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RIMINI MEETING/ Benedict XVI: The Infinite is Present

On the opening of the 33rd edition of the Meeting for Friendship Among Peoples, Benedict XVI sent a personal message to the Bishop of Rimini, the organizers and all the participants

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Personal message of the Pope to the Meeting: “God became man and since then nothing in life is trivial"

Most Reverend Brother Monsignor Francesco Lambiasi, Bishop of Rimini. I wish to cordially greet You, the organizers, and all those participating in the Meeting for Friendship Among Peoples which has reached by now its 33rd edition. The theme chosen for this year, “By nature, man is relation to the infinite,” turns out to be particularly significant seeing the imminent opening of the “Year of Faith” that I wanted to launch on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the Second Ecumenical Vatican Council’s beginning.

To discuss the subject of man and his yearning for the infinite means first and foremost recognizing his constitutive relationship with the Creator. Man is a creature of God. Today, this word – creature– seems to be out of fashion: it would be more likely to think of man as a self-fulfilled being and master of his own destiny. The thought of man as a created being causes uneasiness as it implies an essential reference to something else, or rather, to Someone else – not governable by man – that enters to define his own identity in an essential way; a relational identity, the first sign of which is original and ontological dependence on the One that has wanted and created us. Nonetheless, this dependence of which modern and contemporary man attempts to free himself, instead of hiding or decreasing the greatness and supreme dignity of man, reveals itself in a luminous way and calls itself to life, to enter into relationship with Life itself - with God.

To affirm that “by nature, man is a relation to the infinite” means therefore that every person has been created with the possibility of being in relationship with God, with the Infinite. At the beginning of the history of the world, Adam and Eve are the fruit of an act of love by God, made in his own image and likeness. Their life and their relationship with the Creator thus coincided: “So God created man in his own image; in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.” (Gen, 1,27) It is exactly in our forefathers’ act of evading this constitutive relationship - in this wishing to take over in God’s place, in this belief to be able to get by without Him - where original sin has its ultimate origin. Even after man has sinned, however, he is always left with an aching desire to reconcile this relationship, resembling the signature sealed with fire within man’s soul and his flesh by the Creator himself. Psalm 63 [62] helps us to penetrate the heart of this very argument: “You, God, are my God, earnestly I seek you; I thirst for you, my whole being longs for you, in a dry and parched land where there is no water.” (v.2) Not only my soul but every fibre of my flesh is made to encounter its peace and its fulfilment in God. This tension is impossible to eliminate from the heart of man: even when one rejects or denies God, the thirst for the infinite that inhabits man does not melt away.