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Monday, September 19, 2011


VATICAN CITY, 17 SEP 2011 (VIS) - During the course of the programme "Wort zum Sontag" aired today by the German ARD television network, the Holy Father addressed some words to his fellow Germans in view of his apostolic trip to the country later this week. The recording was made in Castelgandolfo some days ago.

"I am very happy to be departing for Germany in a few days' time", said the Pope. "I think with particular joy of Berlin where I will attend many meetings and, naturally, of my address to the Bundestag and the great Mass we will celebrate at the Olympic stadium.

"One of the most important moments of the visit will be in Erfurt. In that Augustinian monastery, that Augustinian church where Luther began his journey, I will have the chance to meet the representatives of the Evangelical Church in Germany. Together we will pray, hear the Word of God, reflect and discuss. We are not expecting anything sensational; indeed, the greatness of the event lies precisely in the fact that, in that place, we can reflect together, listen to the Word of God and pray. This intimate proximity will be an expression of authentic ecumenism.

"The meeting at Eichsfeld is particularly significant for me: that small strip of land which, despite all the vicissitudes of history, has remained Catholic. After that we will move on to southwest Germany and the great city of Freiburg im Breisgau where many meetings will take place, particularly the vigil with young people and the great Mass which concludes my trip.

"This is not religious tourism; still less is it a 'show'. Its significance is well expressed in the motto accompanying these days: 'Where God is, there lies the future'. What this means is that we must restore God to our horizon, the God Who is so often absent but of Whom we have such great need.

"You may ask me: 'But, does God exist? And if He exists does He really concern Himself with us? Can we reach Him?' It is, indeed, true that we cannot place God on the table, we cannot touch Him or pick Him up like an ordinary object. We must rediscover our capacity to perceive God, a capacity that exists within us. We can get some idea of the greatness of God in the greatness of the Cosmos. We can use the world through technology because the world is built in a rational way; and in the great rationality of the world we can get some idea of the Creator Spirit from which it comes; in the beauty of creation we can get some idea of the beauty, the greatness and the goodness of God. In Holy Scripture we hear the words of eternal life; they do not simply come from men, they come from Him and in them we hear His voice. Finally, we may also catch some glimpse of God through meeting people who have been touched by Him. I am not just thinking of the great (of Paul, Francis of Assisi or Mother Teresa), I am thinking of the many simple people about whom nobody speaks. Yet when we meet them they emanate some quality of goodness, sincerity and joy, and we know that God is there and that He also touches us. Thus, over these days, let us commit ourselves to seeing God again, to becoming people who bring the light of hope into the world, a light that comes from God and that helps us to live".
.../ VIS 20110919 (600)

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