Before praying the Angelus today with pilgrims gathered in St. Peter’s Square, Benedict XVI made some brief remarks dedicated to the Solemnity of All Saints, which falls today, and to tomorrow’s commemoration of All Souls. Two celebrations, he said, “that give us a unique opportunity to meditate upon eternal life.”

The Pope went on to ask: “Does modern man still expect this eternal life, or does he feel it to be part of a mythology that has now been left behind? In our times, more than in the past, people are so absorbed by the things of the world that sometimes it is difficult to think of God as a protagonist of history and of our own lives. Yet human existence, by its very nature, tends towards something greater, something that transcends it. The human thirst for justice, for truth, and for complete happiness cannot be suppressed.

“Faced with the enigma of death,” he added, “many people have the desire and hope of seeing their loved ones in the hereafter,” and believe in “a final judgement that re-establishes justice, hoping for a definitive encounter in which each is given his due.”

For Christians, Pope Benedict explained, “eternal life” does not just indicate a life that lasts forever, “but a new quality of existence, fully immersed in the love of God, that frees us from evil and death and places us in endless communion with all our brothers and sisters who participate in the same Love. Thus, eternity can already be present at the center of earthly and temporal life when the soul, through grace, is joined to God, its ultimate foundation.”

“Let us meditate upon these truths with our souls turned towards our ultimate and definitive destination, which gives meaning to daily life,” he concluded. “Let us revive the saints’ joyous sensation of communion, and allow ourselves to be attracted by them towards the goal of our existence: the meeting face to face with God.”
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Again, Zenit has the translation of the Holy Father’s address.

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