Immense Spiritual Joy (Update)
At the Prayer Vigil last evening in Hyde Park, Pope Benedict began his homily with these words:
This is an evening of joy, of immense spiritual joy, for all of us. We are gathered here in prayerful vigil to prepare for tomorrow’s Mass, during which a great son of this nation, Cardinal John Henry Newman, will be declared Blessed. How many people, in England and throughout the world, have longed for this moment! It is also a great joy for me, personally, to share this experience with you. As you know, Newman has long been an important influence in my own life and thought, as he has been for so many people beyond these isles. The drama of Newman’s life invites us to examine our lives, to see them against the vast horizon of God’s plan, and to grow in communion with the Church of every time and place: the Church of the apostles, the Church of the martyrs, the Church of the saints, the Church which Newman loved and to whose mission he devoted his entire life.
And this morning at the Mass during which the Beatification was proclaimed, he concluded his homily, as was most appropriate, with the prayer/poem of Blessed John Henry Newman:
Praise to the Holiest in the height, and in the depth be praise; in all his words most wonderful, most sure in all his ways!
Having spent some hours this weekend watching, thanks to EWTN, Pope Benedict’s interaction with individuals and groups in Scotland and England, and pondering his words, I conclude with Austen Ivereigh’s on the spot summation of the apostolic visit on the America blog:
Although he had come with a fierce message about the vital importance of the place of faith in public life and education, it had been framed, throughout, in terms and language and symbols which pointed to the value of dialogue and respect. It is this, perhaps above all, which floored his critics. The Pope’s was a message which all could instantly recognise as the true humanism.
He leaves a Church invigorated and unified by his visit; a Church more proud and confident than it was last Wednesday; a Church which will be pondering some magnificent texts for many years to come – -and images of a Pope whose smiling, gentle countenance speaks of the kind of humanism Britain will need to prosper.
Tags: Pope Benedict XVI