No Italian can hear the words, "la vita nuova," without thinking of Dante's early work. Indeed, the whole of the Divine Comedy is the mapping of the journey wherein Dante progressively appropriates (perhaps better: is appropriated by) the new life in Christ.Pope Francis did not quote Dante in his Audience this morning, but used the expression several times, drawing upon the wonderful (if too neglected) First Letter of Peter.
On the Cross, Jesus offered himself, taking our sins upon himself and going down into the abyss of death, and in the Resurrection he defeats them, he removes them and opens up to us the path to be reborn to a new life. St. Peter expresses it briefly at the beginning of his First Letter, as we have heard: "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who in his great mercy gave us a new birth to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you"(1:3-4).The Apostle tells us that the Resurrection of Jesus is something new: we are freed from the slavery of sin and become children of God, we are born to a new life.
The Pope continues:
Christianity is not simply a matter of following commandments; it is about living a new life, being in Christ, thinking and acting like Christ, and being transformed by the love of Christ, it is allowing Him take possession of our lives and change them, transform them, to free them from the darkness of evil and sin.
Nor is this vita nuova to be hoarded for ourselves alone:
Dear brothers and sisters, to those who ask us our reasons for the hope that is in us (cf. 1 Pt 3:15), let us point to the Risen Christ. Let us point to Him with the proclamation of the Word, but especially with our resurrected life. Let us show the joy of being children of God, the freedom he gifts us to live in Christ, who is true freedom, freedom from the slavery of evil, sin and death! In looking to our heavenly home, we will also have a new light and strength in our commitment and in our daily efforts. It is a precious service that we give to our world, which is often no longer able to lift its gaze upwards, it no longer seems able to lift its gaze towards God.
Vatican Radio has again made the full text available in record time.