Pope Benedict and the Constant Search for the Truth


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During his general audience this morning at Castel Gandolfo, Pope Benedict launched an appeal for an end to violence in Somalia. In his catechesis he urged believers to view the saints as companions on the journey of faith and again returned to speak of St. Augustine and one of his key features: the constant search for Truth.

In comments after his catechesis the Pope turned his thoughts to the Somali capital Mogadishu, the continuous reports of cruel violence that occurs there and Tuesday's news of yet another massacre: He said "I am close to the families of the victims and all those in Somalia, who are suffering from [the consequences] of hate and instability. I hope that with the help of the international community, there will be unstinting efforts to restore respect for life and human rights. "

Earlier in his catechesis, Benedict XVI urged the faithful to view the Saints as "fellow travellers" on the path of Christian life. "Everyone - he said - should have some saint who is familiar [to them], to feel close to in prayer and intercession, but also as an example to imitate". Therefore, he added, we should know more about the saints, starting with those whose names we carry, their life and writings.

He said "Be assured that they will become good guides in learning how to love the Lord even more and help in your human and Christian growth. As you know, I am bound in a special way to certain Saints: among them, as well as St. Joseph and St. Benedict after whom I am named, and others, there is St. Augustine. I have had the great gift of knowing him, so to speak, through close study and prayer and he has become a good 'companion' in my life and my ministry".

The Pope recalled an important aspect of human and Christian experience of St. Augustine. His " restless and constant search for Truth." A feature - he explained - "even in our current era where it seems that relativism is paradoxically the 'truth' that should guide thinking, choices, behaviours. The Saint and Bishop of Hippo - he noted - is a man who never lived with superficiality" he never sought a "pseudo-truth incapable of giving lasting peace to the heart ", but "that truth which gives meaning to existence and it is' the house 'where the heart finds peace and joy":

"His, we know, was not an easy road: he thought he would encounter the Truth in a prestigious career, in the possession of things, the voices that promise instant happiness, he made mistakes, he experienced sadness and faced setbacks but - and this is important - he never stopped, he was never satisfied with what gave him only a glimmer of light, he was able to look deep within himself and he realized, as he writes in the Confessions, that that Truth, that God he was endeavouring to find, was more intimate to him than he himself was, He was always beside him, He had never abandoned him, He was waiting to enter permanently into his life".

"St. Augustine - continued the Pope - knew in his restless search, that it was not he who found the Truth, but Truth itself, which is God, pursued him and found him". And in this journey towards the Truth, silence is crucial for the Saint: creatures must be silent to allow for a silence in which God can speak. This is always true in our time: sometimes there is a sort of fear of silence, of meditation, of contemplation of our actions, the deeper meaning of life, people often prefer to live only the present moment, imagining that it will bring lasting happiness; we prefer to live, because it seems easier, with superficiality, without thinking, we are afraid to seek the truth or perhaps afraid that the truth will pursue us, grab us and change our life, as it did St. Augustine".

The Pope concluded his catechesis with a call:
"Dear brothers and sisters, I say to everyone, even those who are at a difficult moment in their faith journey, or those who do not participate much in the life of the Church, to those who live 'as if God did not exist', have no fear of the Truth, never stop your journey towards it, never cease to seek the profound truth about yourselves and things with the inner eye of the heart. God will not fail to gift the Light to see and Warmth to help the heart feel that He loves us and wants to be loved"