Apr 17, 2012
A Birthday, Anniversary & Words of Wisdom from the Pope
On April 16, Pope Benedict XVI turned 85, in a celebration that included a small Mass with family and friends at the Vatican as well as festive dancers from his native Bavaria celebrating along with the Pontiff. When one considers the demands of the papacy, it is truly inspiring to see someone at an age when most are enjoying their retirement years engaged fully in his mission as shepherd of the flock.
A few other interesting tidbits: April 19 marks the 7th anniversary of the election of Joseph Ratzinger as Pope Benedict XVI. The Holy Father is the 265th pope and now the oldest pope in 109 years and one of only six popes in the last 500 years to minister beyond the age of 85.
Well wishes poured in from throughout the world with one interesting gift coming from the Holy Father's native Germany. The Pope was presented with a book of essays from 20 prominent Germans reflecting on the Papacy including former soccer star Franz Beckenbauer who suggested the Holy Father was more optimistic about his 2006 World Cup German squad than the coach himself.
Below you'll find excerpts from the Holy Father's homily at Mass on his birthday celebrated with a group of Bavarian bishops, family and close friends at the Vatican.
May God continue to bless in abundance our Pontiff. We give thanks for his wisdom, guidance and joyful witness. Grazie Il Papa!
Excerpts from Homily of Pope Benedict XVI - April 16, 2012
"On the day I was born, thanks to my parents, I was also reborn with the water of the Spirit. ... Biological life is in itself a gift, yet it begs an important question. It becomes a true gift only if, together with that life, we are given a promise stronger than any misfortune that may threaten us, if life is immersed in a power which guarantees that it is a good thing to be a man, and that the person is a benefit whatever the future may bring. In this way rebirth is associated with birth, the certainty that it is good to exist because the promise is greater than the threat. This is what it means to be reborn from water and from the Spirit. ... This rebirth is given to us in Baptism, but we must continually grow therein, we must ever and anew allow God to immerse us in His promise, in order to be truly reborn into the great new family of the Lord, which is stronger than all our weaknesses and all the negative powers that threaten us. That is why today is a day of thanksgiving.
"The day I was baptised ... was Easter Saturday. At the time it was still customary to hold the Easter vigil in the morning, followed by the darkness of Easter Saturday without a Hallelujah. This singular paradox, this anticipation of light in a day of darkness, can almost be seen as an image of the history of our own times. On the one hand there is the silence of God and His absence, yet the resurrection of Christ contains an anticipation of God's 'yes'. We live in this anticipation, through the silence of God we hear His words, and through the darkness of His absence we glimpse His light. The anticipation of the resurrection in the midst of evolving history indicates the path we must follow and helps us to continue the journey".
"I am in the final stage of my life journey and I do not know what awaits me. However, I do know that the light of God exists, that He rose again, that His light is stronger than all darkness, that the goodness of God is stronger than all the evil in this world. This helps me to continue with confidence. This helps us to continue, and I would like to thank everyone who, through their faith, continually makes me aware of God's 'yes'".
Posted by Neil MacCarthy at 9:34 AM