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Between heaven and earth

· The Pope celebrates Vespers in the Sistine Chapel on the 500th anniversary of the inauguration of Michelangelo's ceiling ·

And at the Angelus on All Saints he recalls that the Church is on the path to the heavenly Jerusalem

The communion “between heaven and Earth” is an “endless feast”. It is the meaning of the liturgical solemnity of All Saints and so it was described by Benedict XVI in the late afternoon of Wednesday, 31 October. The Pope presided at the Celebration of First Vespers in the Sistine Chapel, to commemorate the 500th Anniversary  of the inauguration of Michelangelo's ceiling.  And the day after, Thursday 1 November, at noon, he led the Angelus on the Feast of All Saints,

In the splendour of the great Chapel of the Vatican Apostolic Palace, Benedict XVI took up the image of a Church on the path to the heavenly Jerusalem of which the Letter to the Hebrews speaks, where beside “a myriad of angels” and in “festive gathering” that “has God as its centre”  the “promises of the Old Testament” are for Christians fulfilled. A “dynamic of promise and fulfilment represented in the Sistine Chapel, noted the Pontiff, “in the frescoes of the long walls” that find their synthesis in Michelangelo's Last JJudgement an admirable representation of the great victory of the Creator God, of his power, of his direct relationship with man. And precisely “in that meeting between the finger of God and the finger of man, “concluded the Pope, “we perceive the point of contact between heaven and earth”.

In the touch between heaven and earth the fullness of the life of man in God is expressed. Benedict XVI explained it to the faithful in St Peter's Square for the Angelus on the Feast of All Saints, of those who “have lived intensely” the dynamic of which was spoken at Vespers. It is “in the communion of the Saints” that the union between the two dimensions of one Church are united, that moves in times and yet participates “in the never-ending feast” in the heavenly Jerusalem. And this reality “begins down here on earth”, he explained, “and reaches its fulfilment in heaven”.

To be Christian, to take part in the Church “means to open oneself to this communion”, the Pontiff concluded, “like a seed that is buried in the earth, dying, sprouts up on high, to heaven”. With this faith full of hope “may we all become saints!, even those who “only God knows”.

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