"Our Hearts are Restless Until They Rest in You" St. Augustine
Sunday, April 24, 2011
To the City and the World this Easter - PBXVI Urbi et Orbi address
“Here, in this world of ours, the Easter alleluia still contrasts with the cries and laments that arise from so many painful situations: deprivation, hunger, disease, war, violence. Yet it was for this that Christ died and rose again! He died on account of sin, including ours today, he rose for the redemption of history, including our own. So my message today is intended for everyone, and, as a prophetic proclamation, it is intended especially for peoples and communities who are undergoing a time of suffering, that the Risen Christ may open up for them the path of freedom, justice and peace”.
This was the message that Pope Benedict XVI broadcast to the city of Rome and the world this Easter, in his traditionalUrbi et Orbiaddress. The sun came out to shine shortly before the Pope appeared on the balcony of the centralloggia, adding to the festive cheer of the tens of thousands who packed not only St Peter’s square, but the streets surrounding the Vatican basilica all the way to the Tiber river. Tremendous cheers arose as the red velvet curtains parted and pilgrims cries mingled with the military bands tattoo of the national anthems of Italy and the Holy See.
“In resurrectione tua, Christe, coeli et terra laetentur! In your resurrection, O Christ, let heaven and earth rejoice!” proclaimed Pope Benedict, “May the Land which was the first to be flooded by the light of the Risen One rejoice. May the splendour of Christ reach the peoples of the Middle East, so that the light of peace and of human dignity may overcome the darkness of division, hate and violence”.
The Holy Father spoke in particular of the current conflict in Libya, calling for “diplomacy and dialogue” to take the place of arms and for “access to humanitarian aid” for suffering civilians. In the wider context of current crisis in Arab nations he prayed that especially young people, may work to promote the common good and to build a society where poverty is defeated and every political choice is inspired by respect for the human person”.
But he also called for “help from all sides” for people fleeing conflict and refugees from various African countries; “may people of good will open their hearts to welcome them, so that the pressing needs of so many brothers and sisters will be met with a concerted response in a spirit of solidarity”. The Pope also thanked all those men and women who are already generously helping these people in need describing theirs as an “exemplary witness”.
Pope Benedict’s thoughts then turned to Ivory Coast, where he prayed peaceful coexistence among the peoples be restored, calling for reconciliation and pardon to heal the deep wounds caused by the recent violence.
For Japan, the Holy Father prayed for “consolation and hope as it faces the dramatic consequences of the recent earthquake, along with other countries that in recent months have been tested by natural disasters which have sown pain and anguish”.
And so to the notes of great Easter Marian antiphon,Regina caeli, the curtains were drawn across the central loggia Sunday midday, as the sea of pilgrims spilled from St Peter’s square and the Pope retired to rest from a demanding Triduum schedule. At least until next week, when on the first Sunday in the Octave of Easter, Divine Mercy Sunday, Pope Benedict XVI will lead celebrations for the beatification of his venerable predecessor, John Paul II.