never settling for what has been achieved.
The truest joys are able to free in us that healthy restlessness that leads us to be more demanding - to want a higher, deeper good - and also to perceive with increasing clarity that nothing finite can ever fill our hearts. In this way we will learn to reach out, unarmed, towards that good that we cannot build or provide ourselves with by our strengths; to not be discouraged by fatigue or by obstacles born of our sins.

In this regard, we must not forget that the dynamism of desire is always open to redemption. Even when it takes a wrong turn, chasing artificial paradises and seems to lose the ability to yearn for true good. Even in the abyss of sin that spark is still alive in human hearts that enables man to recognize the true good, to savour it, and set out again on the upward climb, on which God, with the gift of His grace, never fails to help.

All of us need to tread a path of purification and healing of desire. We are pilgrims on the journey toward our Heavenly homeland, towards that full, eternal good, that nothing can every take from us. It is not a question of suffocating the desire that is in the human heart, but of freeing it, so that it can reach its true height. When desire is open to God, this is already a sign of the presence of faith in the soul, faith that is a grace of God.

In this pilgrimage, all are our brethren, our fellow travellers, even those who do not believe, those who are seeking, those who sincerely question the dynamism of their desire for truth and good. Let us pray, in this Year of faith, that God may shows His face to all who seek him with a sincere heart.

---


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'


Copywriter 2015 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for March 2015
Universal:
Scientists: That those involved in scientific research may serve the well-being of the whole human person.
Evangelization: Contribution of women: That the unique contribution of women to the life of the Church may be recognized always.


Rosaries, Crosses, Prayer Cards and more... by Catholic Shopping .com


Comments


More Europe

Was the final seconds of doomed Germanwings flight captured with a cell phone camera? French magazine defends video footage Watch

Image of This Airbus cockpit is similar to the one in the Germanwings aircraft. Since September 11 attacks, the armoring of doors has been strengthened and the three-point locking are now mandatory.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

French news magazine, French Match says that a cell phone video authentically shows the final seconds of the doomed Germanwings Flight 9525 that a distraught copilot slammed into the French Alps this week. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Regis Le Sommier, the ... continue reading


The mystery behind the mass grave found underneath University of Cambridge Watch

Image of Archaeologists digging under the Old Divinity School, a Victorian building owned by St John's College, founded in 1511, discovered the cemetery and the remains of 1,300 people.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The silent skeletons of 1,300 12th century men bear mute witness to Our Common Fate. How they got there under the University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom remains a mystery, but what researchers have found sheds a light into life during the Middle Ages. ... continue reading


Polish priest performs mass exorcism on unknowing school kids Watch

Image of Polish Schoolchildren, attending what they thought was a religious camp honoring Lent were screaming and in tears when 37-year-old priest Tomas Wieczorek carried out a mass exorcism.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Polish Schoolchildren, attending what they thought was a religious camp honoring Lent were screaming and in tears when 37-year-old priest Tomas Wieczorek carried out a mass exorcism. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The 1,000 young people, from schools in the ... continue reading


Defiant Catholic bishops openly diverge from Pope Francis and the Vatican Watch

Image of Bishop Bernard Fellay was a part of the rebellious SSPX.  (Switzerland, 29 June 2009/Denis Balibouse)

By Hannah Raissa Marfil (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Rejecting Pope Francis and consecrating bishops without the approval of the Vatican, the ultra-traditionalist movement "The Resistance" is planning to expand by consecrating again a new generation of bishops. According to one of the French bishops, Jean-Michel Faure, ... continue reading


Putting best face forward, Krakow, Poland busies itself to host World Youth Day in 2016 Watch

Image of Excitement is in the air in Krakow, Poland. The metropolis is readying itself to host World Youth Day in 2016.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Excitement is in the air in Krakow, Poland. The metropolis is readying itself to host World Youth Day in 2016. As part of the renovations to host the over two million people who are expected to attend, the city has a new airport, improved road and rail links, a ... continue reading


Did a broken heart lead to mass slaughter? Germanwings co-pilot said to be 'depressed' and 'stressed' Watch

Image of Remembered as a friendly and funny personality, Andreas Lubitz had a life-long obsession to become a pilot. There is speculation that he feared his flying license - due to expire in just three months time would not have been renewed on medical grounds.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The willful destruction of himself - along with 149 other, innocent human beings, has the world scrambling for answers. Germanwings co-pilot Andreas Lubitz, who slammed his plane into mountainside earlier this week. Killing everyone onboard, remains a ... continue reading


DEADLY SECRET: Co-pilot of doomed Germanwings flight hid medical condition, authorities say Watch

Image of A terrible tragedy that left 150 people dead may have been the result of a frightened, insecure man hiding a medical condition. Investigators say that Germanwings copilot Andreas Lubitz was keeping an unspecified medical condition secret from others.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A terrible tragedy that left 150 people dead may have been the result of a frightened, insecure man hiding a medical condition. Investigators say that Germanwings copilot Andreas Lubitz was keeping an unspecified medical condition secret from others and had a ... continue reading


CO-PILOT LOCKED CAPTAIN OUT OF COCKPIT: Chilling last minutes of Germanwings Airbus crash revealed Watch

Image of

By Abigail James (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Investigators have recovered key information from the French Alps wrecked Germanwings Airbus A320's black box and voice recorder. The co-pilot, 28-year-old German, Andreas Lubitz, intentionally locked the captain out of the cockpit and deliberately crashed into a ... continue reading


STANDING FIRM: Nearly 500 British priests urge synod to stand firm on Communion for the remarried Watch

Image of An extraordinary synod last year provoked heated debate on the question of whether remarried Catholics should be permitted to receive Holy Communion, which was a proposal presented by retired German Cardinal Walter Kasper.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Nearly 500 British priests have signed a letter urging those attending this year's family synod to issue a "clear and firm proclamation" upholding Church teaching on marriage. An extraordinary synod last year provoked heated debate on the question of whether ... continue reading


Pope Francis sends message to families of victims in Germanwings' French Alps crash, as black box and cockpit recorder recovered Watch

Image of Families are hit with grief as the search for bodies continues.

By Abigail James (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

150 people were killed in the tragic Germanwings A320 Airbus crash in the snowy French Alps earlier this week. Pope Francis has come forward with some words of comfort for all those involved in the horrific accident. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Pope Francis ... continue reading


All Europe News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Isaiah 61:1-3, 6, 8-9
1 The spirit of Lord Yahweh is on me for Yahweh has ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 89:21-22, 25, 27
21 My hand will always be with him, my arm will make ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 4:16-21
16 He came to Nazara, where he had been brought up, ... Read More

Reading 2, Revelation 1:5-8
5 and from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for April 2nd, 2015 Image

St. Francis of Paola
April 2: Francis was born at Paola, Italy and was educated at the ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter