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It is not we who possess the truth but the truth which possesses us

· The Pope's Homily during the Mass in Castel Gandolfo with his former students at which he presided ·

It is the truth that possesses us, it is something alive! It is not we who possess it; rather we are grasped by it”. The Pope imparted to his former students who had gathered in Castel Gandolfo for their traditional summer seminar an enlightening reflection on the “art of being human”. It consists in the certainty that it is possible “to live and die only when we have received the truth and when the truth shows us the way”.

In the Homily at the Mass at which he presided in the chapel at the Mariapoli Centre the Pope recalled the essence of the “wisdom given by God” which offers the possibility of “becoming upright human beings” and inspires “joy and gratitude” in the believer's mind; even though,  he noted, in the history of the Church the prevalence of “human applications, works and customs” sometimes leads to an attitude of “triumphalism that boasts of itself instead of praising God”.

“I think”, Benedict XVI confided, “that we are at this very stage in which we see in the Church only what we have made ourselves and the joy of faith is spoiled for us”. In this way “we are concerned only with praising ourselves and we fear being bound by rules that hinder us in freedom and in the newness of life”.

Hence the need to recover the proper perception of the truth. Which today, the Pope warned, “seems to be distant, seems something to which it is best to have no recourse”. And in fact, making his own the objection that is often made regarding Christians, the Pope recalled that “no one can say: I possess the truth” because, on the contrary, it is the truth that possesses man. And “only if we let ourselves be guided and moved by the truth do we remain in it”.

For Benedict XVI, therefore, “we must learn once again this 'not-possessing-the-truth'. We must learn to let ourselves be moved by it, to let ourselves be led by it”. Hence the appeal to avoid that “intellectualization of faith and theology” that do not permit the Word to have a practical effect on the believer's life. “Instead”, he said, “God has become so close to us” that he has entered “our wretchedness to permeate us, to cleanse us and to renew us, so that, through us and in us, the truth may exist in the world and salvation be achieved.




St. Peter’s Square

Sept. 20, 2019