Sunday, September 14, 2008

"To seek God and to let oneself be found by Him"

Chapel of the Patron Saints of Europe (Benedict, the father of western monasticism (5th-6th century), and the brothers SS. Cyril and Methodius, the evangelizers of the Slavonic peoples in the 9th century.)
Vatican Grottoes
St Peters Basilica

Tommaso Gismondi (1906-2003)
Altarpiece SS. Benedict, Cyril and Methodius (1980)
Bronze 3m x 1.8m
Chapel of the Patron Saints of Europe
St Peters Basilica

Sandro Magister provides the full text in English of Pope Benedict`s speech to the intellectual world in Paris, at the Collège des Bernardins, September 12, 2008

The theme of the talk was set out at the very beginning by the Pope:

"I would like to speak with you this evening of the origins of western theology and the roots of European culture. I began by recalling that the place in which we are gathered is in a certain way emblematic. It is in fact a placed tied to monastic culture, insofar as young monks came to live here in order to learn to understand their vocation more deeply and to be more faithful to their mission. We are in a place that is associated with the culture of monasticism.

Does this still have something to say to us today, or are we merely encountering the world of the past? In order to answer this question, we must consider for a moment the nature of Western monasticism itself. What was it about? From the perspective of monasticism’s historical influence, we could say that, amid the great cultural upheaval resulting from migrations of peoples and the emerging new political configurations, the monasteries were the places where the treasures of ancient culture survived, and where at the same time a new culture slowly took shape out of the old. But how did it happen?

What motivated men to come together to these places? What did they want? How did they live?"

Sandro Magister compares its importance to the speech of the Pope two years earlier at Regensburg.