Monday, May 9, 2011
Pope Benedict: Christians Believe in Someone, Not Something
The following comes from Zenit.org:
The Christian faith is not based on believing in something, but in Someone, Benedict XVI says.
The Pope affirmed this Thursday in an address following a concert in honor of his 6th anniversary as the Successor of Peter. He was elected April 19 and installed April 24, 2005.
The concert was offered to the Pope by Italian President Giorgio Napolitano. The orchestra and choir of the Opera Theatre of Rome, respectively conducted by Maestro Jesús López Cobos and Maestro Roberto Gabbiani, performed Antonio Vivaldi's "Credo RV 591" and Gioachino Rossini's "Stabat Mater."
The Holy Father reflected on the beginning and ending words of the creed: "Credo" and "Amen."
"What does 'I believe' mean?," he asked, indicating that it can mean to accept something among one's convictions, to trust someone and to be certain.
"When, however, we say it in the Creed," he said, "it assumes a more profound meaning. It is to affirm with confidence the real meaning of the reality that sustains us, that sustains the world; it means to accept this meaning as the solid ground on which we can be without fears; it is to know that the foundation of everything, of ourselves, cannot be created by us, but can only be received."
The Holy Father added that Christian faith is not "'I believe something,' but 'I believe in Someone,' in the God who revealed himself in Jesus."
"In him I perceive the real meaning of the world," the Pontiff said, "and this believing involves the whole person, who is on the way to him."
"The word 'Amen,' which in Hebrew has the same root as the word 'faith,' takes up this same concept: to lean with confidence on God, the solid base."
Vivaldi and Rossini
In regard to Vivaldi's piece, Benedict XVI pointed out three things, beginning with the unusual characteristic of the composer's vocal production: the absence of soloists.
"In this way, Vivaldi wishes to express the 'we' of the faith. The 'I believe' is the 'we' of the Church that sings, in space and time, as a community of believers, its faith; 'my' affirmation 'I believe' is within the 'we' of the community," he reflected.
Then he pointed out "the two splendid central pictures: Et incarnatus est and Crucifixus. Vivaldi pauses, as was customary, at the moment in which God who seems far away becomes close, is incarnated and gives himself to us on the cross."
He noted how it expresses "the profound sense of wonder in face of this Mystery and invite[s] us to meditation, to prayer."
"A last observation. In his first meeting with Vivaldi, Carlo Goldoni, great exponent of the Venetian theater, pointed out: 'I found him surrounded by music and with the breviary in hand.' Vivaldi was a priest and his music is born from his faith."
The Pope went on to describe Gioacchino Rossini's "Stabat Mater" as "a great meditation on the mystery of Jesus and on the sorrow of Mary."
"Rossini's religiosity expresses a rich gamut of feelings in face of the mysteries of Christ, with a strong emotive tension."
Rossini's work, he added, is characterized by "an emotive intensity that becomes a sincere prayer," "a simple and genuine faith."
"Dear friends, may this evening's pieces nourish our faith," said the Pope at the end of his address, as he reiterated to everyone his gratitude for the event and requested that they remember to "pray for my ministry in the Vineyard of the Lord."